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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

The Spokesman-Review honors 2023 Difference Makers at dessert reception

Lung cancer surgery didn’t stop April Anderson from organizing 2022’s Unity in the Community celebration.

“It should have, but it didn’t,” Anderson said.

Anderson is one of the lead organizers of the annual summer tradition that brings together Spokane’s ethnic and immigrant communities to showcase their culture and educate children.

She was one of about a dozen people nominated as a 2023 Spokesman-Review Difference Maker, who were honored at the newspaper’s dessert reception Tuesday night atop the Chronicle Building in downtown Spokane.

The newspaper presented framed copies of their Difference Makers stories, which ran in the newspaper in late December and early January.

At the end of each year, The Spokesman-Review and its readers select area residents who made a difference that year. These people helped those in need or brought attention and solutions to challenges facing the Inland Northwest. The stories are sponsored by Numerica Credit Union.

“The idea was that we would end the last 10 days of the year every year with a hero,” Spokesman-Review Editor Rob Curley said at the event.

Curley talked about a few of the Difference Makers on Tuesday before presenting them with a framed edition of that person’s story.

Married couple Terry and Bev Rees, of Elk, were two Difference Makers.

The couple and their two employees saved several houses from the Oregon Road fire’s destruction by spraying their neighbors’ properties with water from an old water truck and fire engine.

“We would do it again in a heartbeat,” Bev Rees said Tuesday.

Anderson said she was diagnosed with cancer in June 2022, two months before Unity in the Community, and had surgery immediately. The surgery was a success, and she’s been in remission ever since.

Anderson said she had spent months planning for the August event, and she didn’t want the surgery to derail her efforts.

“It’s such a labor of love to put it on and see everybody come together from all backgrounds and all abilities and cultures and stuff,” Anderson said.