It’s almost impossible to imagine the United Community Action Network being steered by anyone other than Mike Fieldman.

His indelible contributions to this community — that have rippled far beyond our county’s borders — are too numerous to list and far more deserving than words alone can award.

Fieldman announced his retirement Wednesday after 20 years at UCAN. During his tenure, Fieldman grew the nonprofit into one of the county’s largest and began operating in Josephine County. UCAN has always had a mission of providing housing, food and other services to the poor, and under Fieldman’s watch, each of those areas were expanded.

“We have a responsibility when we see something wrong to try to correct it,” Fieldman told The News-Review in 2013. “I strongly believe we are all equal and should all have the same opportunities.”

Fieldman grew up in Chicago, surrounded by the very rich and the very poor. He went to school with kids who had indoor pools and others who lived in ghetto-like conditions. And from an early age, that bothered him, because he didn’t think it was fair for a kid who had access to a larger bank account to have a better chance of succeeding.

That empathetic and compassionate view drives Fieldman to this day, which you can sense whenever to greet the man. His humble demeanor, mixed with his love for this community, which is nothing short of contagious, is exactly what this world needs more of.

We’re sad to hear of his retirement, but certain that the work and goodwill Fieldman spread throughout his career will drive this community for years to come.

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