Such commitments are made by those who hold deep reserves in their hearts for the plight of others.
Such a pledge has been made by a proven leader in our Cleveland and Bradley County hometown.
He is Matt Ryerson, vice president of Community Investment Strategies for United Way of Bradley County Inc., who has been named one of 10 national finalists in the second annual “Unsung Heroes: Dads Making A Difference Contest.”
The grand prize winner will be determined through online voting and announced on Facebook on July 11. The winner will receive $30,000 in services and assistance from the Sears Blue Tool Crew toward a community project.
The timing is impeccable.
Ryerson has announced if he is fortunate enough to win, he will donate the full prize to his community toward storm recovery.
It is a heartfelt promise, one that is made by a chosen few whose strength of character and caliber of community-mindedness is unprecedented.
Ryerson, who is an April 27 tornado victim yet who works in support of others through his duties on the Bradley-Cleveland Long-Term Recovery Organization, spoke to our newspaper of his actions. He offers the $30,000 prize — should he win the online competition — because of his love of this community and his belief in its people.
He also credits others with instilling in him these hometown values.
“I have been so blessed to play a small role in so many local efforts, but what I am most proud of is being a dad,” Ryerson told us. “I am truly a product of my community in that I have had so many Godly men as role models and an incredible wife who has inspired me to be a better man that this is ultimately, in my opinion, a community award.”
He added, “To me, this is simple. This community has done so much to build me up — it is my opportunity to give back. Those funds can make a genuine impact on our community.”
Those who personally know this devoted husband and father of two can have a direct hand in his selection.
Here’s how the voting works.
Through July 3, Ryerson and his nine co-finalists are being featured on the Sears Blue Tool Crew Facebook page. By visiting the Facebook site, local residents can cast a vote of support for the Cleveland resident.
Just go to www.facebook.com/sears-bluetoolcrew, choose to “Like” that page and then you will be able to vote for your favorite “Unsung Hero” and his community once per day every day through the cutoff date. Official contest rules are available at the Sears Blue Tool Crew Facebook page under the “Dads Making A Difference” application.
The talented and creative Ryerson, who authors an Editorial Page column titled “Father Time” each Wednesday in the Cleveland Daily Banner, was nominated for the honor by another unsung volunteer, his wife, Heather. They have two children.
Along with his community work on the LTRO, Ryerson also leads the storm recovery’s Unmet Needs Committee. He is genuinely empathetic to the challenges faced by storm survivors because his house was badly damaged by one of the five devastating tornadoes.
A vote for this loving father, devoted dad and civic servant is not just a vote for a deserving nominee.
It is a vote for a community known as much now for its can-do resilience as it was previously for its proud heritage, staunch family values and unbridled sense of unity.
We encourage your daily Facebook support for Matt Ryerson.
It is a rare chance to give to a good man who chooses to give to his adopted hometown.