Community Heroes

Firefighter and a young boy wearing a firefighter's hat

Our Community is Full of Heroes

Our doctors and nurses, first responders and teachers come to mind, but so do those who grow our food, stock our grocery store shelves, and deliver our mail. The COVID-19 pandemic forced all of us to stop and reflect. Neighbors, friends, co-workers and community leaders – we are all called to serve. Despite the inherent challenges the pandemic presents, it continues to inspire members of our community to step up for each other.

Together, we’re facing this unprecedented time. As Boiseans, you’ve demonstrated you’ll step in and care for those who need it, that you care deeply for this city we all love, and that you continue to want to work together to help shape our future while protecting what we all know Boise to be.

These community heroes demonstrate the very core of what makes Boise such an incredible place to call home. Your stories deserve to be told and preserved so future generations can learn more about the history and soul of our city. Our community is a resilient community because of each and every one of you.

Thank You, Boise

Thank you for your kindness, your dedication and your sacrifice. It’s an honor to know you and to serve alongside you. Because of you, Boise’s future – our future – is brighter.

A healthcare worker wearing a mask and face shield takes a patient's temperature.

Healthcare Workers

Healthcare workers are on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. Doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists and countless support staff put their own health and mental wellbeing on the line to take care of our sick and hurting.

These heroes continue to work hard day in and day out despite being tired and overwhelmed. They pull from reserves they never knew they had because their calling is the care of our community.

These selfless individuals come from all backgrounds and deserve all of our gratitude. From Primary Health to St. Luke’s, Saint Alphonsus, Saltzer Health, and every clinic, practice, and urgent care in between, you are the ultimate community heroes in Boise. Thank you for your service and your sacrifice.

Man sitting at a table in a restaurant in front of a mural.

Javier Andrade

Javier stepped up to feed our community when so many were struggling to put food on the table. He’s offered free meals, no questions asked, at his namesake restaurant on the Boise Bench since the pandemic began. He looks out for our community and inspires us all to be better. For those
reasons and more, he is a community hero.

Teenage boy stands in front of a van and a high school.

Luc Swensson

“When the COVID19 pandemic interrupted his ability to reach kids through school appearances, he founded Camp HOLO, a summer camp for kids struggling with bullying and self esteem issues. Luc hosted 24 kids in McCall this summer at no cost to their families and introduced them to several teenage mentors and role models during the three day camp. He equipped them with the tools to overcome their struggles and gave them the encouragement to become the very best versions of themselves.”

Thor Swensson

Smiling woman in a yellow sweater stands in front of a blackboard that says Whitney Community Center

Barbara English

“There have been countless unsung heroes during the COVID-19 crisis, and Barbara and her Whitney team are certainly some of them. During the most difficult times of the pandemic, Barbara was still showing up for the kids who had nowhere else to go. She literally put her life on the line to keep these kids learning, engaged, and headed toward a brighter future. I consider Barbara a “multiplier,” meaning her love and care grows exponentially with everyone she interacts with.”

Jimmy Hallyburton

Four smiling people sit at a table.

City of Good

This nonprofit group made up of local business owners and civic organizations connected farmers and food sources with people facing food insecurity during the height of pandemic shutdowns. These innovative residents are committed to our community and driven by a passion to support local businesses while helping those in need. Through meal kits and boxes, they are forwarding their core mission to support at-risk, food insecure kids and families. Their commitment to a resilient Boise is inspirational.

Teacher helps young student work on the computer.

Teachers and School Staff

The COVID-19 pandemic turned classrooms upside down. To protect students many schools closed, and teachers, parents and students took on the new challenge of remote learning.

Our teachers learned to innovate and continued to connect with students over screens. Staff provided lunches to students who rely on school meals so they had a nutritious option each day. And members of the City of Boise’s school-based community center team stood up day-long care centers for the children of essential workers at the height of the pandemic. Teachers and school support staff are community heroes for their ability to adapt while caring for the next generation of Boiseans. Our children and families are resilient because of your dedication to their success.

A woman and a man sit in a driveway surrounded by four dogs.

Danette Phelan

“When the pandemic hit Idaho in March 2020, my neighbor Danette, a retired nurse, contacted all the neighbors of our SE Boise 8 home cul de sac and invited everyone to bring chairs outside on Saturday evenings for a socially distanced get together. At the time we barely knew each other. For many of us, this weekly gathering was the only inperson social interaction of the week. Through these conversations we got to know each other, cheered each other up, and supported each other in times of need. Danette built a community in our cul de sac that made the pandemic more bearable, where everybody was welcome and everybody left each week with a sense of belonging and much needed optimism. The gatherings are still taking place and I have the hunch they will continue past the pandemic!”

Ariela Gruszka

Two women and a man sit in chairs facing the camera.
Treacy Liebich, Tommy Ahlquist and Andrea Clark Roope

Campaign to End Family Homelessness

The co-chairs of the Campaign to End Family Homelessness have stepped up to support the vulnerable in Boise. Through public-private partnership, they’re working alongside the City of Boise to build a network of supportive housing for residents in need. This dedicated team of community leaders has answered the call with a drive to get families off of wait lists and into permanent homes. They are building important partnerships, securing donations and motivating everyone in Boise to get involved in this important cause.

A group of employees at the Good Samaritan Home stand in front of the building

Good Samaritan Home

“The Good Samaritan Home was able to keep 100% of their residents COVID free.”

Danielle Sanders

Three woman wearing masks stand together.
Boise City/Ada County Housing Authorities
Group of employees at Jesse Tree stand in front of a building.
Jesse Tree
Group of six people sit around a large table.
Idaho Housing and Finance Association

Housing Organizations

Boise City/Ada County Housing Authorities

Jesse Tree

Idaho Housing and Finance Association

“These organizations implemented Emergency Rental Assistance Programs in Boise. Their diligence protected families that had been affected by COVID-19 by helping them pay rent and avoid possible eviction. This not only kept the families safe, it protected the larger community from this being a possible source for spreading the virus.”

Gary Hanes

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