HOME­TOWN HE­ROES WIN­NERS,

The Covington News - - FRONT PAGE - BRYAN FAZIO bfazio@cov­news.com

In­dian Creek Mid­dle School stu­dent Kat­lyn Wil­liams was named Home­town Hero Wed­nes­day by The Cov­ing­ton News and Gen­eral Mills.

In its sixth year, the Home­town Hero award is pre­sented to a New­ton County cit­i­zen or em­ployee who acted in a heroic man­ner to help oth­ers.

Any cit­i­zen The Cov­ing­ton News comes across who acts in a heroic man­ner is nom­i­nated as a Home­town Hero. The per­son then goes to a public vot­ing process, and is se­lected by our read­ers.

“We honor some­one who goes above and be­yond with­out ex­pect­ing any­thing in re­turn,” said T. Pat Ca­vanaugh, Pub­lisher of The Cov­ing­ton News.

One per­son who didn’t ex­pect or ask for any­thing was Wil­liams. In early 2014, Wil­liams lost her grand­fa­ther, Joseph Ci­mon, to Parkin­son’s. A few months later in March her 13th birth­day ar­rived. Rather than look­ing for­wward to re­ceiv­ing gifts from her 55 in­vi­tees, Wil­liams de­cided to tell them not to bring gifts but to do­nate to the Michael J. Fox Foun­da­tion.

Thanks to her self­less­ness, Wil­liams raised $800 for the Michael J. Fox Foun­da­tion and the Amer­i­can Parkin­son’s Dis­ease As­so­ci­a­tion.

Parkin­son’s is a dis­ease Wil­liams wants to help fight due to the con­di­tion she saw her grand­fa­ther in.

“He couldn’t re­mem­ber fam­ily mem­bers, and he was re­ally a smart man. He was a pro­fes­sor at the Uni­ver­sity of Mis­sis­sippi,” Wil­liams said.

The other fi­nal­ist for the Home­town Hero was Marine Cor­po­ral Bryce Bur­ton.

Bur­ton won a na­tional award at the 2014 Marine Corps Her­itage Foun­da­tion din­ner for his film “Com­mit­ment” about Sgt. Gal­le­gos, who had suf­fered sec­ond- and third-de­gree burns from an ac­ci­dent in Iraq. But af­ter a six-year re­cov­ery pe­riod, which in­cluded 156 surg­eries and phys­i­cal ther­apy, Gal­le­gos reen­listed in the Marine Corps. He started school at Camp Le­je­une to be­come an ad­min­is­tra­tive clerk.

The short film chron­i­cled what it was like to walk in Gal­le­gos’ shoes.

Bryce Bur­ton, who won a na­tional award at the 2014 Marine Corps Her­itage Foun­da­tion din­ner for his film “Com­mit­ment” about Sgt. Gal­le­gos, was the Home­town Hero run­ner up.

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