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Mokena Teacher Voted Local Hero

Tara Daniher received more than one-third of the more than 1,600 votes cast on DrivingtheMidwest.com during the contest.

Evergreen Park teacher , known throughout the village as a "special rare gem" received the most votes in the General Motors' Our Town, Our Heroes program, officials announced earlier this week.

Daniher, who lives in Mokena, received nearly 600 of 1,614 votes cast on DrivingtheMidwest.com. Both Daniher and her nominator, Katie Elwood, will receive a one-week loan of an all-new Chevrolet, Buick, GMC or Cadillac vehicle and a full tank of gas. In addition, Daniher will receive $500 in gift cards with the challenge to keep driving positive change in her community, according to a press release from contest officials.

Daniher teaches fifth graders and was voted the  PTA's Educator of the Year.

She was nominated by her friend, Katie Elwood. In the nomination, Elwood describes how Daniher goes above and beyond, even supporting one of her students who lost his mother to cancer with after-school sessions, emotional guidance and with a homemade blanket.

“Tara never lets a child slip through the cracks. She is also helping coordinate her school’s efforts for the , where students are coming together to shave their heads and fundraise in honor of kids with cancer,” Elwood wrote.

The GM contest has been in place since 2011.

“We continue to be blown away by the extraordinary stories of heroes from across Illinois like Tara,” said Brian Goebel, General Motors North Central Region Communications Manager. “We’re honored to recognize individuals such as Tara for their selfless work in their communities and look forward to the next round of unsung local heroes.”

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