Our Words for Warriors Award: Spreading Love One Letter at a Time

Meet Carolyn Blashek, founder of Operation Gratitude and winner of Trophy Central's Words for Warriors Award.

Meet Carolyn Blashek, founder of Operation Gratitude and winner of Trophy Central’s Words for Warriors Award.

When Team Trophy Central read about Operation Gratitude, an organization dedicated to sending handwritten letters and personally addressed care packages to military members, first responders and their families, our hearts were immediately warmed.  When we clicked on over to their website and saw a singular word listed under their company’s goal — smiles — we knew we were kindred spirits.

Trophy Central’s mission has always been, above all, to deliver smiles.  When we engrave our trophies with special words highlighting individual accomplishments, we can’t help but smile ourselves because we always envision the smile we hope our trophies will elicit.  The smile from the dad who receives his “Best Dad” trophy or the smile from the elementary school student awarded a surprise certificate for her advanced reading skills.

Fifteen Years of G-R-A-T-I-T-U-D-E

Then there are the smiles we deliver when we send out our monthly Random Acts of Trophy-ness “Show Us Your Sue” award, designed specifically to reward everyday acts of kindness.  This month’s Random Acts of Trophy-ness winner is Carolyn Blashek, founder of Operation Gratitude.  We are awarding her our Words for Warriors Award for spreading love one letter at a time.

Congratulations, Carolyn! Thank you for spreading love one letter at a time.

Congratulations, Carolyn! Thank you for spreading love one letter at a time.

Operation Gratitude began in Carolyn’s living room in 2003, but has transformed into a bustling operation of collection drives, letter writing campaigns and care package assembly events resulting in over two million care packages assembled and shipped.

Eight Million Trophy-Worthy S-M-I-L-E-S

What Team Trophy Central was particularly moved by is the fact that the handwritten letters are the most popular item sent to Americans who serve our nation.  We have always believed there is something magical about receiving a handwritten letter in the mail, and that handwritten letters are too few and far between.  The New York Times recently wrote a love letter to the handwritten note, highlighting how receiving a hand-addressed letter is scientifically proven to elicit the feeling of being loved.  Operation Gratitude has sent eight million handwritten letters, which means Operation Gratitude is responsible for eight million people feeling loved.  We think that’s remarkable — and ever-so trophy-worthy.

Look at that smile! | Photo courtesy of Operation Gratitude

Look at that smile! | Photo courtesy of Operation Gratitude

One Unabashed Trophy-Inspiring P-A-T-R-I-O-T

Sue Heck, the fictional character from ABC’s The Middle — and the inspiration behind our Random Acts of Trophy-ness “Show Us Your Sue” campaign to reward everyday acts of kindness — would most certainly approve of this month’s winner.  On more than one occasion, Sue has professed her love for America — “I just love America so much” — and Team Trophy Central believes Sue would be doing her quintessentially Sue happy dance to hear that Operation Gratitude is this month’s winner.

For those new to our Random Acts of Trophy-ness “Show Us Your Sue” campaign (welcome to Trophy Central!!) here is what you need to know: We fell in love with Sue Heck because she never gives up and refuses to let the outside world dictate what she is or isn’t able to accomplish.  If Sue Heck isn’t accepted into a club, she starts her own club.

Sue Heck award Trophy Central

Sue Heck is not the type of person normally recognized in traditional trophy-giving spheres.  She’s not the most athletic or the most talented.  But she makes other people feel good.  She inspires others to be themselves because she is always completely and unabashedly herself, never dimming her sparkle in order to fit in or seek the approval of others.  Team Trophy Central wanted to start a campaign to reward everyday heroes who inspire.  We were used to making trophies for star sports athletes and gifted singers.  And we’ve always loved doing it.  But we wanted to expand the definition of “trophy-worthy” to include people who are changing the world by being themselves, a la Sue Heck.  Enter our Random Acts of Trophy-ness “Show Us Your Sue”award!

Carolyn Blashek, Operation Gratitude and all its kindhearted volunteers epitomize the “Show Us Your Sue” spirit, and we are honored to celebrate them with our Random Acts of Trophy-ness trophy and in this blog!

Three Ways to Show Heartfelt A-P-P-R-E-C-IA-T-I-O-N

Team Trophy Central is grateful for Operation Gratitude and for everyone who embodies Operation Gratitude’s ethos.  It’s important to be grateful, important to let others know how much they change our lives for the better.  So we leave you with this: Who in your life are you grateful for?  We ask that you please let these people know.  Send them handwritten thank you notes, give them a call instead of shooting off a text, give them a hug.  It’s as important to feel loved as it is to make others feel loved.

Team Trophy Central would like to say thank you to Carolyn Blashek, Operation Gratitude and all its kindhearted volunteers. | Photo courtesy of Operation Gratitude

Team Trophy Central would like to say thank you to Carolyn Blashek, Operation Gratitude and all its kindhearted volunteers. | Photo courtesy of Operation Gratitude

Two Ways to Support Trophy Central’s #ShowUsYourSue C-A-M-P-A-I-G-N

Pssst!  Looking for another way to express gratitude for those who enrich your life and make it happier?  Why not have us send them a personally engraved trophy?  Every month, we send out a Random Acts of Trophy-ness “Show Us Your Sue” trophy to someone who makes the world a kinder, more loving placeYou can nominate someone to win our Random Acts of Trophy-ness trophy in the comments section below or by tagging us on Twitter or Facebook with the hashtag #ShowUsYourSue.  Tell us why this person makes you smile, and we just might send them one of our shiny, sparkly trophies!

Awarding Hurricane Florence Heroes For Their Dedication To Saving Farm Animals

Ziggy's Refuge Farm Sanctuary award Trophy Central

Congratulations Kristin Hartness and Jay Yontz on winning Trophy Central’s Random of Acts of Trophy-ness award for the work you do to help save the lives of farm animals.

It’s hard to read the news without getting discouraged or downright depressed. Hurricane Florence only added to the despondence of the news cycle. There’s a lot that feels like a hurricane right now — scary, harmful and impossible to predict or control. Which is precisely why we need to focus on the good and share stories that show what is right in the world. 

We started our Random Acts of Trophy-ness campaign to highlight the random acts of kindness that occur every single day, often times unrewarded, but certainly not unnoticed by the people and animals whose lives are changed for the better. Team Trophy Central is on a mission to reward everyday heroes who inspire by sending them bright and shiny trophies and also by sharing their acts of kindness with our readers, in the hope of inspiring more good and more random acts of kindness (or as we call them, random acts of trophy-ness). We also hope that by sharing stories about kindness and good deeds, we can help balance out some of the negativity that plagues the news and our social feeds.

With that in mind, we sent our latest Random Acts of Trophy-ness award to the kindhearted humans at an animal sanctuary in North Carolina who rescued farm animals who may have otherwise been forgotten in the devastation of Hurricane Florence.

Kristin Hartness and Jay Yontz | Photo credit: Bryan Smyer

Kristin Hartness, Jay Yontz and Ziggy, the rescue pig who inspired the couple to create Ziggy’s Refuge Farm Sanctuary | Photo credit: Bryan Smyer

Trophy Central is proud to present Ziggys Refuge Farm Sanctuary with The “Going Whole-Hog” Award for rescuing three pigs (and over 50 chickens, peacocks and rabbits) from drowning in the massive floods caused by the hurricane. The sanctuary, run by Kristin Hartness and Jay Yontz, took in a pig named Flo who was severely sunburnt and suffering from inhaling water into his lungs. Flo the pig was sweet and lovable as can be, despite his terrible ordeal. It’s thought that he was a member of a factory farm that was flooded, the animals left to die. Flo was extremely lucky to have survived not just the flood, but his destiny to be slaughtered as well.

Flo the rescue pig from Hurricane Florence

Flo sleeping peacefully after being rescued from Hurricane Florence. Look at the sweet smile! | Photo credit: Ziggy’s Refuge Farm Sanctuary

According to The Dodo, a kindhearted young man named Josh Walls found and bonded with Flo, rubbing mud on his sunburn to try to soothe it and feeding him as Flo oinked with glee to be shown love and compassion. Walls contacted Ziggys Rescue Farm Sanctuary, and Hartness and Yontz agreed to take Flo in and pay for his vet care. Flo made a miraculous recovery and now gets to spend the rest of his life at the sanctuary, where he is very, very loved.

Josh Walls and Flo the rescue pig.

Josh Walls and Flo the rescue pig. Thank you Josh, for helping save this beautiful creature. | Photo credit: Ziggy’s Rescue Farm Sanctuary

Hartness says: “He’s the sweetest thing you’ve ever seen in your entire life. He’s like a little butterball. He’s so friendly and cute and goofy and lovable. Everyone who meets him says, ‘He is so special.’”

Ziggy’s Rescue Farm Sanctuary also saved a pig named Jax and a pig named Barney from Hurricane Florence, showing them both love and compassion and nursing them back to health.  In order to accomplish this, Hartness found a used motorboat on Craigslist and Yontz travelled all around on the motorboat helping any animal he could. 

Spend any time on their social media, looking at the pictures and videos of them and their rescue animals, and you will see just how in love both Hartness and Yontz are with the animals they rescue, bottle feeding them, cuddling with them and doing everything they can to make them feel loved and safe.

Trophy Central is honored to add Ziggy’s Animal Sanctuary to our “Show Us Your Sue” family and thanks Hartness and Yontz for the amazing work they do. | Photo credit: Bryan Smyer

It’s very admirable that they’ve made it their mission to rescue farm animals, especially during a tragic storm like Hurricane Florence, when farm animals might be forgotten by other animal rescue organizations because there are so many dogs and cats to save. That’s why we awarded Hartness and Yontz with a trophy engraved with this sentiment: The “Going Whole-Hog” Award: Saving the Forgotten Hurricane Florence Victims.

Our Random Acts of Trophy-ness Show Us Your Sue campaign was originally inspired by the somewhat nerdy, always passionate Sue Heck character on the sitcom, The Middle. Specifically, our desire to reward the Sue Hecks of the world. Underdogs who may not typically be in the running for trophies, but who make the world a better place by being themselves (in Sue’s case, by being a persistent go-getter who never, EVER gives up, who makes things happen for herself and whose sparkly, optimistic attitude brightens the worst of days).

We are honored to add Ziggy’s Animal Sanctuary to our “Show Us Your Sue” family and thank Hartness and Yontz, from the bottom of our hearts, for the good work they do.

Team Trophy Central is all about rewarding good deeds and encouraging kindness. We want to celebrate all of life’s big and tiny moments of good by sending out custom engraved trophies to those who are making the world a better place by being themselves. Do you know an everyday hero we can deliver a smile (and a trophy!) to? Then please #ShowUsYourSue! Nominate your everyday hero for our Random Acts of Trophy-ness “Show Us Your Sue” award in the comments section below or on Twitter or Facebook using our #ShowUsYourSue hashtag. Don’t forget to tell us why your everyday hero deserves a trophy! Thank you to everyone who supports our Random Acts of Trophy-ness campaign and to everyone who makes lives brighter without asking for any reward in return. We salute you!

Empowering and Dressing Women For Success: Our Latest Trophy Winner Announced!

Adrienne Kronovet - Ameliora - Trophy Central.png

Meet Adrienne Kronovet, CEO and founder of Ameliora, and winner of Trophy Central’s Women Empowered Award.

A lot of brands claim to empower women, but Ameliora, a new women’s workwear brand, does so in a very tangible way.  Ameliora’s founder, Adrienne Kronovet, is this month’s Random Acts of Trophy-ness “Show Us Your Sue” winner — and readers, you should prepare to be inspired.

Team Trophy Central found out about Adrienne and Ameliora when we received a nomination from a woman who told us Adrienne sent her a free $475 jacket from Ameliora’s line to help her dress for success at her new job.  The jacket is stunning — black Italian fabric lined in red silk — and the gesture is heartwarming. 

It’s also not a one-off.  Ameliora is dedicated to supporting and empowering women by outfitting them for success.  That means sending power pieces to women starting new jobs or getting back into the workforce after a hiatus.  Women in need of workwear that will make them feel confident at the office can send their stories to mystory@ameliora.com to be entered into a monthly contest to receive the Ameliora piece of their choice.  How amazing is that?!

Ameliora

Also amazing is the fact that Ameliora donates a portion of all proceeds to causes that help women, such as supporting new moms coping with postpartum depression and helping employed-yet-homeless women find and finance homes.  And the fact that all of Ameliora’s clothing is ethically made in New York’s garment district, so when you shop at Ameliora, you know the people who made your clothes were paid fair wages.

The whole concept of Ameliora empowering women is all but sewn into the fabric of the clothes Adrienne designs.  Take the red silk, for example.  Just knowing it’s there, unseen (unless you decide to roll up your sleeves and show the empowering red!) creates what Adrienne calls a “special feeling of invincibility.  Ameliora’s clothes are designed to make women feel emboldened, confident and powerful, in a way only a woman-led company can.

Our Random Acts of Trophy-ness Show Us Your Sueaward was inspired by the perpetually optimistic Sue Heck character on ABC’s The Middle.  Sue may not be athletically or musically gifted, but she inspires others to be unabashedly themselves because she never censors herself and never dims her sparkle for anyone or anything.  Sue is not the kind of person to win awards in traditional trophy-giving spheres, but she deserves a trophy for being herself — and making the world a better place just by being in it.  Sue Heck is our definition of an everyday hero who inspires, and Adrienne is too!

Sue Heck award Trophy Central

Team Trophy Central loves that Adrienne is just as keen on celebrating people who inspire as we are.  Each clothing item in Ameliora’s line is named for a woman who inspires Adrienne.  Such as the “Carmen” jacket, named for Adrienne’s mentor, Dr. Carmen Simon, author and neuroscientist.  So when women wear each piece in Ameliora’s line, they are essentially stepping into the shoes — or clothes! — of an already successful and powerful women.  Which is another reason Ameliora’s clothing can help make women feel empowered.

Team Trophy Central is in awe of the fact that Adrienne is already doing so much good with her company, even though Ameliora is less than a year old.  It’s not often CEOS start their company out doing so much good (this isn’t a tax write-off, for example) and we applaud her for empowering women to rock their interviews and land their promotions in clothes that make them feel like Wonder Woman (the red silk is like a hidden cape).

Congratulations, Adrienne, on winning The Women Empowered Award!  We wish you much success with your business, and wish much success to every woman who wears your empowering clothes! 

Adrienne Kronovet - Women Empowered Award

Congratulations, Adrienne! Thank you for all you do to help empower women.

At Trophy Central, we believe that doing good is contagious.  Our Random Acts of Trophy-ness “Show Us Your Sue” award is designed not only to recognize and award good deeds, but also to instigate more and more good.  But we need your help!  Please assist us in finding people who are doing good.  It can be your neighbor who always smiles and waves when they see you in the morning, getting your day off to a happy start.  It can be your shy child’s favorite teacher, who takes the time to teach her to voice her opinions and come out of her shell.  Or it can be the Starbucks barista who always remembers your name — and your favorite drink.  We are looking to reward everyday heroes who inspire with shiny trophies.  So please send us a note, leave a comment on this post, or tag us on Facebook or Twitter (don’t forget our hashtag, #ShowUsYourSue!) with your nomination.  Let’s do — and reward! — more good, together.

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!