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Mother of slain Reynolds student receives award

Nominated by community members, Jennifer Hoffman has been awarded the Sam Cox Humanitarian of the Year Award.

“As a community service club, it is important to us to encourage others who are performing humanitarian service and to pause periodically and say, ‘Thank You.’ We select someone from our general area to be recognized,” said Cindy Brown, Troutdale Lions Club secretary. “The winner is a citizen who practices and exemplifies the virtues of community involvement, promotes activities or actions for the better good of their community.”

Hoffman is known in the community after her son Emilio was killed June 10, 2014, in a shooting at Reynolds High School. The Lions Club selected her for this honor because of her response to that tragedy.

“She overcame tragedy and formed Emilio Inc. to honor the memory of her son and to raise awareness and promote education regarding mental health challenges and preventing youth violence,” Brown said. “She demonstrates amazing strength and courage every day as she puts the needs of her community at the forefront. She is committed to making our community safe and increasing the quality of life for all our children.”

Emilio Inc. raises awareness about mental health issues at community events, board meetings and school events.

“Why is it so hard to talk about mental health? It’s hard because our society makes it hard by creating a stigma about it. Every single one of us are affected by mental health. Think for a minute, whether you have depression or anxiety, that is not really the question ... We all know someone who has or have had struggles with mental health. Maybe a friend, a parent, a sibling, a classmate or an aunt or an uncle. It truly affects all of us,” Hoffman writes on her organization’s website, EmilioInc.org. “We all matter. So let’s talk about it. Let’s talk about it a lot.”

Hoffman joins past winners including Jorgan Shaw, Scott Anderson and Leslie Daoust. She will receive a plaque at noon during Troutdale SummerFest, Saturday July 18, at the entertainment stage in Glen Otto Park on Historic Columbia River Highway at Troutdale Bridge.

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