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Kelly Broomall named Troutdale Lions' volunteer of the year

Retiree best known for making wooden toys for kids -


PMG FILE PHOTO - Kelly Broomall, left, helps build a wooden doll crib inside Gresham's Boeing facility in 2011. Broomall has been named the Sam Cox Humanitarian of the Year.The Troutdale Lions Club has named Kelly Broomall this year’s winner of the Sam Cox Humanitarian of the Year Award. The award honors Broomall for his outstanding volunteer contributions to the community.

Broomall, 73, is a former marine and spent 32 years working as an industrial engineer for Boeing. He’s involved with a variety of volunteer initiatives, including Honor Flight, Troutdale's Rail Depot & End of the Line Museum, and SnowCap, an East Multnomah County nonprofit social services agency.

“I’ve always been out in the community,” Broomall says. “I just wanted to do something more local, and I hadn’t had time to do it.”

Broomall is perhaps best known for his work making wooden toys for children as part of the Holiday Community Outreach Program, which he co-founded in 1979.

Originally focused on collecting supplies for local food banks, the group shifted focus in 1981 to making wooden toys for children. After Sept. 11, 2001, the group sent 150 wooden cradles to the families of first responders who had died during the terrorist attacks.

Though the program officially ended in December 2013, Broomall says the group still gathers monthly for breakfast.

As part of his work for Honor Flight, Broomall journeyed with 50 World War II veterans to Washington, D.C., where the group visited the WW II, Korean and Vietnam memorials.

“We had a couple of vets who had served in World War II, Korea and Vietnam … so we made sure they saw all three,” Broomall explains.

Though Honor Flight is free for veterans, volunteers such as Kelly had to pay their own way. He says it cost him between $1,400 to $1,200 to attend, though he attests that the experience was well worth it.

“It was nice being with the WWII vets. I have a lot of respect for them. I love listening to their stories,” Broomall told the Outlook in February.

To round out an already impressive schedule, Broomall spends his Fridays volunteering at Troutdale’s train museum. On Tuesdays, he helps sort and shelf supplies donated to Schoolhouse Supplies at Madison High School. Schoolhouse operates a free store where teachers can find educational materials. Broomall also is involved with the effort to build Visionary Park.

The humanitarian award was created as a memorial to honor longtime Troutdale mayor Sam Cox.

Normally, the Lions Club would present Broomall with a plaque honoring his service as part of Troutdale’s SummerFest this Saturday, July 23. Unfortunately, a funeral that Broomall plans to attend for a fellow wooden toy-maker is scheduled at the same time.

“There are lots of other people who are more deserving (of this award) than I am,” Broomall says. “I shy away from most of it.”

Recent winners of the Sam Cox Humanitarian of the Year Award include Jennifer Hoffman (2014), Jorgan Shaw (2013), Scott Anderson (2012) and Leslie Daoust (2011).