The Community Caring Award: Celebrating Generosity With a Brand New Trophy!

Meet Craig Swogger, Trophy Central's latest Random Acts of Trophy-ness award winner.

Meet Craig Swogger, Trophy Central’s latest Random Acts of Trophy-ness award winner.

Here at Trophy Central, we’re getting close to celebrating giving away three dozen Random Acts of Trophy-ness trophies to people (and one dog, so far!) who are making the world a better place through everyday acts of kindness. With just three trophies shy of celebrating three dozen #ShowUsYour Sue awards, this month’s Random Acts of Trophy-ness winner is acupuncturist Craig Swogger.

Nominated by a previous Random Acts of Trophy-ness #ShowUsYourSue winner who is fondly known as Bagel Mom (for feeding hungry students, one bagel at a time!) Craig is the recipient of The Community Caring Award.

Trophy Central custom engraved award for acupuncturist Craig Swogger

Deborah (AKA: Bagel Mom) wrote to Trophy Central with the following thoughtful, heartfelt words:

“Dr. Craig Swogger started a non profit acupuncture place to make acupuncture affordable and donates treatments to those who cannot afford them. He is one of the kindest doctors I have ever met.

“Craig is one of the best acupuncturists in the world and he has dedicated himself to make it affordable for people who would otherwise not be able to afford it.  I can bring all my kids at an affordable price to enjoy acupuncture treatments. 

“Acupuncture can help with sleep, every day stress as well as serious illnesses.  Craig enjoys healing people and helping them return to do the things they love.  Here is a quote from him: ‘My dream is to have a branch in every neighborhood, starting with ones where there is no acupuncture, and to have one free clinic, where people sent from other nonprofits (who are presumably in financial hardship) come get treated. We will easily give away 400 to 500 treatments this year, and administer 5k or 6k low cost treatments on top of that.

“96 percent of the population cannot afford acupuncture at private practice rates and to go as many times as needed, usually over $100 per treatment, so Craig has changed this with his affordable sliding skill rates and also donated treatments too!  He is one of the kindest doctors I have ever met.  As the Bagel Mom, I am able to help donate treats and tea for his patients. I feed the hungry and Craig heals those in need. When I met Craig I said to him, ‘I feed the hungry the way you heal your patients, with kindness.’”

Congratulations to Craig on winning The Community Caring Award and a HUGE thanks to Bagel Mom for continuing to spread kindness and positivity by taking the time to nominate Craig and write out such a kind nomination.

Thank you, Bagel Mom, for your continued support of Trophy Central's Random Acts of Trophy-ness: Show Us Your Sue campaign!

Thank you, Bagel Mom, for your continued support of Trophy Central’s Random Acts of Trophy-ness: Show Us Your Sue campaign!

Here at Trophy Central, it’s important for us to acknowledge the people who go out of their way to make someone else’s day. Craig received this month’s trophy, but Bagel Mom warmed our hearts because she took it upon herself to make someone smile. We like to say that we don’t just deliver trophies — we deliver smiles. But this month, Bagel Mom delivered smiles — to Team Trophy Central and to Craig! — by going above and beyond to make someone feel special.  You practically wrote this blog for us because you cared so much about celebrating the good that Craig does!

The whole purpose of our Random Acts of Trophy-ness #ShowUsYourSue campaign — inspired by the perpetually resilient Sue Heck character on The Middle — is to show us the Sue in YOUR life, with as much fervor as Bagel Mom did. 

Sue Heck award Trophy Central

Who do YOU know who never, EVER gives up, who fearlessly follows their passions and makes the world a more sparkly and kind place in the process?

This could be the postal worker who always waves and smiles when they see you or the neighbor who brings you baked goods “just because.” It could be the teacher who emboldened you to use your voice and speak out for what’s right or the grocery clerk who always takes the time to ask about your day — and really listens.

Each day is made up of little moments, little acts of kindness, that add up to make your life what it is. Here at Trophy Central, we believe in celebrating all those little moments, all those little acts of kindness — and rewarding them with shiny trophies!

So time to get to work! Nominating, that is! Please #ShowUsYourSue by nominating the next trophy winner in the comments section below or on Twitter using our #ShowUsYourSue hashtag!  Please tell us why your nominee is making the world a kinder, more sun-shine-filled place, and we just might send them a trophy to reward their generosity!

PS: If you haven’t yet watched this awesome video of Bagel Mom’s daily journey to feed hungry students in Los Angeles, you can do so here.  It’s guaranteed to put a smile on your face and touch your heart!

It’s Show Us Your Sue Summertime, and We’ve Got a Brand New Trophy Winner to Celebrate!

It’s "Show Us Your Sue" Summertime!

It’s “Show Us Your Sue” Summertime! [Photo courtesy of ABC’s The Middle]

Happy summer, friends! Team Trophy Central hopes you’re celebrating the extra sunlight by making s’mores, enjoying picnics at the park and splashing in the waves at the beach.

We’re celebrating summer by awarding a new special someone with a brand new Random Acts of Trophy-ness trophy. This month’s trophy winner is Anna Clarke, recipient of The Take the Mic Award: Teaching Girls How to Command the Attention They Deserve. Congratulations, Anna!

Be like Sue Heck: Take the microphone!

Be like Sue Heck: Take the mic! [Photo courtesy of ABC’s The Middle]

Anna was nominated by previous Random Acts of Trophy-ness winner Erin Rhinehart, who nominated Anna with these heartfelt words:

“Anna does so much for girls through the Girls on the Run Board here in Dayton (including working with the national founder). As well as offers her help to anyone who may need it. She is literally the person who will drop everything to help someone. Most of the time she works behind the scenes, so she is often overlooked for awards and recognition (though, she never cares about that). But, I think that a little recognition can go a long way to keep people motivated and know they are appreciated. She works full time and has three children. She serves on boards, commits time to her church and kids’ school, and is ALWAYS looking for ways to impact the community in a positive way.”

Congratulations, Anna Clarke, on winning Trophy Central's Take The Mic award!

Congratulations, Anna Clarke, on winning Trophy Central’s “Take The Mic” award!

First off, thank you SO MUCH, Erin, for helping to spread the joy and positivity forward by nominating Anna!

Second, your words epitomize the very reason we started our Random Acts of Trophy-ness “Show Us Your Sue” campaign. We were inspired by the perpetually optimistic (though almost always overlooked) Sue Heck character on ABC’s The Middle.

Sue Heck award Trophy Central

We think Sue Heck is amazing, inspiring and trophy-worthy because she never, EVER gives up. No matter how many times she tries out for something and doesn’t get it, no matter how many times she’s rejected, she doesn’t lose her confidence or stop believing in herself.

Sue Heck’s positivity in the face of defeat, as well as her persistence to make things happen for herself (if she isn’t accepted into a club, she’ll make her own darn club!) are qualities to be celebrated. We realize the Sue Hecks of the world aren’t always recognized in traditional trophy-giving spheres, but here at Trophy Central, we like to reward underdogs, dreamers and everyday heroes who inspire. Because they are the ones who truly make the world a better place.

Anna Clarke Trophy Central award winner

Thank you, Anna, for encouraging girls to command the attention they deserve.

Team Trophy Central admires the work Anna is doing to empower girls through Girls on the Run, a self-described “non-profit organization dedicated to creating a world where every girl knows and activates her limitless potential and is free to boldly pursue her dreams.”

Anna says “I am honored to be a part of GOTR because I am passionate about building confidence in future women leaders. What an amazing opportunity to champion the vision of ‘making the seemingly impossible, possible and teaching girls that they CAN.”

Girls on the Run Girl Power quote

Trophy Central supports the mission of Girls on the Run — and we think Sue Heck would, too!

Team Trophy Central is further inspired by the work Anna is doing to inspire women to speak up and own their power. In an article she wrote about lessons she learned from Michelle Obama, Anna writes: “When you find yourself in a situation where you are being challenged, ask yourself the question, ‘Why wouldn’t I defend myself or speak up?’ As females, we find ourselves holding back and formulating the perfect thing to say vs. speaking what’s on our minds like many of our male counterparts. I have to admit this hit home hard. I am guilty of sitting in meetings with clients and holding back until I have formed what I want to say perfectly in my mind. Unfortunately, sometimes it’s too late. By the time I actually get my ‘perfect’ comment together, the opportunity to contribute to the conversation has passed.”

Thank you so much, Anna, for being such a phenomenal mentor and role model for girls of all ages, for inspiring them to take the mic and command the attention they deserve.

If that isn’t trophy-worthy, we don’t know what is!

Congratulations again on your trophy win, Anna, and thank you again, Erin, for the terrific nomination!

The Heck family sure knows how to have summertime fun! Team Trophy Central wishes everyone a "Heck" of a good summer!

The Heck family sure knows how to have summertime fun! Team Trophy Central wishes everyone a “Heck” of a good summer! [Photo courtesy of ABC’s The Middle]

Team Trophy Central hopes everyone continues to have a fun and happy summer! Is anyone doing anything particularly exciting? We’d love to hear about it! Also, in between s’more making and other summertime activities, please think of who deserves a trophy for being him or herself! Once you’ve picked your nominee, please nominate them in the comment section below or on Twitter or Facebook using the hashtag #ShowUsYourSue! Don’t forget to tell us what makes them trophy-worthy! Thank you to everyone who is helping us deliver so many smiles through our Random Acts of Trophy-ness “Show Us Your Sue” campaign!

Keeping Sue Heck Close To Our Hearts, and Rewarding Fierce Leadership with a Shiny New Trophy!

Team Trophy Central hasn’t yet been able to bring ourselves to watch the series finale of The Middle, the ABC comedy that instigated our entire Random Acts of Trophy-ness “Show Us Your Sue” campaign to reward everyday heroes.

Sue Heck award Trophy Central

It was Sue Heck, the plucky, always-optimistic go-getter who inspired us to ask everyone to #ShowUsYourSue.

What does it mean to “Show Us Your Sue”?

It means to show us the person (or in this particular case, dog!) who makes the world a better place by being herself.

Sue Heck became our namesake to reward underdogs, dreamers and everyday heroes who inspire because Sue Heck never, EVER gives up.

Life repeatedly hands her rejection, yet her positive, determined, persistent spirit always soars.

Sue Heck is not the kind of person normally recognized in traditional trophy-giving spheres. Though she tries out for everything, she’s not the best athlete, singer or actor.

But at Trophy Central, we believe the Sue Hecks of the world deserve trophies for being themselves, for inspiring us with their resilience, cheerfulness, kindness and unique good-ness.

Trophy Central Random Acts of Trophy-ness Show Us Your Sue award winners

At Trophy Central, we are proud to recognize those who make the world a better place, simply by being themselves.

This month’s Random Acts of Trophy-ness winner, attorney Erin Rhinehart, is being recognized for her fierce leadership skills and her dedication to helping women advance professionally by becoming better negotiators.

Erin Rhinehart attorney

Meet attorney Erin Rhinehart, Trophy Central’s latest Random Acts of Trophy-ness “Show Us Your Sue” winner!

Erin Rhinehart was nominated by one of the first ever Random Acts of Trophy-ness “Show Us Your Sue” winners, Chloe Pink (who won one of our shiny trophies for Best Girl Power Advocate) who had this to say:

Erin is a woman who can do it all. She is a partner in a law firm. She is a leader in the Dayton Ohio business community and speaks to women on how to negotiate for themselves. She’s a wife, runner, cyclist and mother of two. She is on Chloe Pink’s advisory team and helps me spread the word to girls to believe in themselves and follow their dreams.”

Congratulations, Erin, on winning the Fierce Leadership Award!

Erin Rhinehart Trophy Central custom engraved award

Congratulations, Erin Rhinehart, on winning Trophy Central’s Fierce Leadership Award! We hope you display your custom engraved award with pride.

Team Trophy Central believes the work Erin Rhinehart is doing to help women negotiate the salaries they deserve is very important work. In 2018, the gender wage gap still exists. Women overall make only $0.80 on the dollar compared to men, and the wage gap is even larger for women of color. Black women earn a mere 62.5% of the paychecks men receive and hispanic women only receive 54.4% of what men make.

Erin Rhinehart is on a mission to change that:

“A few years ago I put together a presentation to help women become better negotiators. I think it is a vital skill to help advance anyone — personally and professionally. Women simply don’t ask; and, when they do ask, it’s for much less than their male counterparts. Over the past four years, I have worked with hundreds of women (and some men!) to help them redefine negotiation, refine their skills, and encourage them to ask for more, more often. Frankly, I probably learn more than they do every time I present! It’s something I’m very proud of.”

As you should be, Erin!!

Team Trophy Central will eventually gather up the emotional courage to watch the season finale of The Middle, but until then, we’ll keep watching reruns. The end of the series will not be the end of our campaign. Sue Heck will live on in syndication and in our hearts.

But it’s up to YOU to keep our Random Acts of Trophy-ness #ShowUsYourSue campaign alive! Do you know someone special who brightens your day, inspires you with their strength or who makes the world a better place simply by being in it? Then please #ShowUsYourSue! Nominate the next Random Acts of Trophy-ness winner in the comments section below or on Twitter using our #ShowUsYourSue hashtag! We aim to deliver trophies AND smiles, and can’t wait to reward the next everyday hero in your life!

A Surprise Show Us Your Sue Trophy: The Generous Spirit Award

AnnaLisa Scott

Meet AnnaLisa Scott, winner of Trophy Central’s “Generous Spirit Award”.

This month, we surprised the latest Random Acts of Trophy-ness “Show Us Your Sue” winner by sending her a special shiny trophy with her name on it. She had no idea it was on its way, and it made her day.

The winner is AnnaLisa Scott, creator of The Worry Games blog, which was named one of the Top 10 Anxiety Blogs by Healthline.

AnnaLisa has been a longtime supporter of our ‘Show Us Your Sue” campaign, inspired by the Sue Heck character from The Middle and designed to reward everyday heroes who make the world a better place.

Sue Heck award Trophy Central

She wrote to us a little over a year ago to nominate her daughter, Ily Scott, for our “Show Us Your Sue” trophy, saying “Ily brightens up the day of everyone around her because of her positive energy, silliness and encouraging attitude.”

ily-scott-sweetsie-sue-with-her-trophy-central-random-acts-of-trophy-ness-award

Like mother, like daughter! AnnaLisa Scott’s daughter, Ily Scott, smiling ear-to-ear with her Random Acts of Trophy-ness award.

AnnaLisa told Team Trophy Central that Ily’s nickname is even “Sweetsie Sue” because she, like Sue Heck, is able to make lemonade out of the sourest of lemons.

trophy-central-thank-you-note-from-young-award-winner

Team Trophy Central adores this colorful thank-you note from Ily Scott!

Rewarding Generosity

AnnaLisa Scott is also the person who so kindly nominated last month’s Random Acts of Trophy-ness “Show Us Your Sue” winner, Helena Tubridy.

AnnaLisa’s effusive praise of Helena’s kindness made Team Trophy Central instantly decide to send Helena a trophy.

Then we encountered a problem: Helena lived in Ireland, and because of a mishap delivering a trophy to the UK back in November, we had decided to limit our Random Acts of Trophy-ness “Show Us Your Sue” campaign to residents of the US only. Why? Because a trophy we’d sent to a very deserving children’s book author had been held hostage at customs and we felt HORRIBLE that we were powerless to get it to her. We felt so guilty that we had promised her a trophy, sent her a trophy, and then gave her a whole bunch of stress!

We didn’t want to give Helena this same stress, but we felt guilty all over again that, in our excitement to reward her generosity, we didn’t even look to see that she was out of the country!

That’s when AnnaLisa stepped in and volunteered to ship Helena the trophy herself! She said that if we shipped Helena’s trophy to her address, she would then send it on to Ireland!

Needless to say, AnnaLisa’s extraordinarily kind gesture warmed our hearts. We immediately knew we had to surprise her with a trophy of her own for her good deed! We aptly named it “The Generous Spirit Award”.

The Generous Spirit Award - Trophy Central

Congratulations on winning “The Generous Spirit Award,” AnnaLisa!

Paying Optimism and Kindness Forward

When Team Trophy Central told Helena of our idea to surprise AnnaLisa with a trophy, she had this to say:

AnnaLisa does indeed deserve a trophy. I’m very lucky to have ‘met’ her. Very special person, and I wish I could write as beautifully as she does to describe her. Warmth, kindness, authenticity, humor, wisdom, care, empathy. Superb blogs. Marvelous ambassador for US women on Twitter.”

We couldn’t agree more. Congratulations, AnnaLisa, on your much-deserved trophy! We know you say you’re the opposite of your daughter, Ily “Sweetsie Sue” — that you’re a pessimist and she’s an optimistic ray of sunshine — but you both bring so much love and kindness into this world.

Tweet from AnnaLisa Scott, Trophy Central's Random Acts of Trophy-ness award winner

Nothing makes Team Trophy Central happier than delivering smiles to people who make the world a better place simply by being themselves.

Team Trophy Central is reminded of this quote from The Middle, spoken in voiceover by Frankie Heck, Sue’s mom, after the family forgot Sue’s leap-year birthday and woke her up the next day at four in the morning to create a makeshift birthday celebration, which Sue LOVED:

“As I looked at her blowing out the bathroom candle on her patchwork carwash cake, I felt like sometimes I didn’t deserve her. The good thing about having somebody that optimistic in the family is that her optimism rubs off on all of us”.

Sue Heck Birthday Patchwork Cake The Middle

Trophy Central’s wish is that our feel-good Random Acts of Trophy-ness #ShowUsYourSue campaign inspires others to spread kindness and optimism everywhere they go, just like our muse, Sue Heck.

Team Trophy Central believes that kindness rubs off on others too. We thank AnnaLisa and her daughter Ily for their kindness because we know it inspires others to pay the kindness forward, making the world a better place.

Now it’s YOUR turn to pay the kindness forward! Nominate our next Random Acts of Trophy-ness “Show Us Your Sue” winner here in the comments section. Don’t forget to tell us WHY your nominee deserves a trophy! You can also nominate someone who is making the world a better place by being themselves on Twitter. Tweet us @TrophyCentral using our hashtag — #ShowUsYourSue!

It’s the Little Things: Rewarding Small Acts of Kindness and Sending Out Trophies!

Positivity street art mural

You never know how much a small kind gesture will change someone’s day. Team Trophy Central believes it’s the small kind gestures that add up to make the world a better place.

We love nothing more than celebrating everyday good deeds and encouraging everyone we know to take the time to make someone’s day better. This month’s Random Acts of Trophy-ness “Show Us Your Sue” winner does exactly that, and we couldn’t be more excited to reward her kindness with a shiny trophy!

AnnaLisa Scott

Thank you, AnnaLisa Scott, for your heartfelt nomination of our latest Random Acts of Trophy-ness “Show Us Your Sue” award winner!

AnnaLisa Scott, creator of The Worry Games blog, named one of the Top 10 Anxiety Blogs by Healthline (and mom to Ily “Sweetsie Sue” Scott, our youngest #ShowUsYourSue trophy winner to date!) wrote to us to nominate fertility coach Helena Tubridy with these heartfelt words:

“I would like to nominate Helena for the Random Acts of Trophy-ness award. Helena is everything that is positive and wonderful about social media. She uses her Twitter account not only as a career tool to help families achieve their dream of becoming parents, but to spread kindness and love.

“Helena is one of the first people I ‘met’ on Twitter. After tweeting back and forth with her a few times, I was struck by not only how smart and well educated she is, but how ‘human’ and positive she seemed.

“There is so much negativity on social media and I found her to be so refreshing. She reached out to me as a somewhat new Twitter user and made me feel welcome here, interacting with my tweets and asking about me and the work I do and she continues to do so. It’s nice to know somebody is thinking about you!

“Sometimes a month will go by without my hearing from her and then out of the blue, on what can be a somewhat stressful day for me, Helena will send me a tweet asking how I am doing and my day is a little bit brighter.

“Obviously she or I or any Twitter user can’t take every person/follower under our wing but if we all reached out to just a few people and kept a connection with them going, imagine what a better place social media could be, and imagine what a difference we could make in people’s ‘real’ lives.

“I have never met Helena in the real world. She is an ocean away from me. But she has brought real rays of light into my life and it would be great if we could all give a little bit of that to other people here in this new internet world we all share.”

How could we not send Helena a Random Acts of Trophy-ness award after such reading AnnaLisa’s beautiful words?!

Helena Tubridy

Congratulations, Helena! Welcome to the Trophy Central #ShowUsYourSue family!

Congratulations, Helena, on winning The Ray of Light Award! Thank you for regularly gifting AnnaLisa with positivity and kindness on social media. And thank you AnnaLisa for the reminder that one person truly can make a difference — and a ripple effect of good. As you so eloquently said, if everyone picks just one person to regularly reach out to with kindness, be it on social media or IRL, that’s a whole lot of kindness! If everyone pays the kindness forward, there will be a whole lot of smiles and a whole lot of hearts warmed.

Helena Tubridy - Ray of Light Award - Trophy Central

Team Trophy Central is proud to honor Helena Tubridy with “The Ray of Light Award!”

Team Trophy Central encourages you to reach out with love and kindness to one friend as soon as you finish reading this blog. We are certain you will make your friend smile and maybe even make their whole day! And if your friend pays that kindness forward, then the world will be a kinder, happier place.

Before you rush off to check in with your friend and send them positive vibes, please take a moment to nominate our next Random Acts of Trophy-ness #ShowUsYourSue winner! Nominating a do-gooder for a feel-good trophy is another way to brighten someone’s day! At Trophy Central, we don’t just sell trophies—we deliver smiles. Our Random Acts of Trophy-ness #ShowUsYourSue campaign honors underdogs, dreamers and everyday heroes who inspire. Pssst! Wondering the origin of #ShowUsYourSue? It was inspired by Sue Heck from The Middle, who is always positive, always optimistic and who never, ever gives up! She’s not the kind of person likely to win a trophy for “traditional” reasons (i.e.: being the best gymnast or winning a debate) but she’s EXACTLY the kind of person we want to give trophies to because she makes the world a better place by being herself! So please #ShowUsYourSue by nominating a trophy-worthy person in the comments section below or on Twitter. Then go text your friend and ask how their day is going! You will surely brighten their day!

New Trophy, New Smiles: Celebrating and Rewarding Everyday Acts of Kindness

Trophy Central Sue Heck Superhero Award -- Celebrating Inspiring People and Stories -- trophycentral.com

Acts of kindness go a long way. We’re lucky if an act of kindness makes us smile, luckier still if an act of kindness is life changing.

Where would we be, for instance, if that one person hadn’t invited us to sit with them for lunch in middle school? Or if that soon-to-be best friend hadn’t offered us a tissue (and a shoulder to cry on) during our first night away from home while at camp — or college?

Our Random Acts of Trophy-ness campaign to deliver smiles — and trophies! — to everyday heroes who inspire was created to pay it forward to people whose everyday acts of kindness make lives better.

Inspired by our personal hero, Sue Heck from ABC’s The Middle, we are determined to reward the Sue Hecks of the world; those special people who make your day better just by smiling at you and sprinkling some of their positivity in your direction.

Heck family - The Middle

At Trophy Central, we can always count on the entire Heck family to brighten our day.

Sue Heck makes our days better because she is perpetually positive, optimistic and she never, EVER gives up!

Sure she’s matured into a confident college student who is no longer hesitant to assert herself (which we applaud her for!) but her inherent Sue-ness (that sparkly passion for life and drive to keep going no matter what!) is always present and always will be.

the-middles-sue-heck-in-college

Team Trophy Central is inspired by Sue Heck’s inherent Sue-ness. Who inspires YOU?

We asked our social media following to #ShowUsYourSue — as we do every month — and a former “Show Us Your Sue” winner, voice actor and elementary school teacher, Jill Cofsky, came through big time!

Custom Engraved Award for Trophy Central's Show Us Your Sue winner Jill Cofsky for Teaching Excellence

Thank you, Jill, for your heartfelt nomination and continued support of our Random Acts of Trophy-ness “Show Us Your Sue” campaign.

Kindness Changes the World

In true #ShowUsYourSue fashion, Jill took the time to write a thoughtful, heartfelt nomination. She nominated professional photographer Ed Diaz for our Random Acts of Trophy-ness “Show Us Your Sue” award with these effusive words:

“When I began my voice acting career, Ed believed in me and offered me my very first voiceover project narrating a promotional video for his studio. He’s also the one who insisted on taking my professional headshots for me and has always gone out of his way to take the time to sit and chat with me, offering me helpful business advice.

“Ed always greets his clients with a hug, is sure to bring the ‘fun factor’ into his photo sessions with lots of laughter, and makes each one of his clients feel like an old friend.

I would love to nominate Ed for a Random Acts of Trophy-ness Award for being such a generous, kind-hearted soul who always makes people smile and then creatively captures those special memories to last a lifetime.

“I feel that he deserves to be honored for his awesomeness!”

Trophy Central custom engraved award for Ed Diaz photography

The Smile-Maker Award: Inspiring Joy & Capturing Special Moments to Last a Lifetime

Team Trophy Central couldn’t agree more! That’s why we sent him a shiny #ShowUsYourSue trophy engraved with these words: The Smile-Maker Award: Inspiring Joy and Capturing Special Memories to Last a Lifetime.

Ed Diaz photographer - Diaz Digital Discoveries

Congratulations, Ed! Team Trophy Central is happy to welcome you to the Random Acts of Trophy-ness “Show Us Your Sue” family!

Congratulations, Ed! We hope you’ll continue to change lives with your kindness and hope that every time you look at your trophy, you’ll smile and know that kindness truly does change the world.

Trophy Central Random Acts of Trophy-ness Show Us Your Sue award winners

We want to deliver more trophies — and smiles! Please “Show Us Your Sue” by nominating a special someone to be our next winner!

Now it’s your turn to Show Us Your Sue! Please nominate our next Random Acts of Trophy-ness winner here in the comments section or by tagging us on Twitter with the hashtag #ShowUsYourSue. Don’t forget to tell us WHY your nominee is trophy-worthy! We aim to reward acts of kindness and hope that others will be inspired by our campaign to pay it forward and reward kindness in their own lives, either by sending someone who made your day a handmade card or calling them up on the phone (how retro!) to tell them how special they are! Let’s keep spreading kindness and sprinkling the world with positivity and love!

A Three-Legged Cat and Humans with Outstretched Arms: Trophy Central Celebrates a Community of Kindness

A Tabby Named Tripod

If a cat qualified for our Random Acts of Trophy-ness award, a tabby named Tripod would win one large enough to be used as a ceiling-high scratching post but so grand she – probably – wouldn’t take a single claw to it.

In true #ShowUsYourSue fashion, Tripod held out for six years to claim the home SHE wanted. Just like Sue Heck, fictional TV character for whom Trophy Central’s award campaign is named, Tripod didn’t let any obstacle get in the way of pursuing her dream.

A City of Human Angels

And she inspired a community of Los Angeles area residents — and a network that reached to Australia – to become kinder, better people who epitomize the spirit of goodness that we at Trophy Central commemorate each month.

We are pleased to acknowledge those who helped Tripod stay safe and loved during her fiercely independent journey to a “forever home.” And to honor one woman in particular, Jess Soares, who followed her heart to selflessly take Tripod in – and give her away.

Jess Soares, TrophyCentral Winner!

Meet Jess Soares, a true animal lover and Trophy Central’s latest Random Acts of Trophy-ness award winner!

A Neighborhood of Hope

Tripod, like the Sue Heck character on ABC’s The Middle, was born into a life more easily defined by obstacles than open doors. Tripod lost most of a rear back leg in an accident at birth. She was nursed to health by the first of many kind humans she encountered over the years and spent her first couple of years living in a garage and yard outside a Burbank, CA home.

Outside, she had the company of her mother and sister cats – all of whom became pregnant shortly before the humans who cared for Tripod decided to move – without Tripod or her kittens.

Tripod kittens

Tripod, a semi-stray at the time, gave birth to a liter of kittens when she was really just a baby herself.

That’s when Jess stepped in. She scooped up cats and kittens, paid for medical treatment – including spaying – and helped the would-be strays find families. She brought Tripod and two of her kittens into her home, where she thought all would adapt to an indoor life.

Kittens

Jess Soares adopted two of Tripod’s kittens. She took the others to her local shelter, calling every day to check on their status. All of them were adopted.

Jess Soares kitten

Jess Soares sweetly cuddling one of Tripod’s kittens during a vet visit.

Tripod had other ideas. She INSISTED on living outdoors, which she did for the next four years. Jess provided food, a heated outdoor bed and collars that Tripod refused to wear.

A Community of Kindness

And that’s how Tripod created a community of kindness in her neighborhood. Passersby saw the three-legged, seemingly homeless cat and stopped to pet her. Patrons of a local bar and grill would call to her, some ALMOST missing happy hour to say hello. A few scooped her up and took her home, believing they were rescuing a stray.

Cat sign

This sign was placed in Jess’ garden in the hope of deterring strangers from scooping up Tripod, falsely thinking she was a stray.

But, within a day or two, Tripod would find her way back to her neighborhood. Jess would buy her a new collar and try to keep her inside. Tripod refused. Sometimes, during a storm, she took refuge with someone who kept a bed and food inside a hole in his house’s exterior. Sometimes, she paid a middle-of-the-night visit to another home, climbing through an often-open back door and helping herself to some Fancy Feast while the humans, cats and dogs slept.

Tripod Goes MISSING!

Tripod’s independent lifestyle suited her – and charmed hundreds of children and adults over the half dozen years. Until last December, when her usual disappearance of one or two days stretched to more than a week. And Jess was in Australia for the holidays, feeling helpless to do much more than check her surveillance cameras and pray for a Tripod sighting.

This is where Tripod’s community stepped up and how Tripod came to realize her dream.

Tripod missing poster

Go Team Tripod! Trophy Central would like to thank everyone who helped Tripod find her forever family.

Lila Hoeschler, a girl who counted on visiting Tripod daily, beseeched her mom to find her missing pal. To ease her daughter’s anguish, Suzy Hoeschler launched the rescue effort, putting up flyers, posting ads on Craigslist and notifying neighbors.

The neighbors included freelance writer Brijana Prooker, who remembered how Cindi Leive, Glamour’s former editor-in-chief, had found her lost cat through a vast social media network. She combed Cindi’s feed for rescue organizations. Her sister, Kelsey, a graphic artist, created compelling images of Tripod and the pair spent several days and sleepless nights posting Tripod’s profile online.

Tripod is Found!

Tripod at home

Princess Tripod lounging on a fluffy down comforter on a bed in her forever home.

Happy Tripod

Tripod enjoying a good neck scratching!

The neighbor’s efforts – and Tripod’s friendliness – paid off. People from miles away wrote to say they knew her and pledged to look for her. Eventually, word reached a man who had scooped up Tripod before Christmas. After spending more than a week with Tripod, he thought he’d given Tripod a home. He agreed to return her but didn’t want to leave her on the street.

Jess was still in Australia. She asked Kelsey if she could keep Tripod indoors for a few days and pledged to all of Tripod’s rescuers that she would buy Tripod a new collar and tracking device so that Tripod would never get lost again.

The man, with a sad face and arms laden with food, new toys and an unused scratching post, brought Tripod home the next day. The task of keeping Tripod indoors seemed insurmountable given the cat’s history – and given that she’d be sharing space with three dogs, one cat and three humans.

Tripod made no attempt to leave the house before Jess returned home four days later. Or for the next week. Or the week after that. Jess started bringing over supplies – two collars, the tracking device, a month’s supply of food, a toy. When she learned that Tripod, the fiercely independent outdoor cat, had become an indoor lap cat, she declared what Tripod already knew: She had found the home she had wanted for six years.

Tripod forever home

Tripod spends all day curled up on her new mom’s lap. Tripod loves that her mom is a writer who works from bed!

And the Random Acts of Trophy-ness Award Goes to…

It takes a special kind of caring to rescue stray animals. And a rare spirit of generosity to put the happiness of an animal above your own.

A lot of people made it possible for Tripod to find her forever – indoor – home. And Trophy Central thanks all of them, most of whose names we don’t know and never will. But it was Jess who rescued Tripod four years ago and Jess who beamed with happiness when she knew that Tripod had adopted the family she wanted.

Trophy Central award winner Jess Soares

Jess, you have a heart of gold. Thank you, first for rescuing Tripod and second for letting her go. Her new family is eternally grateful for your kindness, love and compassion.

So we are pleased to award Jess our latest trophy: The Magnanimous Spirit Award: Building a Community, One Heart, One Three-Legged Cat at a Time.

Jess Soares Show Us Your Sue award winner

Congratulations, Jess Soares, on winning Trophy Central’s Random Acts of Trophy-ness “Magnanimous Spirit Award.”

Show Us Your Sue

The success of Trophy Central’s Random Acts of Trophy-ness campaign depends on you. Tell us about the people who inspire you, who make your world a better place, who make you a better person.

We want to keep sending trophies. So please keep sending your nominations. Use the comments section below or reach out to us on Twitter or Facebook. Don’t forget to use the hashtag, #ShowUsYourSue!

Awarding the Community Spirit: New Random Acts of Trophy-ness Winner Announced!

The Middle - Heck family

Frankie Heck — seen here with her daughter Sue, sons Axl and Brick, and husband Mike — lives by one rule: You do for family. [Photo courtesy of ABC’s The Middle]

Frankie Heck, the matriarch in ABC’s sitcom The Middle, always says “You do for family.”

You show up, you cheer each other on, you stand by each other through good and bad.

Team Trophy Central was reminded of Frankie’s passion to “do for family” when past Random Acts of Trophy-ness #ShowUsYourSue winner June Sayali, founder of JuneBee Baby, wrote to us to nominate visual artist and photographer Sondra Rymer with these words:

“She is always kind, compassionate and supportive of other small shops. She relates to each and every one of us individually and reaches out with positive vibes on an ongoing basis. I admire her positive energy and sweet friendship that touch all of us in this small community.”

Heck family - The Middle

Sue Heck may have inspired Trophy Central’s #ShowUsYourSue campaign, but we love the entire Heck family! [Photo courtesy of ABC’s The Middle]

When a social media community feels like family, hearts are warmed and spirits soar.

June says Sondra brings “happy sunshine” to her social media family. Which is why we sent her a #ShowUsYourSue trophy engraved with these words: “The Sunshine Community Award: Shining Positive Light and Enriching Lives.”

Redefining Trophy-Worthy

Sue Heck award Trophy Central

For anyone new to the Trophy Central blog (a big, warm welcome to you!!) our Random Acts of Trophy-ness “Show Us Your Sue” award is inspired by Sue Heck, the always positive, always persistent daughter of Frankie Heck.

The Middle Sue Heck and Frankie Heck

Frankie Heck is always there to cheer on her daughter Sue. Team Trophy Central thinks that’s a major contributing factor to Sue’s indefatigable spirit. [Photo courtesy of ABC’s The Middle]

Sue Heck from The Middle inspired our campaign to deliver smiles — and trophies! — to people who make the world a better place by being themselves. Sue Heck spent her high school career trying out for anything and everything, almost always failing to make the cut, but never losing her confidence or sparkle.

In college, Sue founded a “no cuts” a cappella group because she wanted to create a community of like-minded people who love to sing even if they’re not the most talented singers. It’s that inclusion-oriented spirit and go get ’em attitude that makes Sue a star in Trophy Central’s eyes. So what if she never wins a trophy for singing? She deserves a million trophies for being herself, for her positive spirit that never fades, no matter how many times she hears the word no.

Congratulations, Sonya on your trophy win! We hope that, like Sue, you’ll keep spreading sunshine wherever you go and making your social media family smile.

Trophy Central Random Acts of Trophy-ness award Sondra Rymer

Congratulations, Sondra Rymer! Welcome to the #ShowUsYourSue family!

Let’s keep this party going! Our Random Acts of Trophy-ness “Show Us Your Sue” campaign to reward underdogs, dreamers and everyday heroes who inspire is only as good as the nominations we receive. Please #ShowUsYourSue by nominating a trophy-worthy person who makes the world a better place by being themselves! Nominate your pick to win our next shiny trophy by leaving a comment here on the blog or by tagging us on Twitter or Facebook using the hashtag #ShowUsYourSue. Don’t forget to tell us WHY your nominee deserves a trophy and how they are making a difference in this world. We thank OUR social media community, the #ShowUsYourSue family, for keeping this feel-good campaign going.

Celebrating Kindness and Awarding Good Deeds: A New Random Acts of Trophy-ness Winner Announced!

Meet Trophy Central's newest award winner, April Lynn! Congrats, April, on winning "The Uplifting Spirit Award."

Meet Trophy Central’s newest Random Acts of Trophyness: Show Us Your Sue award winner! Congrats, April Lynn, on winning “The Uplifting Spirit Award.”

Everyone can always use some kindness. A smile, a nice word, reassurance, support — all these things can make someone’s day, week, month, year — or even life. As Emily Dickinson so beautifully said, “Forever — is composed of Nows.” Add kindness to every now, and you’ve got yourself a pretty wonderful life.

Team Trophy Central was in need of a little kindness and positivity last month. As you may have read, the trophy we sent to Random Acts of Trophy-ness “Show Us Your Sue” winner Karen Emma Hall got held up at customs in the UK, and we were feeling pretty glum about it. We wanted to send her joy and smiles along with her shiny trophy — not stress and headaches! We shared this sentiment with Kristy Jo Volchko, the talented children’s book author who nominated Karen, and she made everything better!

Kristy, previous Random Acts of Trophy-ness “Show Us Your Sue” winner for “Outstanding Philanthropic Spirit,” said:

“That’s crazy about customs! I’m so sorry it’s held up like that, she must be so bummed. When she finally holds her golden gift of kindness in her hands she might cry and hop up and down like I did. It STILL sits on my mantel and once a week I sparkle it up with a dishcloth and tell it hello. (I’m totally serious.)

You really do spread joy to the hearts of so many in so many ways, and if you only knew how much that trophy means to me… It’s not the same kind of trophy you get from playing softball when you’re young or anything like that…this is different. I hope she gets as much pleasure from it as I have. Thank you for being YOU.”

Random Acts of Trophy-ness: Show Us Your Sue award winner Kristy Jo Volchko never fails to lift the spirits of team Trophy Central!

Random Acts of Trophy-ness: Show Us Your Sue award winner Kristy Jo Volchko never fails to lift the spirits of team Trophy Central!

Kindness and Positivity are Contagious

And suddenly, Team Trophy Central was jubilant! Kristy managed not only to cheer us up and alleviate our guilt over Karen’s package being held hostage, but also to so eloquently make us feel our mission has succeeded.

When Team Trophy Central started our Random Acts of Trophy-ness “Show Us Your Sue” campaign to deliver smiles — and trophies! — to underdogs, dreamers and everyday heroes who inspire, we wanted everyone who wins one of our trophies to feel as special as Kristy! Sue Heck, the fictional character from The Middle that we named our trophy campaign after, is not the type of person who wins trophies in traditional trophy categories. She’s not the best athlete, she’s not a gifted actor or singer, but she is trophy-worthy in our eyes because she’s the kind of person who never gives up. She makes her own dreams come true by being persistent, creative, ambitious and perpetually optimistic. And she inspires others to follow their dreams as well because her positivity is contagious.

Plus, can’t you just see Sue Heck polishing her trophy every week to keep it extra shiny, and saying hello to her trophy as she shines it, just like Kristy?! That is SO #ShowUsYourSue! Getting Kristy’s note was just the boost of optimism we needed!

It propelled us forward to send a new trophy to the latest Random Acts of Trophy-ness “Show Us Your Sue” winner, April Lynn.

Congratulations to Trophy Winner April Lynn!

Engraved on April’s trophy are these words: “The Uplifting Spirit Award: Making Days Brighter with Support and Kindness.”

More kindness in the world! What could be better?!

April Lynn received two nominations to win a “Show Us Your Sue” trophy from two past “Show Us Your Sue” trophy winners — Kristen Lamb and Brijana Prooker.

Kristen Lamb, author of the Dani P. Mystery series for children and “Show Us Your Sue” trophy winner for “Excellence in Inspiring Kids to Read and Write.” nominated April on Twitter using our #ShowUsYourSue hashtag, saying: “Her positive attitude definitely embodies the #ShowUsYourSue spirit.”

Thank you for your nomination, Kristen Lamb!

Thank you for your nomination, Kristen Lamb!

Brijana Prooker, an award-winning writer and filmmaker, and “Show Us Your Sue” trophy winner for “Excellence in Bravery, Determination, Creativity, Kindness & Pit Bull Advocacy” (which she shares with her mom and sister who, along with Brijana, make up the KOTAW Girl Gang) nominated April by saying: “I nominate her for being very supportive and kind. She went out of her way to share my new LinkedIn page with her followers across social media to connect me with good people.” Brijana then used the hashtag #trophyworthy along with our very own hashtag, #ShowUsYourSue.

Thank you, Brijana Prooker, for your nomination. You're KOTAWesome!

Thank you, Brijana Prooker, for your nomination. You’re KOTAWesome!

Rewarding Good Deeds and Paying it Forward with Kindness

Upon winning her Random Acts of Trophy-ness “Show US Your Sue” award, April said that it’s “seriously one of the greatest and most inspiring awards I’ve ever received. It was an amazing, happy reception on arrival!! I proudly display it so when I wake, I can see it as a great reminder!!!”

April also said: “My heart is recharged by those like you who remind us all how worthwhile good deeds and compassion truly are.”

You are very welcome, April, and our hearts are recharged by your good deeds and compassion as well! As Team Trophy Central said at the beginning of this blog, everyone can always use some kindness. You never know what someone is going through — if they’re having a bad day or feeling blue — and sometimes an act of kindness really can turn everything around, if even for a happy moment. Here’s to a happy forever, composed of many, many kind nows!

Now it’s YOUR turn to spread some kindness, Trophy Central readers! Help us with our mission to deliver smiles — and trophies! — to award-worthy recipients by nominating our next Random Acts of Trophy-ness “Show Us Your Sue” winner either in the comments section below or on Twitter using our hashtag #ShowUsYourSue! Please tell us WHY your nominee is trophy-worthy. Thank you so much for helping us reward good deeds and kindness!