Heroes don’t always wear capes, rescue puppies from burning buildings or make one-handed catches in the end zone as the clock expires.
Those who go to extraordinary lengths to make the world or even just their own neighborhoods a better place are also heroes.
These heroes rarely call attention to themselves — they’re too fixed on the mission, whatever it may be. And so it goes that they are often taken for granted or overlooked, even when their work is not.
In this special issue, The Argonaut recognizes 12 Westsiders who quietly and without fanfare go about doing exceptional work for the benefit of others. Almost all of them were nominated as local heroes by our readers, showing that consistent good works seldom go wholly unrecognized.
There’s Maria Atake, whose animal rescue efforts have saved more than 1,000 dogs while boosting the spirits of other animal welfare volunteers. Orson Bean and Alley Wells, residents of the Venice canals who have helped keep the local art scene afloat while coming to the aid of many others in need. Alison Hurst, who brings homeless youth in from the cold. Lee Lodawer, who has spent more than 20,000 volunteer hours in service to injured veterans. David Malki, whose efforts with 826LA in Mar Vista teach kids to be creative and literate. Antoinette Reynolds, who plays a care-giving role for children whose parents are incarcerated. Dave and Inge Scheinfarb, who give disabled youth and veterans access to the thrill of sailing. Art Shane, who despite serious illness helped save a school music program. Arun Storrs, who was adopted from an orphanage in Nepal and leverages her good fortune to help protect the children living there today. Julie Weiss, who ran 52 marathons in 52 weeks to fight pancreatic cancer after the disease took her father’s life.
It’s impossible to read their stories and not be inspired.