Community Service Highlighted at DSA Banquet
Like past recipients, the 2016 Hermiston Man and Woman of the Year share something in common with one another – a deep commitment to their community and the people who live here.
Pat Hart and Liz Marvin took home the top awards during Wednesday night’s Distinguished Service Awards banquet put on by the Hermiston Chamber of Commerce.
And Award of Merit winner Charlie Clupny brought the crowd to its feet with his emotional speech.
Man of the Year
“Pat Hart has been a servant of Hermiston his entire professional life,” wrote Carlisle Harrison in his letter nominating Hart. “As I travel about town, I see Pat participating in other organization’s activities. It’s one thing to be an active support in the organization in which you belong, it is another thing to support other civic organizations’ activities, as well.”
Hart, who worked his way up the proverbial fire ladder to become Hermiston’s fire chief, has been active in the Hermiston Rotary Club, including a stint as club president.
“There are many deserving people in Hermiston who willingly give of their time to serve on boards and committees, but few provide the service Pat provides through his ‘boots on the ground’ leadership,” wrote Harrison.
Ric Sherman shared a story about Hart’s generosity. Sherman said that when Hart learned that a Hermiston High School senior’s family could not afford senior pictures, Hart utilized his photography skills and took the girl’s pictures, put the prints in a photo package and gave them to her as a gift to her family.
Hart was also instrumental in forming a political action committee to raise funds to help create Umatilla Fire District No. 1. He is also a regular volunteer at the Community Fellowship Dinners held during the holidays.
“This is a great community and I am so happy I was able to settle here and work for the fire service for so many years,” Hart said. “Thank you for all you do for this community.”
Woman of the Year
Through her role as Project Collegebound Coordinator at Hermiston High School, Liz Marvin works with all grade levels to help create a college-going culture. She helped get a grant for the elementary schools for college process curriculum and coordinates a college visit for all elementary schools. At both the elementary and middle schools, Marvin participates in the K-8 College and Career Night and the individual schools ‘ family nights running a table where she explains to the students and families the things they can be doing now to prepare for high school and college.
“From college nights, college visits, and parent meetings to College Application Week, Path to Scholarships workshops and multiple FAFSA completion days, Liz is one of the driving forces for creating opportunities for student s at our high school,” said Melody Bustillos, HHS counselor.
Umatilla County Planner Tamra Mabbott said Marvin is always eager to help where needed.
“I participated with Liz on the Good Shepherd Community Health Foundation, Festival of Trees, and a variety of school-related projects,” said Mabbott. “She is always optimistic, diplomatic and honest. Integrity best describes her personal and professional character.”
“Liz is a giver,” said Hermiston resident Kari Christiansen. “She works with young people to help drive them forward into adulthood and treats each and every one of them like she would her own. She takes the time to get to know their families and follows them after they graduate, making sure they are doing well. She has been a valuable asset to the Hermiston School District and Hermiston.”
“I am very humbled to be part of the society of Women of the Year,” Marvin said. “We have such a wonderful community – a unique community.”
Charlie Clupny has served as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for several years. CASA’s are volunteers that advocate for children in the foster care system to find a safe and permanent homes as quickly as possible. During his time as a CASA, Clupny has been a strong advocate and voice for eight foster care youth.
He has also served in the Prison Ministry at Two Rivers Correctional Institute where he has led Bible studies, confirmations and other ministry functions for the past 15 years.
Clupny also serves as Chair to the Peace Poster Contest. Each year, Lions Clubs around the world sponsor the Lions International Peace Poster Contest in local schools and youth groups. This art contest for kids encourages young people worldwide to express their visions of peace.
For the past two years, Clupny has served as Master of Ceremony for Walk for Life in Hermiston.
He is actively involved in raising funds and providing other volunteer functions for the past 30 years for the Meadow Wood Campground and is also a CPR and first aid instructor.
Upon receiving the award, Clupny was moved to tears when he told the audience he just does what he believes he is supposed to do.
“I’m just a kid who came from California to Oregon when I was 19,” he said. “I said I wanted to make a difference. I didn’t know I was going to be recognized. I thought I was just doing what you’re supposed to do in life. We’re supposed to love each other and treat everyone with respect.”
Spirit of Excellence Award
The Spirit of Excellence Award was given to Jeanne Jewett, who has been with the East Oregonian for 28 years.
Jewett, born and raised in Ontario, moved to Hermiston in 1988. She has organized the Butte Challenge since its inception 17 years ago. The annual event supports the Hermiston High School cross country team.
Over the years, Jewett has served on the Hermiston Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors as well as serving as Chamber Ambassador chairwoman. Jewett has also served on the Leadership Hermiston Steering Committee.
An avid golfer, she helped organize chamber golf tournaments.
“This woman is always willing to go the extra mile and give of her time for causes that benefit the community,” said Chamber President Debbie Pedro. “She has demonstrated the pursuit of community service, real leadership, has exemplary values, and demonstrates stewardship and is willing to get involved. One of the things I admire, am grateful and thankful for is that she has committed long-term to be a partner of this chamber.”
Rotary Business of the Year
Good Shepherd Health Care System was honored for its longtime commitment to serving the health care needs of the region.
The hospital employs more than 600 people and has a payroll of $37 million. The hospital has given back to the community through its Health Foundation by awarding medical scholarships as well as providing grants to area organizations. GSHCS also donated defibrillators to Umatilla County Fire District #1.
The hospital was recently awarded a Gold Seal of accreditation in magnetic resonance imaging and the National Rural Health Resource Center bestowed national recognition on GSHCS for demonstrating innovation in care coordination and outcomes.
GSHCS President and CEO Dennis Burke said he is proud of the hospital and its hundreds of employees.
“We have challenges ahead as an industry, but I’m optimistic we are well positioned to do job in the community,” he said.
Fire Service Award
Pastor Terry Cummings was honored for his role serving first responders in the community. Presenter Ric Sherman said Cummings is a key part of the support network, comforting those who experience trauma in the line of duty.
“I consider it a real privilege to serve our dedicated first responders,” Cummings said. “They will run into anything while everybody else is running away.”
Altrusan Outstanding Young Citizen Award
This year’s winners were Vanessa Ambriz-Mendoza and Elias “Ismael” Arenas.
Altrusa President LuAnne Davison described Ambriz-Mendoza as someone who is a “seeker of answers” and who has a “heart for helping others. Davison said Arenas as a “stalwart volunteer” who often seeks out the hardest job.
Educators of the Year
This year’s Educators of the Year from each Hermiston school are Linda White, Susie Cobb, Ericka Keefauver, Tate Enright, Kimo Gabriel, Mark Douglass, Jolene Davis, Joyce Barak and Margaret Gutierrez. Garth Lind, fifth-grade teacher at Desert View Elementary, was named the overall Educator of the Year.
Hermiston High School Principal Tom Spoo was named Administrator of the Year.