LETTER: We can all be Peyton Manning

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 This month, central Indiana celebrated the legacy of Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning. It was a homecoming befitting of a hero—and indeed, Manning is one of those individuals who lives this label both on and off the field. 

What makes Manning a hero isn’t his physical strength and grace under pressure. While those are important attributes, I’d argue it’s his dedication to our community—his gifts of time, talent and treasure for the benefit of others—that truly endears him to Hoosiers everywhere.

By that definition, heroism like Manning’s can take place in our everyday lives. In fact, anyone can be a hero—all it takes is a willingness to serve others simply because it’s the right thing to do. 

In my 15 years living in the Hoosier state and four years at United Way, I can tell you that few of our neighbors will claim they’re a hero. Call it Hoosier humility, but too many people are reluctant to take credit for the amazing work they’re doing—whether in their professional or personal lives—to make central Indiana a great place to live and work.

They, too, deserve our praise and recognition. And while their likeness might not be cast in bronze or overlooking sports stadiums, there are simple things we can do to thank them for their sacrifice and inspire a culture that celebrates heroes of all ages, backgrounds and careers.

As United Way of Central Indiana rings in our 100-year anniversary, we’re on a mission to recognize the organizers, planners, thinkers, doers and fixers who use their skills, passions and talents to make their community a better place. Our 100 Heroes campaign seeks to capture the stories of the individuals—both well-known and behind the scenes—who are making a difference. Whether helping a child develop a love of reading, leading a church service project, developing critical public policy, mentoring a talented young adult or coaching a sports team, there is no shortage of heroes among us.

Let’s acknowledge, honor and reward them—because when one person steps up, others follow.

Together, we can fight for a better future, for everyone, and continue to make central Indiana a great place to call home. Nominate your hero today by going to www.uwci.org/100heroes. 


Ann Murtlow, president and CEO
United Way of Central Indiana

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