Hearts of Gold: Community champions to be featured during Olympics

Hearts of Gold: Community champions to be featured during Olympics

(WWBT) - During the Winter Olympics, Morning Anchor Sarah Bloom is featuring our "Hearts of Gold" winners.

In January, we asked you to tell us about outstanding people in our community with "Hearts of Gold" and you certainly delivered.

These are people who have made big sacrifices because they care about others and they are changing lives in beautiful ways.

Here are the nominees who were eligible to be featured and also take home $200 to spend at "Hearts of Gold" sponsor Saxon shoes:

Alison Boyd
Alison Boyd runs a non-profit organization called Wings of Hope Ranch. Where rescued horses and children facing conflicts or challenges come together to help each other learn to love and trust again.

Catherine Pall
Catherine Pall is the co-founder and current program director of RAIN (Richmond Autism Integration Network), a non-profit organization designed to provide social interaction for individuals with autism.

Deb Minter
After more than 40 years serving the warfighter/soldier at Defense Logistics Agency Deb Minter also helped the community by feeding the homeless downtown, working the election polls, and Special Olympics. In addition to her work, Deb bakes cookies for female prisoners in a mission program each year, volunteers as an usher at the Landmark, and buys lottery tickets for the DLA girls.

Jane O'Toole (in memory)
Even though Jane O'Toole is not with us anymore, she spent her life committed to her family and helping others. She worked at Tucker Pavilion at the HCA Virginia's Chippenham Hospital where the conference room was re-named in her honor, was a member of an exclusive book club, and was committed to the "Clothes Closet" where she organized and shopped for the clothes that were made available to patients in need.

Jo White
Jo White started and heads the Saving Our Youth group, a program for under privileged kids, helping them with homework. She teaches a Jobs for Life/Power for Life program for adults at Boaz & Ruth, and a Power for Life for youth at the 6 PIC center (Six Points Innovation Center). In addition to her work Jo White goes to homicide victims families offering peace and encouragement. She heads the St. Giles Caritas week, where the church houses and feeds the homeless for a week.

John Howe
John has worked more than 20 years at the Chesterfield County IST Department. For years, he volunteered with the Special Olympians, with the Chesterfield Christmas Mother program buying and delivering gifts, and heading up Thanksgiving meals for CCHASM (Colonial Heights and the Department of Social Services).

Louise Tramontin
At 101 years young, Louise Tramontin has been a lifelong and first volunteer at the Meals on Wheels program with Feedmore and also helped at the Benedictine High School cafeteria. When Meals on Wheels began in Richmond in 1967, she was one of two full-time volunteers. During the wars, Louise helped make clothes and collected donations for the soldiers overseas. She has been active with her church, St. Benedicts, for years, as well. 

Maggie Carson
Maggie Carson has volunteered every day of the week for many years at St. Matthew's United Methodist Church in Goochland County. She has also volunteered with CARITAS, Rise Against Hunger, Hands in Praise, Christmas Mother, Angel Tree, Prime Timers, Vacation Bible School, and with several funerals and weddings at her church.

Natalie Ban
Natalie Ban is a Governor's Academy for Engineering Studies graduate from L.C. Bird High School, now a freshman at the University of Kentucky College of Engineering. She created the "No Senior Left Behind" program to assist senior students to graduate together. She assisted students from Falling Creek Elementary School with their homework, creating good academic habits for at risk students. Served as a student mentor for the GEMS (Girls in Engineering, Math and Science) camp.

Samantha Muse
Samantha Muse donated her right kidney to her mother only 2 days before her birthday, on October 2016. She is a teacher at The Faison School, and loves working with her non-verbal students as they learn to communicate and thrive to their best abilities. This past Fall she judged the FIRST Lego League Competitions through her former team at Godwin, the Talon 540. In her spare time, Samantha volunteers at the River City Cheer Stars, a local competition cheer team for special needs adults and teens.

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