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Celebrating those who make a difference

The United Way of Becker County will recognize everyday heroes Thursday night during the Celebration of Heroes event held in Holiday Inn. Submitted Photo

Someone once said “Volunteers are love in motion,” and while there may be hundreds of volunteers moving about Becker County, they will soon be stopped momentarily to be properly thanked.

The United Way’s Celebration of Heroes is coming up in Detroit Lakes Thursday, April 25, at the Holiday Inn.

“It’s a very special night for people who attend it,” said LuAnn Porter, executive director of the United Way of Becker County. “It always comes back to us that you don’t realize there are so many people you’ve never heard of before that do such amazing things.”

The event, which is open to the public, begins at 5 p.m. with dinner.

“There will be a pasta bar with different kinds of pasta and chicken, as well as dessert cups with different kinds of raspberry lime cheesecake,” said Porter, who says following dinner will be a program specifically designed to recognize people in the community who quietly make a difference.

One of the top awards is the Bob and Michelle Harris Award, who both served several years on the United Way Board of Directors before passing away.

“So in honor of them, we will be awarding this to somebody who is dedicated to making this community a better place through volunteer efforts,” said Porter, who says the organization has been handing out this award since 2002, as well as something called The Everyday Hero.

“We have both youth and adults who can receive this,” said Porter. “They are unsung heroes who are looked up to, who quietly go about making a difference in the lives of others… the person who works behind the scenes.”

Porter says examples of people who have won this include somebody who helps senior citizens get to their various appointments and somebody who worked in several different youth programs.

“It’s the person whose name isn’t in the newspaper, but they’re just out there quietly taking care of business,” said Porter, adding that the public nominates the candidates.

The United Way also hands out the Community Spirit Award – one to an individual who goes above and beyond to make a difference in the community, as well as a business that does the same thing by supporting its employees’ volunteer efforts.

The event is not a fundraiser, but simply an evening of food, socializing and gratitude.

“You’ve got all these budget cuts and organizations and groups trying to meet the needs of the residents of Becker County,” said Porter, “and these people step forward and give and share without thinking about it, and sometimes at a cost to them, but they do it because they love their area and want to make a difference, and so we at the United Way think it’s important to take time to say thank you to the people who go above and beyond.”

Porter says people should come casually dressed; the event lasts for about an hour and a half.

Tickets are $25 and can be purchased at the door, but should be preferably reserved by calling 846-7400. Police officers, firefighters and emergency responders are invited to attend the event as guests at no charge.

“Because those are our everyday heroes,” said Porter. “Those are people who are also in there helping and making difference day in and day out.”