Holds coloring contest so elementary students can honor police, military, firefighters and other heroes

ARTWORK COURTESY OF MANN MORTGAGE - Coloring sheets included examples of heroes that students could color and a box in which they were invited to draw a hero of their choosing.In an effort to help young students recognize who the true heroes are their community, Mann Mortgage recently hosted a coloring contest campaign.

Barnes Butte and Crooked River Elementary first though fourth grade students joined other schools throughout Central Oregon in the contest, which invited kids to rethink their definition of a true hero.

"Mann Mortgage views heroes in our community no like the superheroes like Spiderman and all that. We need to focus back on who the real heroes are in our community, especially given how rough times have been in the last two years," said Loan Officer Kim Patterson. "We want the kids to at young ages to realize that the real heroes are the firefighters, policemen, military, medical people, doctors, teachers."

The mortgage company conducted coloring contests with schools in Prineville, Redmond, Madras and Terrebonne as well as some Bend and La Pine schools. Mann Mortgage printed 7,000 coloring sheets featuring four likenesses of the "true heroes" and an empty box above in which students were encouraged to draw and color their heroes.

Mann Mortgage staff recently collected all of the coloring contest entrants and judged them — which Patterson said was made difficult because of the high quality of the kids' work.

"It was fantastic," she said. "Some of the pictures are awesome."

Patterson added that they chose one winning class in each grade at each school. They will reward those winning classes with a pizza party. The Barnes Butte Elementary classes will hold their parties on May 12 and Crooked River Elementary students will get their pizza parties the next day. As an added bonus, Mann Mortgage has invited police officers and any heroes from other fields to join the kids during the celebration. Some of them were happy to accept.

"It's been really well accepted by the schools, and they have been super excited about the upcoming parties," Patterson added.

The completed and judged coloring sheets will now get shared with the people who inspired the artwork.

"We delivered the ones with the policemen on it to the police station with a gift basket and let them see what we are doing in the community," Patterson said.

And the show of appreciation doesn't end there.

"To show those heroes our appreciation, we are giving them reduced lending fees," Patterson said. "We truly care about these people who do so much for our communities and many times get very little appreciation or thanks."

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