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Inland Northwest difference makers: Calling for nominations

During the past year, people living in the Spokane region have shown courage, generosity and love to one another.

While news reports so often focus on controversy and wrongdoing, behind almost every story is someone who set aside their own self-interest to do the right thing.

The Spokesman-Review plans to publish 10 stories at the end of this year recognizing some of those who made a difference in our community, and we need the help of our readers.

We’re seeking nominations of difference makers who did something extraordinary within the past year that reflects the best of the Inland Northwest.

Please consider filling out our online form at if you know of someone deserving of the designation. Some of them took lofty ideas and turned them into concrete projects. Others acted out of selflessness in a desperate moment. All deserve to be recognized.

Last year we wrote about:

    Jessica Kovac, who has helped feed and clothe thousands of Spokane’s poor through her Blessings Under the Bridge.

    Cooper Kupp, the standout EWU football player who was a special teammate and student who led by example.

    Dr. Matt Layton, whose ideas and work are helping to change how the community treats people with mental illness and drug addiction.

    Phil Tyler, a leader in Spokane’s black community who brings grace and tenacity to our region’s continuing fight against hate.

    Elson Floyd, the late president of Washington State University whose leadership brought a medical school to Spokane.

    Traci Ponto, the Spokane police officer who works closely with the people of the West Central neighborhood.

    Families behind the Washington State Fallen Heroes Project, which spearheaded the installation of a memorial at the Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena.

    John Padula, outreach pastor of the Altar Church in Coeur d’Alene who led the congregation and the church ministry in the aftermath of the tragic shooting of his mentor Pastor Tim Remington.

    Ava Sharifi, who delivered a poignant speech about tolerance and her own experience with acceptance to her Lewis and Clark High School classmates. Her inspirational speech went viral.

    Rob McCann, the executive director of Catholic Charities, whose audacious goal of ending homelessness in Spokane has brought about housing and care for the region’s most vulnerable.

We believe this year’s difference makers will be every bit as important in the lives of readers and community.

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