Throughout our history books and daily news headlines alike, it’s easy to spot whom our heroes are in the world.
But what of those who operate on a smaller scale, working behind-the-scenes or simply doing their part in our daily lives to make the world a better place? While their actions are no less remarkable, they may not always receive the same recognition — and we’re here to change that.
In the upcoming film, "Lee Daniels' The Butler" (in theaters Aug. 16), audiences will get an inside look at the life of Cecil Gaines, the White House butler who served eight presidents from 1952 to 1986 and saw firsthand the racial and political tides of change in our nation’s history.
It’s a tale of the unsung hero helping our national heroes, and we’ve partnered with The Weinstein Company to help celebrate those in our own everyday lives — big and small, friends and family — who have made an impact.
See sweepstakes form below to share your photos of the special hero in your life and tell us how they’ve made a difference to you or to others for a chance to win $1,000 (five winners) or $100 (200 winners).
Our call for submissions is now closed! Thanks to all who entered.
My Mom is my special hero because she had the courage to leave Ecuador when she was only 20 years old to come to the United States to create a better future for herself. With only a high school education and no family/friends in this new country, she still managed to find a job and make a life for herself and eventually for her family. It did, however, involve years of sacrifice on things most people take for granted. Not only did my mom work hard at her job, but she still managed to give us a home cooked meal every day, send us to good schools, take care of the house and even sent money to help our family in Ecuador. My mom was always working and rarely had time for herself so we could have a better life than she did.
After thirty years serving as a labor & delivery nurse, she retired… only to become a volunteer therapist at a counseling center. Every week she spends hours stuck in gridlock, just so she can reach her clients. Her days are spent thinking of others… what kind of cookies to bake for the little girl next store, what advice she can give a friend who has lost her husband, what new opportunities she can take on to make a difference in other people’s lives. Full of life, full of love, my mother is my special hero.
My everyday hero is my wife, Julianne. She’s bright, funny, beautiful, and can seemingly do it all. She continues to amaze me every day by having a successful career, pursuing her love of art and taking classes at a local college in her spare time (just because she loves school). With all this, she still finds time keep our house while caring for me and our Jack Russell Terrier, Gurley. I would be absolutely lost without her there, every day, as my rock and inspiration.
As a girl, my mom taught me how to grow thick skin, eat dark greens and drink plenty of water. As a woman, I’ve learned the reasons why. Thick skin for a stable, healthy relationship because anyone can choose to give up and move onto something different. Dark greens to teach my children how to live healthy lives. And drink lots of water to keep yourself immune to illnesses so that I can take care of those around me. My gorgeous mom will always be my one true hero.
I nominate my step-father, Rick. As a reserve police officer, he graciously gives his free time to serve and protect the local community. As an entrepreneur, he wakes up with enthusiasm, excited for what the day brings, and contributes with pleasure to the marketplace. And most importantly, as a family man, he has been kind and loving to me, my sister, and my mother. He is a very generous soul, and definitely one of our everyday heroes.
The youngest of both of their (very large) families, my parents moved to America 45 years ago for greater opportunities. They quickly established themselves with ease and creativity – they found their closest friends via the yellow pages, co-founded a nonprofit cultural society, and somehow provided my brothers and me with the best education, environment, and support while growing up. Their courage, ambition, and persistence still continue to amaze me. They are always challenging themselves in all aspects of their life – and for that they are my daily inspirations, my everyday heroes.
My mom is my hero. She trudged through the jungles, literally, to escape war and give her family a better life. Through her travels, she endured landmines and wild animals – she still has a scar on her leg from a wild dog biting a large piece of her leg off to remind her about how long and hard those days were. She had to eat whatever was in sight that would not kill her, but fed the babies (her 3 children) the most richest /fatty critters so that we had a chance to survive. Her courage and bravery should get a medal.
My mother, my hero!
My mom is my hero. She has taught me how to reach for the stars and never stop dreaming. I am the mother I am because I had such a fabulous role model!
my wife and kids
My wife is my hero and the hero of our three teens! (Yes! teens! LOL) She has multiple health issues and has been out of work for a year. It's depressing at time but you'd never know it. Marci is the greatest women ever! <3
While most people know about the violence that affects the children and citizens of Chicago, few people are actually doing anything about it. Ameena Matthews has been confronting the most dangerous neighborhoods in the streets of Chicago as a violence interrupter for 12 years. I do not know of a woman more courageous in modern society and she is truly an inspiration to mankind.
This is a perfect picture of my aunt Vanessa Monroe with a big, beautiful smile that speaks volumes!
My everyday hero in my life is my wonderful aunt Vanessa Monroe. She is my inspiration, confidant, admirer, and role model. My aunt Vanessa is a Registered Nurse/ Clinical Nurse Specialist, professor at Prairie View A+M University-College of Nursing, and a full-time doctorial student. She is a nurse of twenty years. My aunt Vanessa is a respectable, trustworthy, and intelligent person who loves and cares more about her community of others rather than the welfare of her own, and she does not expect anything in return. She is compassionate and caring to those who come around in her presence. She helps save lives on a daily basis and motivates the students of our future nurses. She is also the reason who influenced my decision to pursue a career in the medical field. She is a great friend, mentor and leader, and I only wish there are more people just like her. My aunt Vanessa always tell me to believe in myself, follow my dreams, and inspire others. In submission of this entry, I just want to acknowledge how much I love and appreciate my aunt Vanessa for being my everyday hero.
my 2 girls Carmen and Chloe
My daughters are my heros because bring so much joy in my life. They are good, respectful girls. They have been a big help to their new baby sister. They bring me a new diaper or clothes for the baby when she need them. They always clean up their toys and take their baths without complaining. They even do this without being asked. They always eat what I make them even if they don't like it. They are my inspiration and I learn from them daily. I try to work hard and do things without complaining. I am so blessed to be their mommy.
\Carmalita Norvell,my pastors wife. She is single handly kept my children involed with the Lord. I can only do so much as a parent but she keeps my children informed to where they read and study the Bible. They also lead from there heart as Mrs. Carm does. They recently moved to a new Church because of choas and at least 1/2 of the congragation moved with them as well. They are not even getting a pay check now. They are doing this soley on Faith. Mrs. Carm runs the thrift store here in town with St. Matthews house which she dedicates extra time to. That is there only source of income. SHe is a everday Hero becasue she is just good people, living for God and others and doing it with nothing in return. My children ages 18,16,10 and 11 love her almost as much as I do.
My hero is my fiancee Justin. He is the best man in the world. He risks his life every day working as an electrician just to support our family. He is my best friend, confidant, and hero. I want to nominate him for all that he does for me and for our family!
I nominate Pastor Alex Fils. He is truly the most generous and heart-warming person you will ever meet. He has helped me though a tough time in my life battling depression when I had no one else to turn to he believed in me, re-kindled my faith and inspired me to live a positive and productive life. I could not thank him enough for the positive influence he brought into my life and others.
My mother is my hero being she had to take care and raise two kids alone being my father left when my sister and i where young.
My Grandparents... Back in the Day!
My SUPERHERO is my motgher/grandmother. This woman is my guardian angel! She adopted me when my mother died whewn I was three months. Not only did she give up her full time job, she sacraficed and sent me to a private school to get the best education she could. She is a constant helping hand to our family and her church home. I would love to pay her back for everything she has done for me.. which Im sure will take me my entire life!
My daughter at her first Improv performance - killing it!
My daughter Devin is my every day hero. She has taught me what selfless love really is. She is kind and brave - never afraid to stand up for what she believes and people she cares about. She's who I want to be when I grow up!
Me and my mom (hero)
My mother is my everyday hero because she is the rock of our family and goes all out to make sure everyone is healthy and happy.
Jarrod Is my hero
My hero just so happens to be the love of my life. He inspires everyone. when someone is having a down day he brings them right back to happy. To be in a band, go to college, a father of 2 boys and the perfect soulmmate he still always has time to make everyone feel like they are someone. He is never negative and always sees the light at the end of the tunnel.
My everyday hero is my wife. We have four daughters. She takes care of all of their needs. She cooks, cleans, washes their cloths. She is also a teacher at their school. So, she also helps to teach kids every week day. This is what a Hero is to me. Someone who puts family 1st in their life. Who would sacrifice their own needs to those who they love.
The End Result
My drinking was a big problem in our marriage. Rita told me to get help or she was gone. I knew she meant it! So after 30 days in treatment and many meetings, I'm now sober for 27 years and my lady is my Hero! Really my Hero!
Me and my son David at the GIANT tag sale-AIDS fundraiser
My son, David Dyson, as a volunteer has been leading this GIANT Tag Sale/auction Fundraiser, now in the 19th year, every summer to benefit the Tabor House AIDS residences in Hartford. The event, which to date has generated $175,000, is held at the Convent of the Sisters of St. Joseph on Park Rd W Hartford and has become one of the most important community fundraisers in New England. Especially benefiting are the numerous immigrants, neighborhood people and under served children living in poverty who shop at the sale for gently used items to outfit their residences, or to ship items back to their native countries.
My husband Dick...My love, my hero
My amazing husband who has been battling colon cancer for almost 4 years, with such strength, class, humor and dignity. My love, my hero. Best dad, husband, friend.
Johnathon, heart of gold
My husband Johnathon. He saved me when I had no one and just recently he took in a family who had nothing, let them live with us and supported them 100%
My mom with Joni (a friend she has taken in as a daughter)
My mom has always been there for all of her 6 children, plus Joni. She is always doing something for someone, along with volunteering at the church, food and clothing pantry and the Vet's facility. She goes from the time she gets up unitl the the time she goes to bed or falls asleep on he coach. She is a good friend to many people. When I am down and out or ill, she always makes me feel better.
My Real Life Hero
My brother Steven helps everyone. He's let people stay at his home for months on end while they are looking for jobs. He's given them money and has never ever asked for them to pay him back. I know that he doesn't buy things for himself and he truly works very hard at a full time job and does consulting on the side. He gives so, much of himself I'd like to pay him back. He is a REAL LIFE HERO to me and others it would be nice to hand him some money to let him do with it as he pleases.
my hubby Chris
My hubby is my hero because he works so hard at 2 jobs. We have 2 sons and he does his best to take care of us all.
My Everyday hero is my husband. He is my best friend and has overcome so many obstacles in his life to become an amazing father and husband. With the odds against him, he still worked hard and became a successful man. I am so thankful that he is in my life. I could not have asked for a better partner to go through life with.
My husband, Bill
This is a picture of my husband, Bill. This picture was taken last August at our son's memorial service. Billy was Bill's only child. Every day, I see him face the world through the tears, with a courage that is amazing. He is the strongest man, kindest most courageous man I know. He is my hero.
me and my hubby
My hero is my husband because he is more than I even could have hope for in a companion.
Katy and my beautiful granddaughter Isabel
Katy is my hero because no matter what comes her way she looks for the positive in the situation.
i have the best dad in the world. not only did he do everything he possibly could for my sister and i, he now does the same for my daughters, including driving them to school in the morning before work. he is my ultimate hero.
My Beautiful Mom
My Mother is the Hero in my life. She was there for me when I needed her the most. She saved my Life. I love her So So Very Much. I wouldn't trade her for the world
Our wedding day
My wife, Karen, is an everyday hero not only in my life, but also in the lives of our two boys. She is a spiritual rock and an inspiration of what it means to love with your whole heart.
garden workers everywhere
Me, our son and my mother.
My mother is 93 years young...still mows her lawn, rides her bike, shovels the snow. She has a remarkable fortitude and won't say no. If she can do anything, she will
us enjoying life
She showed me how to be good to people, and how to never stop enjoying life.
A wonderful day of fishing
My spouse who is my soul mate and friend for life is my nominee.
MOM on Cliff walk
The everyday hero in my life is my mother. She raised two kids on her own after getting out of a abusive relationship. She then became a 911 operator, then a paramedic, and for the past twenty years she has been a firefighter for the air force. She was injured a few years ago on the job and has recovered after putting in a lot of physical therapy. For most boys there heros are athletes, mine is my mother. Thanks for the opportunity.
My sister did my dad's hair. :)
My dad. He's always been there for me.
Eddy and our cat Kobe!
My best friend Eddy is my everyday hero. He has helped me through some of the toughest times in my life. I don't know where I'd be without him. Even though he has his own heavy burdens he always makes time to have a laugh with me or talk through a bad day I may have had. He inspires me everyday.
My mother is my hero. She was diagnosed with heart failure 15 years ago. She was doing fine, then all of a sudden one day in 2009 we had to take her to the emergency room. Her heart was failing and lung was backed up with fluid. Doctors were discussing putting her on life support, but fortunately she pulled thru. The heart doctor at the hospital told us that in his 30+ years of practice, he's never seen a heart this oversized. And because of that, she didn't have very long to live. Well, it's going on 4 plus years and my mom has proven that doctor wrong. She's doing well and looking like any healthy individual. I'm so glad we didn't lose her that day, because I wouldn't know what to do without her. She's well and healthy, and that makes me very happy
My Brother because he is the best fisherman out there
Gayle Winney is not only a music teacher in the United States, she is also a music teacher in the Dominic Republic. If not teaching music to students here in California she is spending her summers and holiday breaks to teach music to kids in the Dominican. She dedicates her skills and time to better the children in multiple countries. Her efforts have brought happiness and opportunities to many that would not have been able to learn music otherwise. Her passion for the children is genuine and shows through her hard work each day . The above link is just one example of how she has changed the life of a student.
My 13-year old collie, and best friend, Jenny
My everyday hero, is my collie, Jenny. She's never in a bad mood, and always game for a nice walk in the woods, rain or shine, or snow .. she's unstoppable. I work from home all day long, and she is my company, and forces me to get out of the house for walks every day. no excuses! If a dog can be an everyday hero, then she is it!
My friend Margaret is so kind and thoughtful, she always gives whatever she can to help others.
Ken and I at the beach
My everyday hero is my husband, father of my two children and a great high school teacher. He is such an awesome christian man. He is truely loving, patient and kind at all times. I love him dearly. He is my Hero.
My wife Shiba Howell
My wife works soo hard working a job as the only female working with 6 guys as outperforms them every month... I'm do proud of my wife for setting the bar at a high level and going for the gold...
MY SISTER MY HERO
My sister Susan is my hero because she is always there for the troubled teens that she helps with drug addiction and other social issues. As a school psychologist for over twenty years she resolves adolescent problems and gets her kids back on the right track. She has saved many lives from ruin. She is my role model!