LANSING, Mich. — For the past nine months, Michigan communities have been trying to survive the COVID-19 outbreak and its effects on both local families and businesses. Many have stepped up during this challenging time, and Sen. Curtis Hertel Jr. wants to recognize and reward as many of those hometown heroes as he can.
"So we're trying to honor our front-line heroes," Sen. Hertel explains, "and, you know, we have so many people in the district that have gone above and beyond fighting COVID. They've risked their lives, they've had to spend time away from their families, and we want to honor those people during the holidays."
Sen. Hertel and his team are accepting nominations for hometown heroes by email at email@example.com. Each week throughout the month of December, starting on Dec. 4 and ending Dec. 31, two selected nominees will be recognized on Sen. Hertel's Facebook page and in his e-newsletter. Eight heroes will be selected in total, and each will receive a $100 gift card to a local restaurant of Sen. Hertel's choice.
"We also want to help our local businesses," Sen. Hertel says, "and we know that our local restaurants are struggling during this pandemic, and while take-out is still available, you know, the loss of in-person dining is, is difficult, and we want to make sure we honor those local family-owned businesses as well. So we're combining those two, for the month of December."
Hospital doctors and staff, teachers, police officers, grocery store workers—Sen. Hertel says he does not want to limit nominations or tell his community who he thinks the heroes should be, rather, he wants his community to tell him, and tell him why.
"I mean, there are lots of different ways to look at this," Sen. Hertel says. "...with all the negativity that's going on in the world, it's nice to have a little bit of positivity and talk about the great things that people do."
Sen. Hertel says that though all nominations cannot be selected, he and his staff will find ways to honor all of the stories submitted. The eight chosen heroes will just receive "a little extra." The first $100 gift card will be to Naing Myanmar Family Restaurant in South Lansing, Sen. Hertel's favorite.
"The owners are amazing people," Sen. Hertel explains. "They're a great American story; they came to this country with almost nothing, and saved up money to open up a restaurant. (They) didn't know anybody else in Lansing when they moved here, and (they) created a beautiful space."
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