Nick Papadopolous is being hailed as a hero, though he's not sort of one who saves people's lives.
Or is he?
The Petaluma family farmer is one of 19 North Coast residents who will be honored Thursday morning by the regional American Red Cross chapter as "Real Heroes."
2014 Red Cross Real Heroes
Animal Hero: Chris Kittredge (Santa Rosa) Chris has volunteered with Canine Companions for Independence for over 20 years, raising dozens of puppies to become service dogs for people with disabilities. COURTESY PHOTO
Law Enforcement: Deputy Christopher Chwialkowski, Deputy Nicholas La Velle, and Firefighter/EMT Laura Carr (Clear Lake) These three first responders rescued a 71-year-old woman whose truck was completely submerged in Clear Lake following a crash. COURTESY PHOTO
Humanitarian Adult: George Kennedy (Ukiah) George is the second biggest volunteer at the Ukiah Senior Center, spending over 35 hours per week running the lunch program among other duties. COURTESY PHOTO
Heroic Deed: Jason O'Donnell, Heath Blackwell, Ken Butler, Jack Johnson, Robert Winn (Stewarts Point) The three men recovered the body of diver Craig Willes two days after rescue crews had given up their search. COURTESY PHOTO
Humanitarian Youth: Riley Orton (Kenwood)Riley organized numerous drives and fundraisers for children in the region and abroad. COURTESY PHOTO
Education: John Bribiescas (Santa Rosa)John co-founded Schools Plus, a nonprofit program developed to save and supplement enrichment programs throughout Santa Rosa schools. COURTESY PHOTO
Environment: Nick Papadopoulos and Gary Cedar (Petaluma)Nick and Gary co-founded CropMobster.com, an online platform that connects food producers to hungry consumers through crowd-sourcing on the internet. COURTESY PHOTO
Medical: Sara O'Donnell (Ukiah) Sara co-founded the Cancer Resource Center of Mendocino County the first non-facility based cancer resource center from Marin County to the California-Oregon border. COURTESY PHOTO
Rescue Professional: Paul Bradley, Donald Ricci and Deputy Chris Mahoney (Santa Rosa) The three men airlifted several rescue volunteers, trapped on the side of a large cliff, to safety following their nighttime rescue of an injured hiker. COURTESY PHOTO
Military: Tim Blair (Rohnert Park)Sponsored by Merrill LynchTim founded Transformational Sailing in 2002, a program that helps military veterans and others suffering from PTSD. COURTESY PHOTO
Organized into 10 categories of heroic service to others, the award recipients at a Red Cross fundraising breakfast at Rohnert Park DoubleTree Hotel will include rescue professionals who plucked imperiled people from a cliff, and law enforcement officers who dived into Clear Lake to save an elderly motorist.
The farmer's heroism is subtler.
Papadopolous will be cheered for his use of social media to get unsold or otherwise unused produce to people in need before the vegetables, fruits and other agricultural products spoil or are thrown away.
Papadopolous, general manager of Bloomfield Organics, will accept the award with Gary Cedar of Sebastopol. They and Cedar's wife, Joanna, co-founded CropMobster.com, the online platform that produces alerts that help to find people in need of food that otherwise would be fed to livestock or go into the compost heap or landfill.
"We're just a little over year in, and the inspiration and impact has been remarkable," Papadopolous said. He figures that the information shared on CropMobster.com has prevented the discarding of at least half of million pounds of food.
As a bonus, he said, farmers and ranchers in the region have attracted attention, and sales, from people formerly unaware of them and the food they raise.
Papadopolous is working to spread the CropMobster concept to other areas.