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Illinois' Unsung Heroes Help Build Communities

People who know someone who gives their time to help others are being encouraged to nominate them for the 50@50 awards. (
People who know someone who gives their time to help others are being encouraged to nominate them for the 50@50 awards. (
May 8, 2017

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Nominations are being sought for those who donate their time and energy to improve the lives of others.

Fifty of Illinois' “unsung heroes” are being recognized for their work helping nonprofit groups, the arts and culture, and small businesses in their communities with a special emphasis on those who can think outside the box and find creative ways to make Illinois a better place.

AARP Illinois is taking nominations for its 50@50 program. And Gerardo Cardenas, the group’s communications director, says AARP is looking for individuals ages 50 and older who make tremendous contributions to improving cities and neighborhoods but often go unnoticed.

"A lot of these unsung heroes are unsung for a reason,” he states. “They're modest. They don't necessarily try to get the spotlight shining on them.

“We're asking for others to nominate them, but also to fill out a nomination that includes a signature, so that they know that they're being considered."

Nominees are not required to be an AARP member, and those selected will be announced in the fall through a special section in Crain's Chicago Business, then recognized at a public event. Nominations are being accepted until June 30.

Nominees will be judged based on how they make a positive impact, and the work they do does not have to be through an AARP program.

Cardenas says it's a way to honor those 50 and older who strive to make Illinois a better place to work and live.

"A lot of times, people and organizations focus on those who are 40 and younger and who are business leaders and technology leaders and innovators, but in reality, when you think about it, age is not a limit,” he states. “Age is a threshold."

Nominations forms and more information is available on the AARP website.

Veronica Carter, Public News Service - IL