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Volunteers, givers, firefighters and more are featured in next week's special section

   Communities are the glue that hold our cities, states and country together.

And heroes are the people who support, sustain and sometimes save those communities in times of trouble.

Molalla and Canby are filled with heroes who stepped up when unprecedented wildfires threatened the communities they love.

Let's be honest, 2020 has been a time of trouble. It began with an impeachment, then accelerated downhill with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March and the ensuing lockdown of American society, the death of George Floyd in police custody in May (and the protests and violence that followed) and, more recently, included the aforementioned wildfires that sprawled across Oregon and much of the west coast.

Through it all, it's been some of the best people among us that have kept our communities safe, interesting and livable in these unprecedented times. Because of that, we are taking a moment to honor our best with its first-ever Community Heroes special section. Community Heroes, which is being distributed next week in more than 20 papers printed and distributed by Pamplin Media Group, honors some of the best, most productive, bravest and most giving citizens in the communities served by PMG papers.

PMG PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - April Murchinson serves as Associate Pastor at Emmanuel Church in North Portland, as well as lead volunteer for the Portland Police Bureau's Crisis Response Team.In this special section, you'll read about the brave first responders in Colton, Molalla and Canby who rose to the occassion when their communities were threatened by wildfires in September.

You'll find out about the efforts of Gresham's Frani Grover, who has tirelessly fed and aided unhoused people in East Multnomah County. Then there's Sherwood's Rich Stamps, a lieutenant for Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue, who cut short a hunting trip with buddies to help fight fires in the Chehalem Mountain-Bald Peak area of Yamhill and Washington counties.

The stories — more than 20 of them — go on throughout the section, each one highlighting people from one of the many communities served by Pamplin Media Group newspapers.

Also featured in the Community Heroes section for 2020 are: Beaverton bus driver extraordinaire Aaron Baune; Prineville volunteer star Carol Benkosky; Cornelius community supporter Laura Christy; St. Helens food bank dynamo Meagan Fawcett; Estacada businessman and volunteer Marvin Flora; Sandy nonprofit leader Machel Heldstab; Lake Oswego animal lover Marie Heppner; Beaverton student/entrepreneur Neel Jain; Tualatin employment specialist Robert Knight; Newberg uber-volunteer Anne Mildenberger; Wilsonville refugee advocate Kristi Park; Hillsboro gardener Heather Peterson; West Linn psychiatric consultant/author/Peace Corps volunteer Ellen Urbani; Gresham's Kirsten Wageman, the executive director for SnowCap Community Charities; Sherwood baker/giver Alex Wilson; and Hubbard food pantry star Whitney Workman.

These sections aren't possible without the generous support of our sponsors and advertisers. We offer special thanks to Pacific Office Automation who stepped up to be our Community Hero Sponsor for this year.

As you read these stories, please consider supporting the businesses who have advertised in theis section. Without their support, we wouldn't be able to acknowledge the accomplishments of our community heroes.


You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.

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