GRESHAM, Ore. — The city of Gresham is about to give a huge honor to one of its longtime citizens, for just being a good person. Community members will unveil a bronze statue of Todd Kirnan, on Saturday in downtown Gresham.
If you've spent any time in downtown Gresham, chances are you've met Kirnan. He loves his city and has never let the fact that he has autism get in the way of making it better through work, or just stopping to tell someone they're nice.
“I just love to make people happy all the time, that's my job,” Kirnan said.
Technically Kirnan’s job is “Man About Town—it says so on his business card. “It's a delivery job,” clarified Kirnan. Whether he’s picking up and delivering lunches and coffee orders, or emptying an overflowing garbage can, he visits the businesses that line downtown Gresham multiple times a day.
“I don't know what we would do if he wasn't down here,” hairstylist and longtime friend Kristi Farr said. “He's just amazing. He’s probably is the kindest person I know.”
“You can't go anywhere with him without somebody knowing him,” Gresham Mayor, Shane Bemis said. “That's why everyone calls him Mr. Gresham.”
Bemis and Kirnan go way back. Both are 1991 graduates of Gresham High School. They became friends when Bemis served as an aid in Kirnan’s special education P.E. class.
“You can always count on Todd to see him walking down Main Street smiling, telling people ‘you're nice,’” Bemis said. “He's always positive and smiling no matter what's happening in the world or in his day.”
And that—not earning millions or heading up a corporation—is the yeoman’s work that his city is about to honor, by dedicating that bronze statue of Kirnan, paid in full by donations.
“The community is the one who came to us and said will you do this?” Judy Han said.
Han started Gresham’s Outdoor Public Art initiative which has commissioned several other bronze statues in downtown Gresham. To her, no one deserves the honor more than Kirnan.
“Todd has a cell phone but he's not on it, only to do his orders, she said. He puts the cell phone down and he's saying hello, he's greeting people. He's shown us our own humanity.”
Kirnan was thrilled to hear of the honor.
“It makes me feel good inside,” he said. “I'm glad I have all these friends in Gresham because they care about me and love me around here—this whole town does.”
A love soon to be immortalized in bronze.
The city will unveil Kirnan’s statue at a community celebration including a mini-parade on Saturday from 10 a.m. until to noon in downtown Gresham.