The real heroes aren't the celebrities we see on national television or on the front pages of the tabloids; real heroes are the average citizens - our friends and neighbors - who go out of their way to give of their time and resources to help those around us.  In an effort to recognize some of those individuals, the St. Louis County Board handed out their Public Health Achievement Awards at a recent meeting. The recognition ran concurrent with National Public Health Week, which was April 2-8.

One of the individuals recognized by the St. Louis County Board was Heather Hemphill Keely - the founder of the Carousel Volunteer and Donation Center in Chisholm.  Along with her other duties, Hemphill Keely started a summer lunch program for kids - starting out with just a handful of customers to 60 to 80 lunches per day.

The other recognition came to The Rutabega Project - a joint effort started by the Arrowhead Economic Opportunity Agency (AEOA) and the Iron Range Partnership for Sustainability.  The goal of the project is to improve access to local healthy foods for children and families.  A variety of elements are involved in the program - including promoting local farmers markets, community gardens, providing transportation to grocery stores, and the use of meal kits.