Katu news recently honored Edwin Young of Portland in its “everyday heroes” feature. Edwin has demonstrated remarkable devotion to his wife, Jovan, while she has struggled to recover from a mysterious illness which confined her to the hospital for several months.
Doctors have been unable to provide Jovan with a specific diagnosis, and although she has been released from the hospital, she can’t walk, and requires extra care from her husband. “Edwin cooks my food,” Jovan told Katu. “He helps me change my bed if I need to change my bed; he washes all of my laundry; he does the dishes.”
Edwin Young has fulfilled his new responsibilities with remarkable grace and dedication. “Without even irritation, this man takes care of me,” Jovan marveled. She calls Edwin a superhero, but he feels that he has simply done his duty to his wife and children: “I’ve got to [take care of her]” he explained. “I have to. We’ve got daughters and they’re there [at home] too, but they’ve got lives. . . . And we don’t want to take their lives from them.”
The Young family has created a GoFundMe page to help cover Jovan’s medical expenses. To support Edwin in his effort to care for his wife, click here.
Last month, KATU news honored 91-year-old Jean Pierce in its “Everyday Heroes” feature for her longtime service to Portland. Pierce has volunteered for Store to Door, a nonprofit which delivers groceries to seniors and individuals with disabilities, for over three decades.
Pierce believes her biweekly shopping trips for Store to Door have enabled her to remain mobile into her ninth decade. “I credit the fact that I’m still moving around on doing this,” she explained.
Store to Door’s 400 volunteers strive to foster relationships with the customers they serve. According to Executive Director Kiersten Ware, these relationships help the organization meet clients’ needs: “We know our clients . . . so they’re more likely to tell us if they have an additional need,” Ware said.
Ware believes Pierce embodies Store to Door’s commitment to the home-bound. “If you were to ask me if there was a hero, someone I would want to follow in their footsteps, I would say it’s Jean [Pierce],” she said.
Store to Door volunteers will continue to have a role model in Pierce–despite her age, she intends to continue serving her community as long she can. “It makes me feel good to be doing something for somebody else,” she told KATU. “That’s it.”
Oregon police officers rescued two ducklings from a Salem storm drain, where they were trapped for several days. “Fish and Wildlife Division Senior Trooper Hunter (Salem Area Command) and Recruit Denny (OSU Patrol Office) were dispatched to a call of several baby ducklings trapped in a storm drain at the corner of Airport Road and Mission Street in Salem, Oregon,” the Oregon State Police Facebook page stated.
According to witnesses, a mother duck attempted to cross a street with her ten ducklings, when two of them fell through a grate and disappeared into the drain.
City workers contributed to the rescue operation, and removed storm grates and a manhole cover so the officers could lift the ducklings to safety in a net. The ducklings rejoined their mother and eight siblings in a nearby canal.
OSP’s Facebook page noted that individuals from several government departments–including Salem’s Public Works Department and ODOT–cooperated with the officers to assist the ducks. The page described the incident with the hashtag, “#Teamwork.”
When Kelso, Washington students heard that their teacher needed a new wheelchair, they decided to act. The students organized a GoFundMe campaign to purchase a new electric wheelchair for substitute instructor John Jankins. An overwhelming response from donors enabled them to collect over $32,000 in less than one week.
Jankins, who is affected by cerebral palsy, rides his motorized wheelchair to and from Kelso High School, where he has worked for almost thirty years. Jankins’ students couldn’t imagine Kelso High without him: “Rain or shine Mr. Janke has been a part of Kelso classrooms for years. His presence has touched the lives of countless students/staff and now it’s time to show our appreciation,” the students’ GoFundMe page read.
The students initially aimed to raise $25,000, but an outpouring of support for Jankins prompted the students to increase their fundraising goal to $30,000. Extra funds will cover the cost of future wheelchair repairs.
Multnomah County is searching for homeowners in the Portland area who are willing to donate their backyards so they can build tiny homes to shelter homeless people. Nearly 1,900 people sleep outside each night in Portland, with many more sleeping in shelters. The county would build the home, called an Accessory Dwelling Unit, at no cost to the homeowner. A homeless person or family would live in the ADU for five years and after that time, the homeowner would have unrestricted use of the building.
“Shelter beds are amazingly critical,” said Mary Li, the director of Multnomah Idea Lab. “They save lives but none of us wants to think of anyone, particularly a family of children living in a shelter for any period of time. What this does is offer the ability of the homeowner to utilize underutilized space in their backyard.”
Amy Talbert has been homeless for almost a year and is now pregnant with twins. Talbert and her husband have been looking for stable housing since their home in Baton Rouge was flooded.
“I have PTSD and my husband has PTSD, and in the shelters, you are in such close proximity…you don’t feel safe, you don’t feel secure, there’s no privacy,” said Talbert.
She explained that even married couples often get separated in shelters. She and her husband decided to stay in a tent instead. She likes the idea of a tiny home better.
“I think it would be a complete blessing,” Talbert said. “It wouldn’t be a tent. It would be safe and stable.”
According to Li, these homes aren’t meant to be “forever homes,” but safe places for families to live while they search for a permanent home. The county prefers that the donated backyards come from homes close to services such as public transit, public schools, grocery stores, and daycares. The tenants of the ADU would benefit from social services through A Home For Everyone. A tax abatement program is in the works which would exempt homeowners from paying additional taxes.
Multnomah County officials plan to start with just four housing units but hope to expand the program. The county is currently seeking homeowners interested in helping the homeless in a huge way. Two hundred homeowners have already expressed interest in donating their backyards. To sign up, click here.