Hometown Heroes

Community Servant of Troy a ‘Hometown Hero’
This week's "Hometown Hero," Adrienne Wilson, works to bring a sense of community to Troy. Fittingly, her nominator listed her occupation as a "community servant," reflecting the time and energy she puts into where she calls home.
She is driven to improve the …
Guilderland Girl Scout Leader a ‘Hometown Hero’
Melissa Rosenthal-Dubin has been leading a troop of Girl Scouts for the past several years, showing passion for her troop and for her community.
When she's not helping her girls earn badges, the Guilderland resident also owns her own business and is raising four kids of her own...
Lyme Disease Advocate a ‘Hometown Hero’
Kerry Lawler of Watervliet is this week's "Hometown Hero." She earned this title because of her work as a Lyme disease advocate after being diagnosed with the disease herself.
Kerry makes herself available to those who have Lyme disease and need help with what they ar…
Director of Albany’s Cure The Violence a ‘Hometown Hero’
Clarence Jackson, of Albany, is the Director of Cure The Violence, an organization that works to protect the community and keep violence off the streets by hosting awareness events and rallies.
Clarence used his own personal experiences to start a movement in Albany to encourage a peaceful environmen…
Chatham + Stockport Chief of Police a ‘Hometown Hero’
Peter Volkmann, of Stuyvesant, is the Chief of Chatham Police, Chief of Stockport Police, Police Academy Director, and a Certified Trainer for International Critical Incident Stress Foundation. He is a man who wears many hats and who, according to the person who nominated him, his wife Lay…
Taghkanic Firefighter a ‘Hometown Hero’
Donald Coons Jr., of Taghkanic, NY, has been a volunteer firefighter since he was 16 and is now the first Assistant Chief of Taghkanic Fire Company in Columbia County. In addition to being a firefighter, he also works part-time as an EMT for Copake Rescue Squad...
Gloversville Youth Volunteer a ‘Hometown Hero’
Sharon Dion, a Gloversville woman who volunteers her time with the 4-H Youth Development Program of Cornell Cooperative Extension in Fulton and Montgomery Counties, was recently honored as an "outstanding volunteer" for her commitment to serving the community's youth through t…
5-Year-Old Hair Donor a ‘Hometown Hero’
This week's Hometown Hero is Karis Ward, a five-year-old from Caroga Lake who donated her long hair to Locks of Love.
Karis saw a photo of a child without hair on her babysitter's computer. When she asked why the child did not have hair, her sitter, Kim, explained the child was undergoing c…
Therapy Dog Owner a ‘Hometown Hero’
This week's "Hometown Hero" is Louise Belensz.
Louise volunteers throughout her community, including at a local school tutoring children and teaching others how to ski at the Double H Ranch. But she really enjoys bringing her therapy dog, Otis, to local nursing homes to help an…
4-H Youth Program Volunteer a ‘Hometown Hero’
Breanne Duesler, of Ames, was not only honored as one of our "Hometown Heroes"-she was recently honored by her peers as well.
Breanne was recognized as an outstanding 4-H volunteer for her work with the 4-H Youth Development Program of Cornell Cooperative Extension in Fulton and Mon…
Amsterdam Mailman a ‘Hometown Hero’
Rafael Chaverri, of Amsterdam, does much more than deliver mail to local residents. He delivers cheer.
Many neighbors along his route have come to love and respect Rafael, a Costa Rican native who came to America at age 18 and has been delivering mail for the past 10 years...
Amsterdam Mentor and Coach a ‘Hometown Hero’
John Sumpter was moved by the loss of two teenagers in Amsterdam two years ago and decided to create a not-for-profit organization geared toward mentoring and coaching the community's youth.
He started W1shfu1 Th1nk1ng and currently mentors 100 to 200 local kids of various ages and grade levels.…
Local Children in Crisis Founder a ‘Hometown Hero’
Rayn Boncie has devoted her life to helping children in need, providing clothing and essentials to them through a non-profit foundation she started, Children in Crisis. The Scotia mother of four sacrifices much of her own time to help between 4,000 and 5,000 children per year...
Coxsackie Nurse & Firefighter a ‘Hometown Hero’
There are few things Jennifer McKeon, of Coxsackie, does not do.
By day, McKeon works as a nurse at a pain clinic in Clifton Park and at night she teaches phlebotomy students. In between, she volunteers as a firefighter and also finds time for her three children and one grandson...
Hometown Heroes
For the past 19 years, Michele and Hal Bergeron, of Schenectady, have been helping the children of their community not only have a fun Halloween night, but one that includes a full meal.
After noticing that many children had little else to eat but candy on that night, the couple started "The Ber…
Amsterdam EMT + Soldier a ‘Hometown Hero’
Stephen Kolbe, of Amsterdam, dedicates his life to others, currently serving as a firefighter, EMT and member of the Army National Guard.
As part of the “Hometown Heroes” series, we’ve partnered with County Waste and Latham Ford to celebrate local unsung he…
Maddie’s Mark Founder a ‘Hometown Hero’
This week we honor a local not-for-profit foundation on a mission to give children with cancer and other diseases their "Best Day Ever."
Erin Musto, president of Maddie's Mark, started the foundation with her husband and family last year in honor of their daughter, Madeline, wh…
Albany Teacher + Coach a ‘Hometown Hero’
This week's Hometown Hero is Jillian McGuire Gonch of Albany. Jillian is a teacher and coach who "always puts the needs of her students and players first," according to the person who nominated her.
She is the assistant coach of women's basketball for the Albany Lady Falco…
Castleton Volunteer a ‘Hometown Hero’
Louann Ingraham, of Castleton, has dedicated her life to helping people in need.
She works at the Castleton Anchor, a nonprofit charity that supplies food, household goods and clothing to families in the community who need them most.
As part of the “Hometown Heroes” series, we’ve partnered with County…
'Hometown Hero'
Troy firefighter William Miller has been volunteering for his community since 1987. But when tragedy struck outside the Capital Region, Miller decided to help others from beyond his hometown.
Miller joined the Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) team after the Oklahoma City bombing and has stepped in to a…
Firefighter Caitlin D’Alessandro a ‘Hometown Hero’
For Halfmoon resident Caitlin D'Alessandro, fighting fires is a family affair.
D'Alessandro followed in the footsteps of her father and brother and became an interior firefighter last year. Her passion for others came through when she started a group, Firefighters for a Cause, which raises money to d…
Emily Keefner of Canaan a ‘Hometown Hero’
Emily Keefner, of Canaan, NY, was born with a cleft lip and palate.
At just 18 years old, she has undergone more than 30 surgeries. Emily has been fundraising for the last two years for UMass Medical Centers Cranial Facial Unit so the hospital can upgrade its database system and offer better care to …
Military Mom Kathy Buckley a ‘Hometown Hero’
When Kathy Buckley, of Melrose, started sending care packages to her two sons, both in the Army and deployed overseas, she realized how many soldiers miss out on some of the luxuries of home.
So 11 years ago, she took action and founded Military Mom in Action, an organization that collects items and …

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