THE word hero is bandied around a little too often these days and is often used to describe the wrong people.
It is instantly applied to footballers who score the winning goal in a run-of-the-mill match and pop singers who mime to their own records.
A true hero should be someone who thoroughly deserves our admiration, someone who inspires us to be a better person or to do more than we thought was possible.
There are plenty of people who match that description living in communities across the Lothians.
A glance at the winners of our Local Hero Awards is the reminder of some of the amazing things that they do every day, usually without thanks or recognition.
There are the brilliant teachers like David Anderson of West Calder High who literally change the lives of our children, opening new horizons to them. The selfless volunteers such as Forrester Rugby Club stalwart Craig Fraser, without whom our grassroots sports would wilt and die.
The lifesavers like Martin Graham and David Taylor who risked their own necks to rescue others, and the extraordinarily dedicated world-leading breast cancer surgeon Professor Mike Dixon. They have all had a dramatic impact on the lives of others over the last year.
Then, of course, there is the courageous and generous spirit of Jak Truman who did so much for others when many would have thought first of themselves.
All too often, the sacrifices of all these true heroes – and many more like them – appear to be taken for granted. We are all guilty at times of not stopping for long enough to say thank you.
Last night, it was an honour for the Evening News to provide the stage for Edinburgh to properly thank its Local Heroes during a glittering ceremony at the Assembly Rooms.
To all our worthy winners, and nominees, we salute you.