who inspires you?

Readers replied with a caregiver, a Boy Scout and family members who boost our spirits in tough times, strengthen our communities and remind us that even small gestures can grow exponentially.

Jonathan Werner, 11

Nominated by Kent York • 67 • Falcon Heights

Jonathan is a First Class Scout in Troop 3506 in Ham Lake, a very active troop that camps every month. When asked what he likes best about scouting, he responded: "The life skills I learn, adventures and service — plus, of course, selling popcorn. I've learned to set goals and build plans." Last fall, Jonathan sold an amazing amount of popcorn — $46,000 worth — and was the top seller for the Northern Star Council. He then used his prize proceeds of $5,800 to fulfill the complete holiday gift requests of foster care children in Kanabec and Isanti counties. Jonathan says his motivation to support foster kids comes from his father, who spent 14 years in foster care. He and his mother spent Black Friday buying gifts and then recruited his troop, friends and church members to join him in two wrapping parties to prepare them for distribution. As they delivered the packages, the social work staffs at both counties were overwhelmed and extremely grateful. Jonathan represents well the "to help other people at all times" phrase of the scout oath!

Vickey Korlewala, 54

Nominated by Gretta Freeman • 93 • Golden Valley

Recently I fell and came home with a cast on my right arm. I needed help at home as soon as possible. A friend said, "I've got someone," and Vickey arrived practically in the middle of that very night! She comes over four days a week, and I think, "I have to get up!" Otherwise, I'd probably still be in my robe in bed. She's teaching me how to walk again; we walk in the halls. We do everything together, go to the grocery store, pharmacy. We'd go out to a movie, but we don't want to take that chance right now. Vickey does my hair, too, and, in the spring, is going to take me to her house to see her beautiful gardens. After she leaves for the day, she calls me from her home to make sure I'm OK. Even though she and her sister have many other clients for their home health care business, she makes me feel special. My kids would worry too much if I didn't have Vickey. She is a person to depend on.

Irene Hordinsky, 108

Nominated by Kristina Kramarczuk • 28 • Falls Church, Va.

My grandma, known by her family as "Bapsha," turned 108 in January. Not only is her age impressive, Bapsha still is in contact with almost every person she has met throughout her life — family, friends, neighbors, you name it! Throughout my childhood, I could always find stamps, envelopes and note paper in Bapsha's room that she would use to send hand-written letters to all of the people she has met. She is a healthy reminder that, as we become more technologically savvy, there is a beauty to older pen and paper letters that allow the sender to imprint part of themselves onto paper. However, this is not the main reason why she inspires me. She has seen and been through so much in her lifetime (two world wars, aging, loss of her children), but she has never once stopped treating people with kindness or loving those closest to her. She always wants to know who you are, what you are doing and how you are helping the world. She makes anyone near her feel like they matter and are worth having a conversation with. I feel really lucky to have Bapsha in my life and to have grown up watching how much she values others and community.
To nominate your special person, please fill out the form below. We plan to run "Who Inspires You" stories throughout the year.
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