Everyday Heroes were honored by Desert AIDS Project in Palm Springs, California, on World AIDS Day 2014.
I consider myself a multimedia entertainment activist practicing "entrepreneurial activism", the definition for which which I came up with (although I don't think I'm the first person to do so) many years ago by combining two definitions from a Webster's dictionary;
Assuming the risk of a businesss venture with the purpose of creating political, social and economic force in service to a cause.
Additionally, my lifelong mission statement is "to honor and express myself in a way that makes a difference," and I strive to embody this in most everything I do. In my podcast, Nicholas Snow Live, I'm always thrilled to capture an event or an awards presentation that hasn't been, or won't be, widely reported, especially when the honorees are deserving of a very bright spotlight. I'm thrilled I've been able to do this again with my exclusive, comprehensive coverage of the inaugural Everyday Heroes event which took place on World AIDS Day 2014 (December 1st) in my hometown of Palm Springs, California. Prior to the event, Desert AIDS Project (of which I am a grateful client) released the following:
Sometimes a volunteer collects enough food to feed 250 people in need during the holidays. Other times, it's someone who performs an essential task totally free of charge. Still others offer their professional expertise for a fundraiser, then fill the room with their colleagues, friends and family.
Volunteers like these help Desert AIDS Project go. There are about 500 of these average Joes and Janes under our roof. Their worth is nearly impossible to measure, so, clearly, we couldn't function without them. That's why we've created Everyday Heroes, an inaugural event to be held Dec. 1, World AIDS Day.
"World AIDS Day is a day many of us take time to remember those lost and call us all to action moving forward," says Darrell Tucci, our Chief Development Officer. "Everyday Heroes is meant to remember and honor the everyday person going to extraordinary lengths to support those living with HIV and to bring an end to the epidemic."
"We'll be honoring people, who may not be wealthy, but what they contribute to us in terms of their time and energy is priceless and must be celebrated," Darrell explains.
We'll begin our Everyday Heroes tradition by applauding Linda Sue Rosefsky, Kandy Lee, Brian Vatcher, Mark Jones and Sean Strub.
Linda Sue Rosefsky, of Palm Springs, has volunteered to do HIV testing and counseling for 20 years. Linda Sue's philosophy: "People should react to someone with HIV the same way they'd react to a person with pneumonia, measles, chicken pox or any other disability," she says.
Kandy Lee, also of Palm Springs, conducts an annual food drive during Pride weekend that generates enough food to keep the shelves of D.A.P.'s Food Depot for clients in need fully stocked for the holidays. Kandy believes: "A hero is someone, who inspires me, who lives every day with a happy, loving, giving heart."
Mark Jones and Brian Vatcher are public relations and marketing professionals with Brighthaus Marketing in Palm Springs. They help D.A.P. behind the scenes "quietly leveraging their network to sell tickets to our events," Darrell says. They promote ongoing HIV testing and co-produced a D.A.P. fundraiser called "Sparkle."
According to Mark: "A hero is just someone, who gives of themselves freely despite their personal challenges. They look past their adversities and they help others."
Brian Vatcher's roots in volunteerism are deep: "For me, it goes back to my Hawaiian training and the idea of Laulima, the interconnected hands. And so two hands together can lift up people."
Sean Strub, of Milford, Pa., has been living with HIV for more than 30 years. The writer and activist is the founder of POZ Magazine, which promotes health and a full life for those living with HIV, fights tirelessly to end the stigma of HIV, advocate for the LGBT community, and promote corporate social responsibility among many other progressive causes.
"I don't know how to lead my life differently... It's how I make meaning of my own life and give it purpose," Sean says. "I don't feel heroic. I feel like I'm doing what every human being should be doing in whatever ways in their own lives."
So, it is with great honor that I share with my worldwide audience, the celebration of these Everyday Heroes. Thank you for listening!
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And here's a related video featuring Desert AIDS Project Board Chairperson Barbara Keller and Board Member Jim Casey, co-chairs of the Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards to take place Saturday, February 7th, 2015, in Palm Springs: