Heroes of the Heart Gala
Our 2013 Heroes of the Heart
Barry & Suzanne Birch, Founders, Birch Community Services
Birch Community Services began as a couple’s desire to help unfortunate families not on public assistance, who just needed a helping hand during difficult times by providing food, clothing, financial education, cooking classes, and moral support. This innovative community service grew into a nationally recognized model serving over 650 families each week in the Portland metro area since 1992. Families involved in the program are required to serve as volunteers, helping their peers. Barry and Suzanne’s dream was to help people in need help themselves. The Birches understood that in order to overcome challenges, their clients needed to learn how to help themselves, give back to others and maintain their dignity. Their mission: To provide a community where people can be responsible and accountable for meeting their basic needs and equip them with the tools to overcome financial difficulties, leading to a life of independence.
Dr. Andrea Cook, President, Warner Pacific College
Dr. Cook is making a difference in the lives of marginalized students by providing scalable access to higher education. She devotes selfless hours of individual mentoring, inspiration and encouragement. She is passionate about educational equality and believes that through Warner’s programs, students that would have stayed in poverty now have an opportunity for personal and financial success. With love, respect, and accountability, she has created the partnership known as Act Six Leadership & Scholarship Initiative that provides full need scholarships for underrepresented students primarily in the Portland area. Dr. Cook has the ability to see the needs of our community and develop resources within the College to empower young people to change the world for the greater good.
Ardina Wang, Volunteer, Living Hope International
Since 1997, every Sunday at 7:30 a.m., Ardina Wang travels to O’Bryant Park in downtown Portland to feed the homeless. Together with people from Living Hope Ministries, they set up portable stoves and tables and prepare full, hot meals for the hungry. As many as 600 people come every Sunday to be fed, and for some of them, it is their only meal all week. An immigrant from the Philippines, Mrs. Wang retired in 2004 after 35 years of service at Adventist Medical Center. Mrs. Wang is a tireless advocate for the homeless with her Sunnyside Seventh-day Adventist Church members. She works tirelessly to obtain food and clothes for distribution to the homeless particularly as the weather gets cold. Because of her dedication, the church adopted the effort as an official outreach ministry.