Philadelphia’s Heroes of the Year

Local Hero of the Year:

The green activist, Paul Glover
Glover is a longtime grassroots organizer and author; and in 2007, he founded the Philadelphia Orchard Project, which plants orchards in vacant lots and yards in order to grow food locally.
The organization has planted 22 orchards throughout the city and about 250 trees. Glover also wrote “Green Jobs Philly: 100,000 New Jobs that Rebuild Philadelphia’s Neighborhoods and Clean the Environment” and teaches geography and urban studies at Temple University.
Before coming to Philadelphia, he worked as a planner in Los Angeles, Calif., and Ithaca, N.Y., where he ran for mayor. He operates a community development firm called GreenPlanners. –Solomon D. Leach/Metro

The politician, Patrick Murphy
U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Bucks/Philadelphia, may have lost his re-election bid to Republican Mike Fitzpatrick, but not before hearing from the top with a call from the White House this week.

Minutes after the Senate voted to repeal “don’t ask, don’t tell,” President Obama called Murphy to invite him to the bill-signing ceremony. The president congratulated Murphy for “making American history,” the young congressman told Metro last week.

Murphy, the first Iraq veteran in Congress, introduced the bill that will end the ban on openly gay people serving in the military.

Murphy, 37, received the Bronze Star for his service in Iraq and also helped rewrite the Iraqi criminal code. –Laura Goldman/Metro

The survivor, Kim Pawlowski
Last year, Pawlowski lost her husband, police officer John — every wife’s nightmare. When a jury didn’t sentence his killer to death, Kim was angry, but composed. She didn’t lash out. She just left the room.

These days, even strangers offer support. Last week, someone approached her at the Cherry Hill Mall to give her a police officer Christmas ornament. “Little things like that help. It’s nice to know people still care. It’s difficult to think about all the time. Bittersweet. But, I’d rather people not forget.” –Brian Hickey/Metro

The perfect neighbor, Eric Barnes
Barnes is a self-employed contractor who is considered a recognizable face in his community by some neighbors because he spends much of his time volunteering at a local community center and helping to keep his Tioga neighborhood clean. Around the holidays, Barnes does free home installations for seniors and low-income families. The 36-year-old lifelong Philadelphian also sweeps his block several times a week. –Solomon D. Leach/Metro

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