PORTLAND, Ore. – With 2010 now behind us, we wanted to give you a quick update on a few of our Everyday Heroes to find out what they've been up to since we first met them.
Homes for our troops
We begin in Sandy, Ore., where volunteers from a group called "Homes for our troops" was just starting construction on its first Oregon home. On Dec. 11, members of "Homes for our troops" handed the key to their newly-built house to Army Specialist Kevin Pannell.
Pannell lost both his legs in Iraq after his unit was ambushed. Until now, he and his wife and son had been living in an apartment.
Homes for our troops is working on another house right now for an injured Oregon soldier. Staff Sergeant Christian Bagge will move into a new home next February. This second home is being completed in Sandy, Ore.
My little waiting room
Our next set of Everyday Heroes has become heroes to many parents. Back in April, Amy Paterson and Melissa Moore opened "My Little Waiting Room" at Providence St. Vincent Medical Center. It's a free drop-in childcare center for parents who need a safe place for their kids while they take care of their medical needs.
And it's the first of its kind in Oregon.
Since April, My Little Waiting Room has helped more than 1,000 children in 2010.
"My favorite comments are from the children..." said co-founder Paterson. "Many will say, 'When can we go to the hospital so that I can go to my little waiting room?' When we hear that, we've really done something right here."
Recently My Little Waiting Room received a "Light a fire" nonprofit award from "Portland Monthly" magazine. Plans now are in the works to expand waiting room hours and services through a major grant the organization has just received.
One toy, one smile
And when we think of kids helping kids, this fella always comes to mind: We first told you about 11-year-old Jacob Albin last year when he started a toy drive for kids with cancer. It's his way of giving back to the Children's Cancer Association for its help while he underwent chemotherapy for leukemia.
A year later, his "One toy, one smile" campaign is going strong.
In 2010 he collected about $18,000 worth of toys, cash and gift cards. This amount is double the amount the pre-teen gathered in 2009.
What's next for Jacob? He'll start preparing for the 2011 "One toy, one smile" campaign in February.