Meghan Moreno doesn't like to call attention to herself, but she's in the spotlight anyway as one of three finalists in the General Motors Our Town, Our Heroes contest.
"I'm actually a very modest person, and I'm not even telling anyone to vote for me — I'm so embarrassed," said Moreno, a resident and the executive director of the Edward Hospital Foundation.
Moreno was nominated by Naperville resident Chelle Arends. The two met soon after Arends' son, Coleson, was diagnosed with leukemia at age 3.
Coleson is now 7 and in remission, but during his long battle Arends and Moreno raised $30,000 for the Edward Hospital KidsCare Campaign.
"To our family, it's a way to give back," Arends said of their fundraising efforts. "If we can help others who come after us, that's what we want to do."
General Motors launched the Our Town, Our Heroes program in 2011 to recognize and reward unsung heroes who are inspiring and empowering others in their local communities. The winning hero and his or her nominator will receive a one-week loan of an all-new Chevrolet, Buick, GMC or Cadillac vehicle and a full tank of gas. The winning hero will also receive $500 in gift cards, and the second place hero and his or her nominator will each receive a one-week vehicle loan.
Moreno said she was unaware of the prize she is in line for and plans to donate it to families with sick children at Edward Hospital if she wins.
Beginning April 2, the public is encouraged to vote for their favorite hero at DrivingtheMidwest.com. Voting ends April 16 and the hero will be announced on April 17.
In her nomination of Moreno, Arends wrote:
“Recently, Meghan led the fundraising efforts for the KidsCare Campaign at Edward Hospital, which upgraded areas of the hospital and funds the soon-to-open Ronald McDonald Family Room, the first of its kind in Illinois. Meghan sparkles when she enters a room and works tirelessly to achieve her goals which in turn benefit everyone in the community. I have been lucky enough to see Meghan in action and am inspired by her giving spirit.”
“We received so many inspirational nominations in 2011 from Illinois residents who are going above and beyond to better their communities,” said Brian Goebel, the north central region communications manager for General Motors. “We’re honored and thrilled to share Meghan’s story not only with her fellow residents in Shorewood, but with the rest of the state as well.”
Moreno might not be asking anyone to vote for her, but Arends has put out a call for support.
"She thinks it's her job and it's no big deal, but it is a big deal," Arends said. "Whether she wants to or not, (she) needs to be recognized."