First Bank and Fox 2 News have teamed up to give back to St. Louis’ hidden helpers, or those rare gems out in our communities, who are serving others in their own, unique way. First Bank and Fox 2 News’ Pay it Forward initiative allows friends, families, neighbors, and co-workers to nominate deserving recipients who are consistently making a difference. Pay it Forward honorees are presented with a $500 First Bank Mastercard® Gift Card.
If you’d like to nominate a deserving candidate, simply share their story here. Tell us how they’re paying it forward in their own neighborhoods. On behalf of First Bank and Fox 2 News, congratulations to all of our winners—past and future—and thanks for all you do!
Pay It Forward | James Cross
While organizing a 40-year reunion, Lorenzo Macon says he never forgot his history teacher, James Cross, and discovered several former classmates hadn’t either.
Pay it Forward | Tricia Hogan
Tricia Hogan credits her dog to saving her life when she overdosed on drugs. Now, sheâ€™s on a mission to help others with therapy dogs.
Pay it Forward | Cathy Mullins
Cathy Mullins, a volunteer at SHARE Homelink, organizes dances, events, and other activities for home schooled students allowing them to make those special high school memories.
Pay it Forward | Clayton Lessor
Pay It Forward recipient Psychotherapist Dr. Clayton Lessor of Crestwood, focuses his practice on at-risk adolescent boys, having helped more than 2,000. See how this therapist uses gardening to help.
Pay it Forward | Jeff Yates
Local race car driver, Jeff Yates, shifted gears this year and dedicated his entire racing season to raising money and bringing awareness to Divine Nest, a foster care placement system. See why Jeff decided to give up his sponsorship money this year.
Pay it Forward | Pawl Simon Cosby
Pawl Simon Cosby, of North St. Louis County, has a love for pets that has grown into a mission to bring people together. His long-time client and friend, surprised him with the award. His love for animals and the way animals connect with people is what led him to open Paw Purfect.
Pay it Forward | Janet Kolmer
First Bank "Pays It Forward" to Janet Kolmer for helping children in need.
Pay it Forward | Nick Wegman
Nick Wegman has been described as a shining light in Florissant, MO. His friend and regular customer, Matt Sanders, nominated him for the Pay It Forward award. See how he surprised Nick with the award and why Matt wanted to recognize Nick's efforts.
Pay it Forward | Rachel P. Hunter
One Wood River, Illinois woman and her daughter are brightening the lives of the homeless and hospitalized children across the St. Louis-area. Watch to learn more about their program, Helping Hearts Grow, and see how they are surprised by a friend as they receive our Pay It Forward award.
Pay it Forward | Izola Toy
Hundreds of men and women are getting a second chance at making a difference in others' lives as well as their own thanks to one dedicated St. Louis, MO woman. See how a student of Ms. Izola Toy's Second Chance Career Academy surprised her with the Pay It Forward award.
Pay it Forward | Kalen McAllister
Former Chaplain at a correctional facility, Kalen McAllister noticed a troubling pattern among inmates nearing their release date. They worried that without a job, they could end up back in prison. But Ms. McAllister sought to change that pattern one baked good at a time. See how she's changing the lives of ex-offenders and why she's the latest recipient of our Pay It Forward award.
Pay it Forward | Cindy Bingham
When a violent crime rocked a Belleville, IL neighborhood back in 2013, one woman led the charge to make her community safer. Cindy Bingham started what is now one of the largest Neighborhood Watch programs in Illinois. See how and why Bingham's neighbor and friend, Stacy Hudson, surprised her with the Pay It Forward award.
Pay it Forward | Shaunna Hoel
Safely driving a school bus full of children is no easy job â€“ but to Shaunna Hoel this is more than "just a job". See how Shaunna's attitude brightens up the days of those around her and why she was nominated for the Pay It Forward award.
Pay it Forward | Shonda Gann
A Hazelwood, MO woman provides special needs children with enriching activities and love while giving their parents some personal time. See how Shonda Gann's selfless acts got her nominated for our Pay It Forward Award â€” and how she plans to put the funds to use within the Buddy Break program.
Pay it Forward | Rob Rothweiler
Children in St. Charles, Missouri are enjoying a brand new playground at a local pre-school thanks to General Contractor Rob Rothweiler. See how he was an answer to Faith Pre-School at United Methodist Church's prayers and why he was nominated by the pre-school director as the recipient of September's Pay It Forward program in partnership with Fox 2 News.
Pay it Forward | Kelli Clodfelter
Business-owner Kelli Clodfelter turned her pain into power to keep kids off drugs and is committed to the youth in her community. Kelli was nominated by her friend Lori for her tireless work and commitment to Jordan's Place - a safe-haven for teens in the Warrenton, MO area.
Pay it Forward | Kati Melton
Metro East dance teacher, Kati Melton, is making dreams come true for special needs children. See why her friend Donna, along with a few students from her studio, nominated her for her work with Without Limits Dance Company.
Pay it Forward | Madison Wolf
St. Louis Girl Scout Madison Wolf sweetens people's day by doing good in her community. See why she was nominated by her own family as the recipient of June's Pay It Forward program in partnership with Fox 2 News.
Pay it Forward | Courtney Boron
Kyle and Kayce Ketrow of Belleville tried to have a baby four times through in-vitro fertilization, but each attempt failed. About a year ago, Kayce's sister, Courtney Boron of Millstadt, said she would be a surrogate mother. Her generous gift of unselfishness led Kyle to nominate his sister-in-law for our Pay It Forward award â€“ a $500 gift card from First Bank.
Pay it Forward | Leonard Johnson
A smile and a wave can change someone's day. Hundreds of smiles and waves every day can change a community. A Granite City, Illinois man brings that joy to friends and strangers every day as he volunteers to help direct traffic outside a school. And heâ€™s the latest recipient of our Pay It Forward award.
Pay it Forward | Natalie Click
Natalie Click is an amazing young lady who attends St Claire High School. She dedicates her time ensuring The Closet has the necessary clothing donations to be made available for those fellow students in need. First Bank and Fox 2 News had the opportunity to pay it forward thanks to her nominator, Guidance Counselor Emily Sharratt.
Pay it Forward | Akiba Thompson
Akiba was presented with a $500 First Bank Gift Card. Her nominator, Raquel Hunter, is a children's book author and finds Akiba's work with children's literacy to be inspiring. Akiba now operates Nerdy Girlz Book Club, Nerdy Boys Book Club, and a book club geared toward 2 - 5 year old children. She gives the donated children's books away for free at the meetings.
Pay it Forward | Don Benton
79 year old Don Benton keeps his neighbors fed in the summer and warm in the winter with his community garden.
Pay it Forward | Willie Ferre
Pay it forwardâ€”On behalf of First Bank and Fox 2 News, our next Pay it Forward recipient, Willie Ferre, is known as the "Lawn Mower Man" in Bel Ridge, MO. To help his community, Willie not only fixes neighborhood lawnmowers for free or at a low-cost, he uses any proceeds to purchase food for those in need. His nominator, Andrea Nichols, surprised Willie as the Pay it Forward honoree, along with a $500 First Bank gift card. Congratulations, Willie, and thanks for all you do!
Pay it Forward | Gina Faust
Gina Faust uses her food truck to offer homemade meatballs and side serving of hope to help those in need.
Pay it Forward | Coach Nay
Watch Coach Nay's Pay it forward story.
Pay it Forward | Linda Schermer
Watch Linda's Pay it forward story.
Pay it Forward | John Barnes
East St. Louis Band Director has led the band to success for 13 years.
Pay it Forward | Dee Brown
Dee Brown, founder of the St. Louis Safety Group, brings residents together every month so they can learn how to keep their neighborhoods safe. And she does it all with her own money.
Pay it Forward | Elmendorf's
First Bank and Fox 2 News pay it forward to a young couple who began random acts of kindness.
Pay it Forward | Backpack Ministry
Many schools provide breakfast and lunch for students during the week. During the weekends many children from low income families may not get many meals. Dorsett Village Church in Maryland Heights is filling the need by filling backpacks with food for students every week.
Pay it Forward | Dawn Hosna
Dawn Hosna founded the group "Moms on a Mission" less than a year ago and already it has more than 2,000 members who reach out to the homeless. One member who nominated Dawn paid a surprise visit to her home in Dupo and presented her with the Pay it Forward award of $500 on behalf of FOX 2 and First Bank.