Ordinary people can do extraordinary things, especially when they combine their skills and their passions.
Derris Hunt, a fitness instructor who volunteers his time at a center for the blind, saw a need to bring a physical fitness component to complement the existing therapies and lobbied to create a fitness center for the community. After receiving the go-ahead, he interviewed dozens of the center's members about their various conditions and needs before he set about to raise funds and secure donations.
Local businesses and individuals kicked in money and supplies from the paint for the room to the machines themselves (a couple to start), but the benefits are already clear. Derris has no doubt more will come their way as word spreads of the program and the effect it is having on the minds and bodies of the individuals who are 'learning new skills and gaining confidence.'
In addition to helping coordinate the growth of the center, Derris also spends three days a week on site, ready to teach anyone how to use the equipment or stand alongside them while they get some exercise.
In nominating Derris for a local hero award, a colleague at the center said: "Derris took the skills he had, put together the resources that he knew of, and created an environment that changed people's lives."
Do you know someone who saw a need in the community and stepped in to fill it? Nominate them for next week's AmericanTowns Hero.