Unsung Hero: Maria McCormick

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By Ashley Smith
By Josue

A Murphysboro woman starts her day going for a walk. But she isn't just exercising when she walks downtown.

Maria McCormick carries a bag with her every time she steps out the door. She fills that bag at least once with litter and trash on Walnut Street in Murphysboro.

"While I'm doing that I might as well make myself useful so I take a bag with me," said Maria McCormick.

Maria has been keeping the main street in Murphysboro clean since 1997. She moved to southern Illinois from Germany and says that's where she started going for daily walks. But in Germany, there wasn't quite as much litter to collect.

"There are cans and receptacles everywhere," said Maria, "We have 2 but people don't use them."

Mayor Will Stephens is honoring Maria at the next city council meeting. Maria will be awarded the "Russell Breading Community Service Award." Russell Breading was a businessman who also kept the downtown clean so Will says no one deserves the award
more than Maria.

"Maria is just doing it on her own and she is setting an example that we can all follow," said Mayor Will Stephens.

"It's a happy situation but I don't feel like I do anything special," said Maria.

Maria is in great health and her doctor even encourages her to continue her daily walks. Although he admits it isn't just good for her health.

"It's nice exercise, I like the walk, and stooping down is also exercise. My doctor said the other day, 'keep doing it, Murphysboro needs you!'" said Maria.

Mayor Stephens agrees that Maria is making a big difference in this small town.

"Oh Maria is a hero because it's the little things when the rubber meets the road that add up to the big ones," said Will.
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