But to their nominators and to many in the community, they are.
The opening ceremony of the Superman Celebration served as the stage to recognize two of Massac County’s other super heroes — those who by being ordinary people make a difference in the lives of others through what they say and do.
Toni Miller wasn’t only a presenter to this year’s Massac County United Way Helping Hands Award recipient, she’s also a co-worker.
“The honoree tonight has made tremendous contributions in a lot of different ways — through her church, through her family. But there is one thing that sets her apart in a way that probably none of the rest of us can understand the work and the commitment that have gone into that,” Miller said. “Sometimes I can get through most of this (presentation) and I don’t give a name up front and wait for the person to recognize themselves. I know I’m not going to be able to do this tonight because of this unique position. I couldn’t be more please to be able to present it.
“The award goes to a person who has seen an need in our community and has really jumped in to address that need and one year later it is a fantastic asset to the community,” she continued. “It’s going to touch all of our lives and so many of you sitting here are involved.”
The 2013 Helping Hands Award was presented to Natalie Quint, who was nominated by Caroline Jones.
An employee of Massac County Mental Health, Quint has seen the problems drug abuse has had on the county. Concerned about the direction the county was headed, she spoke with local authorities and researched what could be done. She founded the Massac County Drug Awareness Coalition in February 2012.
The volunteer organization has formed a presence on the web and Facebook; reinstated Red Ribbon Week in the Massac Unit 1 and Joppa-Maple Grove school districts; collaborated with the Massac County Sheriff’s Department and Massac Unit 1 to promote P2D2, a prescription drug disposal program; partnered with the Metropolis Elks Lodge to provide a drug awareness trailer; and members have spoken to various organizations and schools about drug awareness. The coalition has several other projects in the works, including beginning a youth advisory council and applying for a grant.
“Natalie’s concern is growing into a great organization for our community in battling drug abuse,” Jones wrote in her nomination letter. “It’s a pleasure to call Natalie my friend, and I’m proud of her accomplishments and bigger vision to teach drug awareness to our youth and to decrease drug abuse in our community.”
This is the 17th year the Helping Hands Award has been presented. Begun in 1988, the awarad recognizes a community member who has made outstanding contributions to the community.
“I did not do this alone,” Quint said. “I’ve had a lot of help to make the coalition happen. Thank you for this award.”
The Lois Lane Award marked its 31st anniversary during this year’s Celebration. The award, presented by the Metropolis Planet, recognizes a confident, independent working woman who while maintaining a full-time job, manages to find the time to give back to her community through various volunteer ventures.
This year’s recipient was Patricia “Tish” Lewis.
A Metropolis native, Lewis was a stay-at-home mother to her children when they were young, but later on she worked at the Metropolis Public Library and at Humma’s Drug Store. She currently works at Dress It Up Boutique. Her numerous volunteer works include: Project Hope Animal Shelter, Save The Massac, Massac Memorial Hospital Ladies’ Auxiliary and Massac County Homemakers American Heritage Unit. In 2012, she organized volunteers to plant, weed and maintain a community garden.
“I want to thank those who nominated me and the ones who selected me from the list of nominations,” Lewis said. “This is really quite an honor. When I started doing volunteer work, I didn’t expect to get an award for it because volunteering is really its own reward. To be recognized by your peers is really icing on the cake. I thank you all very much. I appreciate it.”