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Examiner
  • REAL LIFE HEROES

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  • The Flash and Batman met under a tree Saturday morning seeking shade.
    No, you didn't misread that.
    “Nice pecs,” The Flash – or as he's better known Keith Fenwick, chairman of Hillcrest Ministries Board – said to Batman.
    “Oh, thanks. They're kind of drooping,” Scott Cooper, executive director of Hillcrest Ministries, said flicking the batsuit's almost believable musculature.
    The pair was one of a number of the attendees who attended the Superhero Walk for the Homeless this weekend. The event drew around 250 participants – some in superhero attire – and raised more than $500 for the Hillcrest Transitional Housing program.
    The money will go to an intensive intervention program that's experienced broad success empowering area homeless populations and transitioning them into stable households and financially sustainable lifestyles.
    The funds will enable the program's staff to continue to be heroes to the approximately 300 families that the Hillcrest Transitional Housing program serves annually.
    Another set of heroes were there Saturday, members of the local ambulatory service group EMS Workers United. Among their ranks is a Hillcrest Transitional Housing alum and current emergency worker Jenny Nance of Independence.
    Nance was there early on Saturday in spite of her late night saving lives until 10 p.m. the evening before.
    It's a very different life from the one she had 13 years ago struggling – both literally and psychologically – to leave a toxic marriage and moving from apartment to apartment with toddler in tow.
    Nance said the Hillcrest program solved most of her problems almost immediately, everything from hiring a lawyer to resolve her divorce to setting up a checking account for her – all within the program's standard 90-day timeframe.
    Through her efforts, Nance has been able to build a better life for her and her daughters, Kimmy and Kaylee.
    All told, Nance actually balances three roles: emergency worker, mother and student. She's a chemistry student with plans of getting her associate degree in two years, and moving on from there to a doctoral program in pharmacology.
    Though she's a long way from where she was in 2001, Nance said she gets regular brushes with the past as the indigent population regularly uses emergency services. She doesn't tell everyone her story – indeed, one of her coworkers said she'd known her months before he learned all she'd gone through – but every once and again, she'll tell someone her story, someone who could use a leg up.
    “You know, just to give them some hope,” Nance said.
    “And to remind them that it's possible,” she adds nodding inviting blanks to be filled, ambitions to be fulfilled.

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