Commissioners honor fire hero

Lt. Charles DeJesus of the Salvation Army was honored Tuesday morning by Salem-based for his dedication to feeding families displaced by last September’s wildfires, first at the Linn County Fair & Expo Center and then for many weeks delivering meals daily in the Santiam Canyon.

Dr. Rebecca Bolante presented DeJesus with a plaque crafted from ashes recovered from the canyon fire.

Commissioner Will Tucker praised DeJesus for his commitment to feeding more than 700 people who spent a week at a temporary shelter set up at the fairgrounds.

He and others provided more than 7,700 meals in Linn and Benton counties.

When the shelter was decommissioned, DeJesus cooked and delivered meals – about 5,000 of them – to Santiam Canyon families for nearly two months. DeJesus worked 18-hour days for weeks.

Tucker said DeJesus was “amazing. You served us very, very well and we appreciate you.”

“It’s incredibly humbling,” DeJesus said after the meeting. “It is great to see the Lord’s work is getting recognized through the Salvation Army.

I only played a small part as the local Salvation Army representative.” provides a variety of services surrounding crisis situations including consultations, threat assessments and psychological first aid.

Staff members provided support for local volunteers during the September wildfires.

In other business, the commissioners:

–  Learned from Director Tori Lynn that the Juvenile Department had 29 referrals in March. There are 200 young people in the probation unit, of which 22 are considered high-risk.

Five young people will soon take part in a two-week virtual heavy equipment training program. When completed, they will be certified to operate heavy equipment. Lynn said the program normally costs $6,000 to $7,000 per person.

–  Approved a contract for $66,994 with OEG Inc. to install a new electrical panel for the courthouse.

– Alex Paul, Linn County Communications Officer