Everyday Hero: Debbie Leoni - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Everyday Hero: Debbie Leoni

(KFVS) -

Sometimes we take things for granted.

Like the ability to get up and go run, swim a few laps or go for a bike ride.

But not everyone can do those things.

This month’s Everyday Hero is finding ways to make it happen.

Before the sun crests the horizon, and while the Heartland just begins to stir, in Perryville, Missouri angels are already on the run.

My Team Triumph of Southeast Missouri pairs people with disabilities and able bodied athletes.

The “captains”, as they’re called, are accompanied by angels during foot and bike races, even triathlons.

And it’s all coordinated by Debbie Leoni.

“I get to do it from welcome to the finish line," said Everyday Hero Debbie Leoni.

Debbie started this chapter of My Team Triumph nearly three years ago.

“It just was a natural fit," Debbie said. "It fit all the components of what I love to do. It’s the running and the biking as well as working with people who have challenges and giving them the same opportunity to do what we all get to do.”

"3, 2, 1, Go!"

This 5K and 8K in Perryville is just one of many races this summer.

“We really focus on having fun and participating. Not winning, so to speak. Because we just figure we’re winners when we’re out there. We’re all winning," said Debbie.

You see the winning attitude from start to finish.

It's there in the joy on each captain's face, the sense of family, the feeling of accomplishment.

“But you know to us it’s just what should be," she said. "Those are fun things everyone should experience and just because you can’t do it under your own power doesn’t mean you shouldn’t experience it”.

For the roughly 30 captains, it’s a chance to participate in events they otherwise couldn’t.

For angels, it’s a new purpose.

One good not only for the body, but the soul.

"We just love My Team Triumph," said angels Kristie Milam, Elainna Froemsdorf and Linda Null. "It's everything to us. I don't know how to express it. It's become our passion and the kids. These captains mean everything to us."

As the teams climb the final hill to the finish line, you understand why Debbie says “it’s a total blessing on our end, completely.”

For there awaits a heavenly scene: the My Team Triumph family cheering on their athletes.

Praising each one for the extraordinary efforts.

Moments made possible thanks to the work of, well, it may just take a saint.

“I love it. I mean honestly I just don’t ever lose my passion for this," said Debbie. "It makes all the preparation, the early morning, makes it all well worthwhile.”

If you'd like to get involved with My Team Triumph of Southeast Missouri, just click here.

If you know of an Everyday Hero in your life, please let us know.

Just click here to make your nomination.

We'll profile an Everyday Hero each month on Heartland News and all of our heroes will be honored at the annual Red Cross recognition luncheon.

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