What a difference a year makes!
Last year around this time, we launched our Unsung Heroes project to recognize all the good that people were doing to help friends and neighbors through the darkest days of the pandemic. We were thrilled to hear so many stories of kindness and generosity during difficult times.
Now we’ve gathered 25 of those stories to share with the world in our new Unsung Heroes book. But this book didn’t write itself! Two of our Premium writers, Helena Drakakis and Diana Holquist, interviewed the finalists for the project and brought their stories to life.
To celebrate the book’s publication — and the hard work of these talented writers! — we wanted to learn more about the project. I interviewed Helena and Diana to find out more about their work and their feelings about their work on Unsung Heroes.
StoryTerrace’s newest publication, "Unsung Heroes."
ST: What did you enjoy most about the Unsung Heroes project?
Helena: Everybody’s story was very different, and I got to talk to some fascinating people who were trying to make a real difference in a time of crisis.
Diana: The range of people was extraordinary — homeless advocates, healthcare workers, mental health professionals, medical students, and ordinary citizens ready to do whatever they could. There was really a sense of everyone coming together that was so heartening to see. I also loved learning the backstories of all the people — where they came from, why they did what they did. It was consistently inspiring because it wasn’t about multi-millionaires or famous people.
ST: Which Unsung Heroes story stood out to you most?
Helena: Lots stood out, but one that sticks in my mind was a nurse on the frontline called Ali Harris. I found her testimony very powerful. She not only had to deal with people who were critically ill, but also navigate her own family life. It was the small moments of lightness in her story that were really special.
ST: And for you, Diana?
Diana: Roberto Rodriguez, the respiratory therapist who went viral for putting a giant picture of his smiling face over his PPE, was a great example of an ordinary guy who did an ordinary thing that had extraordinary impact. He called his small act of kindness “one little star” that combined with other stars brought “light in the dark, dark world.” That image felt like a description of what this book was about. His backstory of growing up in Section 8 housing with a single mother and putting himself through respiratory therapy school was just so powerful.
Listen to Diana read an excerpt of Roberto Rodriguez’s powerful story in Unsung Heroes:
ST: What silver linings did you find for yourself during the pandemic?
Diana: A lot of people have grown more introspective during quarantine, which has led to interesting book projects. Overall, people have more time to themselves, which leads them to try to write their stories, which leads them to me. So that’s been very gratifying. I’ve also gotten into gardening, have read even more novels than usual, and am working every day on learning German — just for fun!
Helena: I discovered so many different walks through beautiful woodland around where I live. There’s something very calming about the natural world.
ST: What do hope people take away from reading about our Unsung Heroes?
Helena: It doesn’t matter whether what you do is big or small. We are not all swashbuckling heroes saving lives, but delivering seeds to people’s doors or doing fitness classes online or cooking for children can make a real difference too.
Diana: Ordinary people can do extraordinary things. I think a lot of people felt paralyzed to help because they weren’t medical workers or they were scared to leave their homes. But these people managed to overcome their doubts and fears and do what needed to be done. They’re inspiring stories, and I hope people will be inspired. I know I was.
If Helena and Diana’s compassionate storytelling has inspired you to get to work on your own biography, get in touch to schedule a free consultation. You can also use our Writer Search Tool to find the perfect writer for your project today.
You can purchase your own copy of Unsung Heroes on Amazon.