Roseburg community mourning after loss of a local figure
ROSEBURG, Ore. - The Roseburg community is mourning the passing of a local store manager who will be remembered as a hero.
Tracy Balenger, a 52-year-old Fred Meyer Store Manager, passed away last week, and his coworkers couldn't believe he was gone.
"My right hand man," said Micole Fallon, a Fred Meyer employee. "He would do anything for anybody in this store. He was genuine, kind hearted, giving, very giving."
The loss is also felt by many in Roseburg who remember him not only as an avid fisherman, but as a local hero.
It was back in 2016 when Tracy saved a woman's life when she was choking on a spoonful of peanut butter inside the store.
His heroic act earned him the Lifesaver Award from the Roseburg Fire Department, and to some people it wasn't a surprise that he sprang into action to help that day.
"He was the kind of guy that would just see something, and if it was needed, he would do it. He was there," said Heather Salberg, a frequent customer at Fred Meyer.
Customers say it will take time to heal after his loss.
"I haven't been able to step foot in there yet, because every time I pull in, and drive past, I expect to see him," said Salberg. "And I know once I walk in there, he's not going to be there."
For his coworkers, they say they will never forget the way he treated others.
"He loved his customers," said Fallon. "He treated his customers like they were family."
A celebration of life is planned for Tracy next week for the community to come together and remember a local hero.
The family has set up a GoFundMe page to help his wife, Elizabeth.
Donations can also be made at any Chase bank, to Elizabeth Belanger or Tracy Belanger. Specify account ending #6047. Chase will accept a check or money order.
Cards can be dropped off at Chapel of Roses. 965 W Harvard Ave. in Roseburg.