Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Names Weekly Winners of Homespun Hero Contest!

By June 19, 2017Company News

(June 19, 2017) – Ripley’s Believe It or Not! is proud to announce their Homespun Hero of the week!


Paul and Michelle Tesori were nominated by Melissa Recker

They have a 3-year-old little boy Isaiah who was born with Down Syndrome. They founded the Tesori Family Foundation and do amazing things for the community. They partnered with the St. Johns County School District (SJCSD) ASSIST program to provide laptops to graduating seniors who have overcome the homeless community, and will pack their bags this fall to head to college and/or the Military!

Paul and Michelle TesoriThe program that is near and dear to Melissa Recker is Buddy Baskets, providing each new family in Northeast Florida who gives birth to or adopts a child with Down syndrome a very special basket. In this basket is a note from Isaiah to the new parents, complete with pictures of his first years of life and some of his (and his mommy and daddy’s) favorites including some of Isaiah’s favorite clothes, DVDs, pacifiers, onesies, bibs, toys, and gift certificates. They also include items for siblings to remind them that while all the attention might be on this new baby and some of their extra special needs, they’re still as loved and important as they were before this extra special baby arrived.

Debra Poma nominated her daughter Stephanie Restrepo.

Stephanie is a single mom of a 10-year-old girl. Stephanie has many health issues, but that does not stop her from doing amazing things for the community. She works part time as a VPK assistant, is a Girl Scout leader, and works another job to support her and her daughter. She puts others before herself. She is the perfect example of “when life knocks you down, brush yourself off and keep on going!”

She is a local hero serving her community and her child.

Anna Schwirian nominated her Rob Kowalski.

Rob created an organization called CityFam that does monthly events where between 25-200 people volunteer. Rob’s organization also does monthly parties at local restaurants where people pay $5 for discount food and drinks and all the proceeds go to local charities.

Rob is a strong member of a local church and does missionary work in other countries. Rob helps out as much as can, from simple things like giving people a ride, to more involved projects like raising money for a worthy cause.

Rob is our local hero because he does so much work behind the scenes here in Baltimore.

Kim Parsons was nominated by Craig Lynch.
Two years ago, Craig was in need of a kidney transplant. He did not know Kim at the time, but she has become his angel on earth. She read an article that his company wrote on explaining his need and the blood type his doctors were looking for.

After reading the article, she got tested and was confirmed a match. On January 29th, 2015 Craig received the donation of a kidney from Kim. They met for the first time a few days after their surgery and she explained that the reason she donated to somebody that she never met was because she did not want his children to grow up without a father.

Needless to say, Kim Parsons is Ocean City’s Homespun Hero!


Winners receive a prize pack from Ripley’s including a lifetime pass to Ripley’s Believe It or Not! and will be registered for Super Hero Sweepstakes grand prize of $2500 plus $2500 for their favorite charity.

If you would like to nominate someone who makes a difference in our community, please go to  Winners will be announced weekly throughout the summer. This program is part of Ripley’s Superhero Summer, which includes Marvel® character appearances over the summer with a portion of all proceeds on appearance days going to charity, and a Sweepstakes of $2500 for the winner and $2500 for their favorite charity.

On character appearance days, Ripley’s will show the film Look to the Sky by producer Brett Culp. Look to the Sky is a full-length film about children who have overcome incredible obstacles to give back. It is a truly inspirational film that celebrates the theme of our Superhero Summer, giving back and helping our community.


Suzanne Smagala-Potts
Public Relations Manager
Ripley Entertainment
Office: 407-345-8010 Cell: 727-439-0136

About Ripley Entertainment
Ripley’s Believe It or Not! is part of the Ripley Entertainment Inc. ( family of worldwide attractions, the global leader in location-based entertainment.  More than 14 million people visit its 100-plus attractions in 11 countries each year.  In addition to its 31 Believe It or Not! Odditoriums, the Orlando, Florida-based company has publishing, licensing and broadcast divisions that oversee projects including the syndicated Believe It or Not! television show, best-selling books and the popular syndicated cartoon strip, Ripley’s Believe It or Not!, that still runs daily in countries around the world. Ripley Entertainment is a Jim Pattison Company, the second-largest privately held company in Canada.

About Marvel Entertainment, LLC
Marvel Entertainment, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company, is one of the world’s most prominent character-based entertainment companies, built on a proven library of more than 8,000 characters featured in a variety of media over seventy-six years. Marvel utilizes its character franchises in entertainment, licensing and publishing. For more information, visit © 2017 MARVEL