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In nearly every endeavor, there are people who make things happen in their own way. These are the people who get things done because something needed to get done. These are the people who help others simply because others may need a hand. There are no other agendas beyond the agenda that some see, and others don't. These special people who stretch out their hands are the heroes who are not famous or in the news for what they are doing, but whose efforts nonetheless affect, enrich, and touch the lives of others. They are the unsung heroes we should know and whose deeds we should understand, appreciate, and acknowledge.

PowerCommunicators would like to salute those individuals and organizations that have helped make us who and what we are today, and what we will look like and be tomorrow.

Ole Varmer and Jeanne Philbin

Our first "Unsung Heroes" are Ole Varmer and Jeanne Philbin.

Ole sat in on our very first classes. One time, one of our 7th grade students had said she wanted to be a lawyer when she grew up. Since Mr. Varmer is an attorney for the government, this made for an opportunity for her to interview a real practicing lawyer who could tell her a little about how he became interested in the law, and what he does now in his profession. It was clear that our student had a true interest, as she grilled him on all aspects of his job and gained some valuable insights. We're sure Ole learned something, too.

Ole, who was also the President of the Silver Spring (MD) Parent-Teacher-Student Association, arranged for PowerCommunicators to get its first client, the class at the Silver Spring International Middle School (SSIMS) as part of the Intervention Program. This program is directed at some of the most challenging students to communicate with as they have serious problems with behavior, authority, and are frequently suspended from school. This fall will mark the 3rd year we will be providing our communication and public speaking course to those students, as well as beginning a Pre-Intervention class for 5th grade students at the Highland View Elementary School.

Through SSIMS, the PTSA, and donations from Scwindt & Co., Ole has arranged funding to enable even more students to get involved over the past three years. He has also made in-kind donations of much of his own time to institute our curriculum into the school system, where he is a key player in a number of other important initiatives. And he's just getting started. Ole remains one our strongest supporters. He is a walking, talking example of those people who work quietly, but effectively, to get the right things done.

Ole, we salute you! Keep up the good work!

Jeanne Philbin shares the Unsung Hero recognition with Ole (Jeanne also just happens to be married to Ole) not just for all she's done for PowerCommunicators, but for being a long time activist for kids and learning in her community. Jeanne is a regular volunteer at both the Silver Spring elementary and middle schools giving teachers a helping hand and working with individual kids to get them over their rough spots. Jeanne was instrumental in taking the PowerCommunicators/Intervention concept she taught to the at-risk middle school kids and introducing it into the Highland View Elementary School to pilot a Pre-Intervention class. We look forward to continuing the Pre-Intervention classes this year.

Jeanne also heads up a Girl Scout troop where she will, likewise, introduce the PowerCommunicators curriculum to her young leaders.

She is involved in many other community activities too numerous to mention here. Suffice it to say, the praise and admiration she gets from the students, teachers, parents, and community leaders speaks volumes about how much she is appreciated and the impact she makes. We echo those sentiments! Like Ole, she, too, is a walking, talking example of those people who work quietly, but effectively, to get the right things done.

Thanks to both of you for taking what's in your hearts and applying it in the real world. We need it!