Your Everyday Heroes features uplifting stories.
We focus on normal people who lead impressive lives and often have an exceptional impact on society. Be inspired and entertained by their heartening tales of overcoming adversity to enrich the lives of those around them.
Dr. Timothy Quinn – Words of Wisdom
Family practitioner, Dr. Timothy Quinn, has dedicated his life to educating people about living a healthy lifestyle. He practices In Jackson, Mississippi, where obesity rates are higher than anywhere else in the country.
Obesity can lead to chronic diseases like diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol, which can be fatal if not properly managed. Dr. Quinn believes that when medical conditions are diagnosed early, lives can be saved, and teaching people about healthcare is key to getting them to trust their doctors enough to ask for help.
His commitment to medicine goes beyond simply caring for his patients. Dr. Quinn regularly educates his community about how to maintain a healthy lifestyle during television appearances, radio shows, and the monthly articles he publishes.
He informs the public about the signs and symptoms of conditions they may have overlooked, and encourages his followers to make changes in their diet, drinking, and exercise habits that will lead to longer and healthier lives.
Dr. Quinn vocally advocates for people to get moving, whether that means going for a run, taking a hike, or simply walking around the block. He believes that staying in motion at any fitness level reduces obesity and lessens the chance of contracting more serious diseases.
The family practitioner hasn’t become a public figure for the associated fame or extra money. He does it to increase his community’s trust in health practitioners, so they are informed enough to seek medical attention instead of ignoring the symptoms until it’s too late.
Amanda McCarthy – Walking To Stay Alive
Amanda McCarthy was a young mother when she was diagnosed with Bi-polar disorder. Her young child was diagnosed with autism around the same time, and the weight of both of their medical conditions triggered an extreme low.
“I was struggling with severe depression, when I was hospitalized. I had attempted to end my life. I was lucky that it wasn’t a minute too late,” she recalled. “That day looked to me like not being able to put my feet on the ground and feeling like I’m struggling for air with only a few seconds left before I start drowning.”
After being treated and sent home, Amanda was not able to pull out of her despair, but she came to a revelation that saved her life.
“One bad day really led to kind of an awakening. The house was destroyed, my husband came home from work, and I said: ‘I am out of here, I’m done, it’s up to you, you gotta handle this.’ I got my shoes on and bolted out the door as fast as my feet would take me.”
Walking soon became Amanda’s salvation. The simple act of putting one foot in front of the other helped her learn how to control her mental anguish.
“Your tears become fire, they become what lights your feet up,” she explained. “The hardest step I ever took was my first steps. I walked around the block a few times and I realized that even though I felt like I wasn’t really alive, my feet were taking control, no longer my brain, but my feet.”
“I knew that as long as could continue to take footsteps and my expression would still be there, so when I came out of that experience, I really came out a whole different person,” she continued. “The world looked absolutely different.”
Amanda pushed through her pain, step by step, but soon realized she could help others with similar conditions through her discovery. “I really do like hiking with people just like me, we have the same beating heart and within that, I can find my own rhythm.”
She formed a walking group called Urban Nerd Herd, which helps people with anxiety and depression get back into nature alongside those who experience similar mental anguish. Amanda believes that climbing to the top together is what keeps her and others from going over the edge.
“I have been through the deepest depths of despair. I felt my own weakness pouring from my veins, and I have used every last weakness that I’ve come across as a ladder and I’ve climbed my way out,” she explained. “When I reached the top, I get there, and I’m surrounded by incredible people who are also making their way up.”
Bart Hickey – Blind Mechanic
Mechanic Bart Hickey has been obsessed with automobiles since childhood, but he’s never seen one. Hickey was born premature, weighing in at only three pounds. His severely underdeveloped lungs could not oxygenate his still developing organs, which resulted in permanent vision loss.
While he couldn’t see the cars he loved, Bart was still able to use his sense of touch to work on them with his mechanic father, and learn all about them by reading the Braille edition of Popular Mechanics. Far too soon, his knowledge of cars became crucial to the survival of his family, when Bart’s father died, and he helped his mother make ends meet by performing basic maintenance on people’s vehicles.
In 1993, Hickey was able to turn his passion into a career when he launched Bart’s Automotive and Towing with the help of his mother and brother. He soon passed down his love of cars to his own son, Brendan, who now works by his side, just like Bart had done with his father years before.
It was with the help of Brendan that Hickey was able to achieve his life-long dream of driving a car. In 2011, Brendan and Mercedes-Benz arranged for Bart to race one of their high-performance vehicles at the Bonneville salt flats in Utah.
Carey Ott – Songwriter
Guitar player Carey Ott got his start in the Chicago music scene in the mid-90’s with the band Torben Floor. They gained a local following as a result of Ott’s thoughtfully written songs, but failed to score a major record deal and the group split up.
Ott went out on his own and caught a break when a Nashville based producer saw him play and passed on his demo to Dualtone Records. He released his debut solo album, Lucid Dream, in 2006. His music reached mainstream success when one of the songs off the record, “Am I Just One,” was featured on ABC hit medical show, “Grey’s Anatomy.”
The musician is the founder of Meaningful Mentorships, where he teaches songwriting to teenagers and seniors.
Lou Shields – Banjo Musician
Lou Shields plays a traditional type of front porch style music that has been mostly lost to time. He uses either his 1931 National Resonator Guitar or a Banjo, along with foot percussion and a harmonica to communicate his thoughts and stories through his unique sound to audiences all over the world.
He has released eight full-length albums and 13 EP’s in the fifteen years he’s been touring across the United States and Europe. His career is fueled by his lifelong wanderlust, which was apparent from a young age.
“I’ve always been kind of like a wandering soul and I’ve always had that need to go out to other places,” Shields said. “Even when I was a kid, my mom would have to go out and find me because I’d be on my skateboard on the other side of town, or three towns over somehow by midnight and I wouldn’t have a way back.”
When the musician returns home, it’s always to the Chicagoland area, where he was born and raised. He works as a professor at a local college when he’s not touring, and enjoys teaching his young students about art appreciation and history.
Shields is also a prolific artist, who creates works inspired by his experiences on the road. He creates album art and show posters for himself and other musicians, and displays his prints at gallery shows or his wife’s vintage clothing store.