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Everyday Heroes: Cedar Rapids woman influenced by her family opening doors to strangers on Thanksgiving Day

Amanda Zhorne
Amanda Zhorne

Amanda Zhorne of Cedar Rapids is nominated as an Everyday Hero for her selflessness and involvement in numerous community organizations. She and others are being featured in this occasional series honoring Everyday Heroes, presented by Fairfax State Savings Bank.

Amanda Zhorne was raised by people who always did the right thing. Even if, she says, it made them look a little crazy.

Her parents regularly opened their home to others, often inviting strangers to Thanksgiving. Zhorne remembers buying groceries for people she didn’t know, watching her parents pick up a person’s tab at a restaurant, or waiting in the car as her father left treats on the doorsteps of casual acquaintance going through a rough time.

“I was taught that when there’s an opportunity to do something good for someone, just do it; that the risk of getting it wrong is insignificant compared to the potential impact of getting it right,” she says.

Amanda Zhorne in previous coverage

In his seventh-grade English class, Jeremiah Zhorne showed his teacher an essay he'd written for homework. Maybe, he told her, he should start over. Maybe he should have picked a different topic.

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The result of this mentality is her connection with numerous organizations, nonprofits and boards in the Cedar Rapids area. Zhorne is involved with the Henry Davison Scholarship Program, Iowa Foster and Adoptive Parent Association, Marion Youth Council, Downtown Rotary and Junior League of Cedar Rapids, where she’s also chair of the Housing Program.

Zhorne also is on the leadership board for Sleep in Heavenly Peace, serves on the Linn Area Reads committee and is a member of the Iowa Ideas advisory committee. This is in addition to working as the strategic partner developer for Iowa BIG.

“Once you put yourself in a position to realize more people need help in our community, it’s kind of hard not to get involved,” Zhorne says.

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Zhorne jokes that she still watches plenty of Netflix, so she isn’t hasn’t reached her obligation limit. Not yet, at least.

“I see things differently than I used to,” she says.

Because of that, she can’t turn away, nor does she want to. Instead, she’s the first to say “OK, I’ll help” — just like her parents taught her to.

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