CENTRAL POINT — The owner of a local sandwich shop hopes it will live up to its name by recognizing local heroes, starting with a public thanks Thursday to 86-year-old police "guardian angel" Dottie Dudley.
Big Town Hero sandwich shop, located in the Albertsons shopping center near Freeman Road, is recognizing the pint-sized woman for six years of volunteering with the city's police force for a total of 2,000 hours.
The shop last month recognized Crater High School student Amanda Hill for her work with Sparrow Clubs last fall.
Dudley is the lead volunteer for Central Point Police Department's "guardian angels," who visit seniors and shut-ins to check on their welfare. She has been with the department since it started its Volunteers in Policing program in 2006 and was a volunteer with Salem police before that.
Dudley says the program seemed like a good way to stay active in her eighth decade. She helped start the guardian angel program in 2008.
"I just go around to all the people around the city who signed up and said they wanted to be visited," she says. "They're alone and a lot of them don't have family here, or anyone to just check and see if they're OK.
"I take a partner and I visit once a week. We have about 50 or so signed up that I go see right now."
Camron Clarkson, owner of Big Town Hero, says the shop hoped to better publicize its new program to recognize local residents in Central Point and at its Ashland location. Clarkson says the shop plans to recognize Colin Carnegie for his role in "saving the city six figures a year" as an unpaid volunteer coordinator with Ashland police.
"This is just a small way for us to show our thanks for these community members that do so much," Clarkson says.
"We're hoping for more heroes to be nominated from our community to help us keep this going."
Central Point police Office Manager Bobbie Pomeroy says Dudley is a deserving volunteer.
"Dottie is one of our charter members of our volunteer program and she goes out once a week to their homes and spends time making sure they're in good health and not needing other services," Pomeroy says.
"The guardian angels program has been her specialty and she really enjoys it. She's a really sweet lady."
Dudley says one of her proudest achievements was receiving her 2,000-hour award in December.
"I guess I've been busy," she says, noting that guardian angel visits take 10 to 12 hours per week with meetings and other community needs commanding additional time.
"I love doing what I do. I stay busy all the time, but I love it and I want to keep going until I can't do it anymore."
Dudley says she was flattered by the sandwich shop recognition.
"I was very elated and surprised. I just try to do what I can to help," she said.
On the Web: www.bigtownhero.com.
Buffy Pollock is a freelance reporter living in Medford. E-mail her at email@example.com