Everyday Heroes: Todd Kirnan, aka 'Mister Gresham,' gets a parade and a bronze statue
The city of Gresham and its citizens will honor one of their own Saturday with a parade and the unveiling of a bronze statue.
Anybody and everybody who lives, works or shops downtown in Oregon’s fourth largest city knows him as "Mister Gresham."
Mister Gresham is on the move.
Todd Kirnan may be autistic, he may have been abused and then rescued by police as a child, but Gresham business owners have lifted him up.
And he has lifted them.
“We’re going to go get the order for Judy Wylie and then take it to her and Theresa at Frenzi who said, 'Why, I’ve got to call Todd,' and I said, 'Well, I’ve got his phone,'” said Judy Han as she walked down the street with Kirnan.
The two delivered lunch to Judy Wylie, owner of the fashion accessories store, Accent on Attitude.
“Thank you so much for delivering my lunch,” Wylie said. "That’s for Judy,” she said as she paid Judy Han of Sunny Han’s restaurant. “And that’s for you. Thank you so much Todd.”
Most days, that’s where you’ll find Mister Gresham. He delivers lunches and so much more.
“He is like an Uber on legs,” Judy Han said. “We see Todd every day, sometimes six times a day, sometimes more. Picking up and delivering orders. And he’s just a man about town.
“I don’t know what we’d do without Todd. Everybody has embraced Todd in this community.”
Han said she was approached last year by community members who wanted to honor Todd with a bronze statue.
“Gresham’s a big spread out city, but it has a small town heart,” she said. “And that is shown with all of the support that’s come every day. Every day I got envelopes of dollars left at the counter. Money for Todd’s statue, Todd’s statue, Todd’s statue.
“We’ve had donations from five thousand to five dollars
And so on Saturday Mr. Gresham will get his statue at the corner of Northeast Third and Main Street.
It will share the center of town with sculptor Heather Soderberg's great blue heron named “Blue”; Soderberg’s sculpture of Driscoll, the seeing-eye dog; and the teddy bear parade statue, made by a different artist.
Soderberg agreed to design and craft Mister Gresham’s statue.
“We talked to her about it and said would you? And after she met Todd she said, I’m in,” Han said.
Gresham Mayor Shane Bemis has known Todd since they went to high school together.
“Todd’s locker was next to mine. He was just always my buddy and we hung out together in high school and went to Blazer games and bowling and all kinds of fun stuff,” Bemis said. “This community just lifts him up and loves on him and supports him and it’s just been absolutely wonderful to see.”
Todd is a simple man with simple tastes.
He loves the Portland Trail Blazers.
For his life-size statue, he'll be wearing number 22, Clyde Drexler’s jersey.
But mostly, he likes to help others.
“They all take good care of me around here,” he said as he stood on the spot against a brick wall outside Café Delirium where the statute will be erected. “I just love this little cute town, and I’m glad to be here.”
And it's clear that the business owners he helps are glad he's here too.
“There is nobody else available who would do what Todd does in such a happy manner,” Judy Wylie of Accent of Attitude said. "He often gets my lunch, he’ll take my sign down, my A-board sign down to corner for me,” she said. “He’ll take my garbage out, he’ll take my recycle out. He just helps us a whole lot."
Judy Han says that in a world of divisive politics, Todd reminds people of what's important in life.
“He’s like our go-to person,” she said. “He’s the pulse of the community. He’s opened all of our hearts.”
How does Mister Gresham feel about all the attention?
"It makes me feel good inside because I earned it,” he said.