Athletics, Activities Bus Driver Jim Barr Named 2022 HERO Award Recipient

Some more well-deserved recognition came for a longtime fixture in the local high school athletics scene this week, as activities bus driver Jim Barr was honored with the Canby Educational Foundation’s annual HERO Award at a ceremony Tuesday morning.

Barr, who moved to Canby after retiring from a successful landscaping operation in Wilsonville and Washingston state, has driven the bus for many Canby away games and activities over the past 12 years.

But what he’s most known for, especially to student-athletes, is his being a devoted fan, wearing Canby memorabilia and tiressly rooting for his Cougs at every opportunity.

Barr, who did not know the assembly Tuesday morning was being held in his honor, got the hint soon enough when the packed stands of students began chanting his name and nickname, “Jimbo.”

“He has done a great job building relationships with our kids, and it was awesome to see the standing ovation, chanting, and applause as they showed him how he makes a difference in their lives,” Canby High School Principal Cari Sloan said.

Photos courtesy the Canby Educational Foundation.

“Thanks to the CEF as well for creating the opportunity to recognize unsung heroes such as him.” Barr also received a special appreciation award for his work at the Canby Kiwanis Club’s Kiddie Capers Parade last summer.

Local mom Brooke Toma, who nominated Barr, said she was inspired by watching his enthusiastic support of the Canby Cougar softball team at a game in McMinnville last year.

“I assumed he was a doting grandfather as he was extremely engaged and knew all the girls’ names,” she recalled. “He cheered for every single player and gave such encouragement, surely he had some connection to one of the players. I was caught completely off guard when one of the parents told me he was the bus driver.”

It was truly a heartwarming experience, Toma said.

“He easily could have waited on the bus and read a book or played a game on his phone,” she said. “Instead, he went above and beyond to support these young ladies. It was wonderful to see this display of kindness and care. I had to shake his hand and tell him what an amazing person I thought he was!”

The HERO Award (which stands for humble, encouraging, respectable, outstanding) is presented to a community member with great passion, vision and generosity, who continually goes above and beyond their call of duty while supporting education.

The award is presented in recognition of former founding Canby Educational Foundation Board Member Roger Reif.

“CEF honors Roger’s history of community support and involvement by selecting HEROs that emulate his benevolent nature,” the foundation said in a press release. “CEF has made a $2,500 donation to Canby High School in Jim’s name.

“His name will also appear on a traveling perpetual plaque that will be displayed at the high school until the next winner is named.”

To learn more about the HERO Award, or to nominate someone for the 2022-23 award, visit

Also, support the CEF at its annual fundraiser Casino Royale: An Evening Supporting Canby’s Kids, which is returning after a three-year hiatus. The event begins at 6 p.m. Saturday, February 4, at Willamette Valley Country Club. Sponsorships, full tables and individual tickets are available online.

The mission of CEF is to enhance and enrich education opportunities for all students of the Canby School district through financial assistance and community-wide volunteerism. The funds raised help facilitate and fill financial gaps between district budgets, classroom fundraising and other grants.

CEF was founded in January 1997 and has supported the Canby School District with over $1,000,000 in educational grants generated through private donations, endowments and fundraising efforts.

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