Congratulations to our winner Dennis Duddie. Learn more about the finalists below and visit the Hometown Heroes website to vote for other local heroes!
1,000 words can not begin to tell my hero’s story. She served 30 yrs in the Army, was a veteran of Desert Storm and Iraq. She juggled taking care of an entire transportation unit of Soldiers, me and our 3 sons. She retired in 2009 and her serving, loving heart never rests. Her old soldiers still call her and ask her advice. She volunteers countless hours at the church, cooks meals for anyone she thinks is hungry, makes quilts for babies she will never see or hold, has crocheted thousands of hats so people can stay warm, helps veterans with filling out paperwork, making appointments, or just chatting with one that’s having a hard time. She is the shoulder that so many have relied on when they needed to cry but sucks it up and marches on when she has needed to cry herself. All the times she was away from home we never felt alone cause she was always sending us messages telling you how much she loved and missed us. I wish you could look at her army records and talk to her soldiers.
– Donald Canerdy, Nominator
Neal is a completely selfless servant to not only the Marines, nation but also the local community. No matter where he gets stationed. My husband’s hard work and caring for people has helped him progress through the ranks of Private to Staff Sergeant, Warrant to Chief Warrant Officer 3 and now Captain. He’s a 2x Afghanistan Combat Veteran and prior Reconnaissance Marine. He is directly responsible for two large Cyber Mission teams who work hard each day protecting our nation’s most critical networks. Neal also takes his little free time to Volunteer in our community by coaching youth sports (over 500 hours this year alone), remodeling community help centers and helping run Ronald McDonald House teams to feed families. Additionally, my husband makes it his main priority to help promote other service members and truly care for them. This could be a great way to say thanks for all his work and selflessness.
– Marlene Marquez, Nominator
Doyle is my husband of 14 years. He was born in Rolla, Missouri in 1949, where his father was stationed as a US Navy recruiter. He attended a 2-room school through the 8th grade. In 1967, he was accepted into West Point, graduating in 1971, and serving 6 years as an Army officer, leaving active duty as a Captain. He became a martial arts teacher, ultimately moving to Arizona and being promoted to 8th degree master. He has taught self-defense and character development to thousand of students of all ages. He retired from teaching full-time in 2014.
He volunteers 20+ hours per week at a local food pantry, providing food to over 200 families and lunches to over 100 homeless. At age 73, he teaches Tai Chi in a local Karate school. He is a substitute teacher in K-12 elementary schools. He is among Arizona’s leading platelet donors, with 430 donations, so far. His philosophy is: “You have never lived until you have done something for someone who can never pay you back”.
– Sarah Perry, Nominator
I’d like to nominate Dennis Duddie, who served in the US Navy and Army National Guard. He is a retired Army Specialist who serves as Commander of American Legion post 170 in Rochelle Park NJ and has been honored to receive the National Defense Ribbon. His contribution to the community includes assisting veterans with benefit claims and helping homeless veterans find a permanent residence. He also supports furnishing those residences for veterans who need. He’s led holiday toy drive initiatives for veteran families, backpacks for students at the beginning of the school year and is a proud supporter of local Boy Scout Troop 114 ensuring to incorporate them into legion activities, raise troop visibility and strengthen their leadership role in the community. He’s also helped to implement hometown heroes banner program in town uniting the community behind their veterans. His community impact is far reaching and because of this he deserves this recognition.
– Sheri Israel-Duarte, Nominator
Following 21 years of service in the Air Force, my husband has devoted his time to giving back to the country he loves by serving in the community he lives. He serves as a Stephen Minister to folks dealing with life challenges, serves on many non-profit boards, including President of the Board of Directors for Hospice of Cumberland County, past President and current board member of the Christian Counseling Center of Cumberland County, and past President and advisor to Cumberland County Imagination Library. In addition, my husband supports many military groups with his time and treasure, and leads a small group Bible Study. He is a man of the highest character and is always available to those in need. He loves on his family, kids and grandkids, and is always there for me, as I deal with a chronic illness.
– Julie Oswald, Nominator
For more information, visit the DISH Hometown Heroes website and stay tuned for more opportunities to nominate a hometown hero from your community!