They served food. They put together care packages. They visited the sick. They spoke out for a cause.
They took the ordinary and made it extraordinary.
The Boston Globe and Boston.com are celebrating five North Shore hometown heroes who are made a difference in their communities in 2013. Next
Growing up as a girl but wanting to be a boy, Zachary Kerr, 20 (front center,) felt confused about his identity. Even as a teenager, Kerr would change into his older brothers’ clothes on the way to school.
At the age of 14, Kerr, who is a Methuen native, learned about transgenderism, where one’s gender identity differs from his or her biological sex.
Kerr realized he could be a role model for those who felt similarly about their gender. Kerr has since become an advocate for the transgender community. He hopes to educate people on all the different types of transgenderism and provide support to those struggling with gender identity.
Kerr spreads his message by working with the Massachusetts Safe Schools Program for Gay and Lesbian Students, and Greater Boston PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) through educational outreach programs. He was recently recognized with a TeenNick HALO award from Nickelodeon, which celebrates young activists.
Hope Wigglesworth, 87, has always believed in giving back.
Since May 2009, she has worked 350 hours as a patient ambassador at the Beverly Hospital. She pushes a cart, hall to hall, room by room, stopping by each room and offering patients magazines, books, and writing pads.
As a mother of four and a grandmother of nine, Wigglesworth has lived in Ipswich for more than 60 years. Although she retired in 1990, she has continued to volunteer simply because she cares about her community. Next
Steve Bjork, 45, is almost universally known in Wilmington as a “good guy.” His volunteer work with Local Heroes, a non-profit organization that helps ship care packages to troops overseas, has earned him a reputation of someone with a big heart.
Bjork has also helped rebuild homes for displaced individuals, walked in the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life, and more. He and his wife, Georgett, recently took in three young siblings and are working toward adopting them.
Bjork’s service work recently earned him the town’s annual “good guy” award. Next
Known as the “Cookie Queen of Melrose,” Debbie Walz, 46, is in charge of about 24,000 boxes of Girl Scout cookies sold in the town every year.
Walz (right) started working with the Girl Scouts 13 years ago when her daughter was only 5. Now, she’s in charge of a Cadet troop of 10 girls and an older Ambassador group of 13.
One would think that keep anybody busy, but Walz does much more than that. On top of being the mother of two teenagers, Walz also organizes Melrose’s free weekly community dinner and the veterans’ breakfast. Next
Julia Marino, of Winchester, will be the sole representative of the first Olympic team from her native country of Paraguay at the upcoming Winter Games in Sochi.
Marino, 21, will be making her Olympic debut in slopestyle skiing.
Marino first tried skiing at the Loon Mountain in Lincoln, N.H., and began pursuing it as more than just a hobby at the age of 11.
She is hoping to open up the “world of snow sports” in Paraguay, a land-locked country with not much snow. Back to the beginning
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below