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Sunriver Resort's “For the Love of Community Heroes” campaign invites community members to privately nominate their Oregon hero. In appreciation, we are offering a complimentary two-night stay at Sunriver Resort for some well-earned time to relax & unwind, amidst all the beauty Central Oregon offers.10 winners are selected each week, for 10 weeks. Below are just a few of the stories that our nominees have allowed us to share, more stories to come. We invite you to follow along our 10 week campaign and read all about our amazing Oregon heroes!
Bruce is an incredible volunteer. He is the volunteer construction manager for West Tuality Habitat for Humanity, where he has been an active volunteer on the construction team for five years. Since taking the helm as construction manager, he has overseen the construction of five homes to date, with three more breaking ground this month. Bruce is an incredibly talented master craftsman. His fine art wooden containers and sculptural pieces have been featured at Valley Art Association, another place where Bruce volunteers his time, talent and treasure. He is very involved in his local church, serves as a volunteer to the city Forestry Board, and in his spare time, partners with his wife Katie to care for their young grandchildren so their parents can work during Covid. Bruce is also often found puttering around the neighborhood, helping neighbors with deck rails that need straightening, fence boards that need tightening, and a thousand other small daily kindnesses. Bruce is kind, patient, generous, and has a wonderful, warm, sweet disposition that makes him a joy to work beside, in any capacity. Bruce is the very epitome of a Community Hero and is very deserving of such an honor. That is, if his humility doesn't keep him from accepting it!
Amy is an exceptional person in all aspects, She is a mom of 2 teenage kids, an incredibly supportive daughter-in law to a medically fragile parent and a rockstar nurse on the surgical floor of St Charles Bend. Amy brilliantly advocates for her patients in their medical care and also on a personal level. She takes the time to sit with those who have no family, finding clothes for our homeless patients to wear when they leave, or washing and braiding the hair of elderly lonely patients all comes naturally to her. She makes cakes and cards for their birthdays, she engages with their families with love and compassion. Amy brings joy and positive energy to everyone she engages with, she organizes the potlucks on the unit, she recognizes co-worker's achievements and milestones. Amy organizes the team donation rallies for local non-profits and caregiver hardships. She encourages co-worker health in friendly competitions. Amy also works in the pediatric unit where she loves to play games and do art with children in the hospital. In her downtime at home Amy makes support blankets for co-workers who are having health issues. Amy is known to inspire improv dance parties and sing-alongs at work when stress is high. Amy helps boost morale with great holiday decor at work and fun accessories that make patients smile. Amy is a diabetic educator and volunteers to teach new patients as well as engage in the community with young newly- diagnosed diabetic kids. Amy seems to have endless energy that is constantly renewed by helping others. She is a source of light for everyone around her.
Kevin is an army veteran who dedicates his time, money, and anything he can to the youth soccer community. He originally started coaching for his daughter's team when she was in kindergarten, my son was on that team. This was 8 years ago. Since then he has coached not only that team but has coached his other two children’s teams. He has coached teams who didn’t have coaches just so the kids could play. Throughout the years he was building and working on starting his own nonprofit organization and he put together and runs Coos County Youth Sports. He runs this soccer program during the spring and spends literally all his time at the soccer field so kids have a place to be kids, enjoy the sport of soccer and learn great skills. Any teams they don’t have coaches for he will take on coaching just because he doesn’t want any kids left out. His Mondays to Saturdays are a mixture of practices and games and during his off times he’s renovating a new field that will eventually be the new field for the kids soccer program.
Laura is the Executive Director of the Heart of Oregon Corps (HOC). HOC is a locally-founded nonprofit organization that manages job training, education, and leadership development programs benefiting hundreds of youth ages 16-24 in Central Oregon. Laura has been an exemplary manager in keeping HOC staff serving youth, including those who experience disabilities or at-risk from dysfunctional homes, during this last year impacted by COVID-19.
Laura crafted a COVID-19 operational plan, with consultant's input, for HOC headquarters and for those working in the field. In addition, she trained staff and team leaders to comply with federal agency, state and local partners to enable HOC programs to operate with their guidance. One of the programs managed by HOC is the Department of Labor’s (DOL) YouthBuild. That program includes classes for youth to complete their high school diploma or GED. She, working with staff, implemented a process to have students continue learning online with resources including HOC provided laptop computers. In working with the Board, Laura converted our long term strategic goals to short term objectives, all of which were addressed, including the financial underwriting of the organization with a PPP loan. We all know how hard it has been to raise funds during this time. Laura canceled the annual fundraiser in September and pivoted to an end of year annual campaign that honored HOC’s 20 years of service in the Central Oregon community. The $65k funds raised exceeded Board expectations. HOC never had to lay off employees. Laura also stepped up to assume the responsibilities for grant management when one of her senior managers needed to stay home with her children. She also managed a disperse organization with operations in Bend, Madras, Redmond, Sisters and Prineville while out of the office. Finally, the Board was gratified when presented with an annual audit in February that showed no deficiencies in financial management last year, which is very high praise indeed for any nonprofit.
I, and the rest of the Board, are grateful for the talent Laura has brought to HOC, but during the last year during COVID-19 she has exceeded all expectations with her love of the organization, her skills and her commitment to youth in Central Oregon.
Greg is a well loved and respected RN in what is typically a neuro floor at a hospital in Portland. He has won peer nominated awards and often receives notes of gratitude from his patients and their families for going above and beyond. He also mentors nursing students and new hires. He was one of the first to be assigned to the Covid unit last spring and spent months caring for Covid positive patients much of the time without proper protection available. During this extremely stressful time he still managed to be an awesome father, dog dad, and caring husband. I'd love to show him some appreciation for his dedication to his patients, family and the members of our community by nominating him for this award. All travel plans last year were cancelled of course, but he certainly deserves a break and a getaway to Sunriver would be amazing for him. Thank you for your consideration!
I am very blessed to have sons who are Essential Workers serving in Central Oregon. My son Cameron is a Corrections Deputy and has been taking care of inmates all through the pandemic and continues. He comes from a Law Enforcement family and was his dream job to serve and protect even as a little boy seeing his Dad graduate from the Police Academy. I could not be proud of the daily service they provide. Thank you for the opportunity to praise all Essential Workers.
I would like to nominate my husband for your hero giveaway. 2020 was a big year for many people in many different ways. Sometimes you have to look harder for the good things in life and that was especially true for us being frontline workers and navigating a new marriage in the middle of a pandemic. With that said, Hunter always seems to be able to look towards the positive and his level of perseverance throughout this last year has meant everything to me. As a law enforcement officer, Hunter faced a lot difficult conversations within our communities that challenged a lot of our belief sets. How does one respond when someone tells you the thing you have dedicated your life to and believe in wholeheartedly has negatively impacted the lives of others and unjustly left people in our community quite literally scared for their lives. Well it is a hard pill to swallow and requires a lot of reflection, listening and an even stronger commitment to protecting and serving ALL in a community. Many nights I felt like it was not worth it, why risk your safety everyday at work when he could be safe at home at night. Hunter never saw it way, he is the kind of person who thinks, "if not me, than who? I can be the one who makes a difference". Which I believe makes him a hero, or at least, my hero. Writing about my husband and his career feels very uncomfortable for me and there are SO many hero's who's stories deserve to be shared, but my hope is to someday show my husband that he is appreciated for what he does and he is valued. Sunriver is a very special place for us, it is where he proposed and is our favorite place to take in all the things we love about Oregon. So for that reason, thank YOU, reader, for being apart of something that means so much to us.
Jackie is a hero in our community. As the CEO of the Native American Rehabilitation Association of the Northwest and a very engaged Board Member and Committee Chair at Health Share of Oregon, Jackie is a passionate champion for health equity for tribal community members and all people of color. Through the COVID crisis, she has kept her organization providing accessible and culturally specific substance use, mental health, and medical services, fearlessly getting more PPE and employee recognition awards for her staff, and providing access to her community for food, education, and mental health supports. Jackie shows up every time and everywhere she is needed and works tirelessly, with fierce loyalty and endless good will and humor, to ensure her community is cared for. Her heart and love for all beings are bigger than the Columbia River. She even recently adopted two rescue dogs, a mom and pup, to give them a forever home. She is a true community hero!