Michael H.Hodges
The Detroit News

It's time to take a minute to reflect on the individuals who most deserve our admiration.

Far from the limelight, any number of our neighbors are doing work that makes a real difference in people's lives.

If you know one of those remarkable individuals, we'd sure like to hear from you.

Since 1978, The Detroit News has asked readers to tell us about those Michigan residents, famous or utterly unknown, who deserve to have their good works honored by being named a Michiganian of the Year.

We're particularly interested in the unseen and the unsung -- like the Detroiter who shoveled out dozens of her elderly neighbors after a crushing blizzard, all the while singing "Amazing Grace." Or the quick-thinking gentleman who leapt into a pond at the Detroit Zoo to save a drowning baby monkey (and got bitten for his pains).

Some honorees hold down highly visible jobs -- such as U.S. Rep. John D. Dingell, General Motors chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner or the Rev. Faith Fowler, who turned her Cass Community United Methodist Church into a social-service powerhouse helping Detroit's down-and-out.

Others have uncanny powers to thrill, like soul-queen Aretha Franklin or Tiger legend Al Kaline.
Or consider Waltraud Prechter, who harnessed the grief over her husband's suicide by raising millions for research on manic depression.

Their stories lift up our spirits, inspiring our own good works.

You can nominate someone by writing a letter to Michiganians of the Year, Features Department, The Detroit News, 615 W. Lafayette Blvd., Detroit, MI 48226.

Please include the individual's name and a short explanation why this person deserves such an honor. Don't forget your name and telephone number, so we can call you if we have further questions.

You can also fax The News at (313) 222-2451, or e-mail at http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20081229/LIFESTYLE/mailto:features@detnews.com with "Michiganians of the Year" in the subject line.

But act fast. The deadline for applications is Jan. 31.


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