Congrats to Mark R – our Hero of the Month for December. You can read every finalist’s story below!
Name: Scott D.
Profession: Registered Nurse
Nominated by: Barbara S.
Described as an inspiration to all who know him, Scott is a Registered Nurse working as a home visitor with a hospice unit. Before going into nursing, Scott saved lives as a combat engineer & infantryman with the US Army, jump master, parachute trainer, rescue scuba diver and former Fire Chief. Scott also frequently volunteers to work with the homeless, buying them food and helping them find services and resources. He has also worked with the Veterans Association, attending military funerals and visiting homebound veterans. In his role as a hospice nurse, Scott often brings his beloved dogs with him on home visits. He even volunteered to adopt a veteran’s dog when the owner moved into an assisted living facility. Scott’s nominator, Barbara, describes him as ‘a true hero to his neighbors and friends’ who ‘has been there to help when no one else stepped up.’
Name: Mark R.
Profession: Firefighter & EMT
Nominated by: Jessica M., a former patient
Mark and Jessica met under the worst of circumstances. A driver crashed into a car carrying Jessica and her daughter, Kendra, on a backwoods rural road. Mark and his team responded to the scene. As responders worked on freeing Jessica from the vehicle, she remembers Mark crawling into the car beside her, assessing her medical state and updating her on Kendra’s condition. “He not only took care of me that day, he held my hand, made me human not just a patient,” remembers Jessica. Following the accident, Mark traveled to check on Jessica’s daughter after she underwent brain surgery. Even now, Mark continues to keep tabs on Kendra, responding whenever she has a medical emergency, even if he’s off-duty, and organizing fellow firefighters to help build a wheelchair ramp for her home. Seven years after their fateful meeting, the three remain close friends.
From Left to Right: Kendra, Mark, Jessica, Willy and Bill. Mark, Willy and Bill all responded to the accident.
Name: Marilyn M.
Nominated by: Kendra N.
Marilyn has dedicated more than 40 years of her life to Education. She got her start in the early 70’s, teaching deaf and blind students in one of the first programs developed specifically for these children. Marilyn then moved to a small Alaskan village to teach Special Education. For years, she traveled around Alaska evaluating and writing programs for severely handicapped children and teaching Special Education and Kindergarten. After 30 years of teaching, Marilyn retired to Oregon and began working as a Reading Teacher. Motivated by her own struggles as a young student, she has a passion for helping students learn to read and write. Her successful reading program has helped countless young students over the course of her career. Marilyn retired from teaching in 2002, but continued to pursue her passion for education by working as a teacher’s aide, reading assistant and librarian. She is still actively working and volunteering in the Oregon school system, where ‘her excellence in teaching and working with young kids has always been apparent to the kids, the parents, other staff, and administration.’
Name: John B.
Profession: Firefighter & Paramedic
Nominated by: Lori B., his wife
The son of a Chief of Police and Registered Nurse, John knew he wanted to be a Fireman at age 2. John started his Firefighting career roughly 38 years ago and launched his nonprofit, Firefighters for Fun, just 8 years later. He now travels the country educating children with his fire truck and ambulance classrooms, passing out extensive resources and spreading his ‘If you can be Heard, you can be Rescued’ motto. The life-saving potential of John’s mission was proved just a few weeks ago, when a wheelchair-bound man was saved from a dangerous house fire after his neighbors were able to find and rescue him thanks to a whistle John had given the man just months earlier. John uses all his spare time, including vacations, raising money for Firefighters for Fun, even converting another old fire truck into a mobile restaurant serving up food and fire knowledge at state fairs to help raise funds.