Foundation Honors Christmas Spirit Recipients

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Christmas Spirit Award winners
Virginia Miller and Cathy Putnam are this year's Christmas Spirit Award winners.

The Good Shepherd Community Health Foundation has honored Virginia Miller and Cathy Putnam as the recipients of the 21st annual Christmas Spirit Award.

This award is given to one who exemplifies the spirit of Christmas by giving of themselves to others all throughout the year, according to Foundation Executive Director Bob Green.

According to the Foundation, Miller is “a beacon of generosity and blesses our community with her example of service and long term dedication to the growth and prosperity of the Hermiston and surrounding areas.”

She has volunteered with on projects with Altrusa International of Hermiston, the Board of Realtors, and the Umatilla County Department of Land Use Planning.

Miller is a dedicated meal preparer at the Open Table for First United Methodist Church. She shops for, plans, and serves hot meals several times per month for Hermiston’s most needy individuals. She has also participated in the Ford leadership program and was an active participant in the repurposing and repair of the Umatilla Community Center.

According to the Foundation, Miller is always the first to volunteer and assist in any way to improve the lives of those around her.

“Her benevolence, caring attitude, and enthusiasm for life is infectious, and encourages others with renewed hope and desire to move forward,” said the Foundation, in a press release. “She has blessed our community with many years of service and is held in high regard by those with whom she comes in contact.”

Putnam is the owner of Carlson Drug in Umatilla and is a prodigious supporter of many community activities. According to the Foundation, her caring attitude is evidenced by the many times she has delivered medication to residents after a long day’s work. She has been known to open the pharmacy on many occasions after hours just to provide medication and expertise to many who are in need.

She has helped young people develop leadership skills and donates to many worthwhile community youth projects. She instructs students on the value of being community-minded and shares life experiences that help build and enhance their lives.

“Cathy’s importance to the Eastern Oregon Mission and its two outreaches, Agape House and Martha’s House, is priceless beyond monetary value,” the Foundation said. “She serves as a member of the board of directors and has been a past president, guiding these outreach organizations to greater levels of success. Her leadership and support is a major reason this organization continues to serve those in need within our local communities.”

Miller can be found many mornings, prior to her work schedule, visiting the residents of Sun Terrace. Many just want to talk and have someone to listen. She is an exceptional listener and cheerfully interacts with the residents to make them feel comfortable.