by Mallory Gruben
I’m back with our fourth and final round of nominees for this year’s Community Awards, as well as a reminder that our online silent auction is officially live and accepting bids at event.gives/tillamookchamber22. (Yes, the silent auction is online this year. But our oral auction and banquet will be in-person. It’s the best of both worlds!)
We received 10 nominations for Citizen of the Year, which honors one individual from Tillamook County who made a significant impact on the community in the last year. Our nominees include nonprofit board members and local volunteers, to small business owners and teachers.
Each nomination is made with a narrative and often letters of support to articulate why the nominees stand out. We will share some of that background information in the announcements.
And now, here are your nominees for Citizen of the Year:
Carol Weber: Carol is the Chair of the Board of Latimer Quilt and Textile Center. Under her leadership, the Center has drawn visitors from around the world to stop into view the world-class collection of textiles. Carol also travels to quilt shows around the state to educate people about textiles and publicize the Latimer Center and Tillamook. The time the Carol spends on behalf of the Latimer Center is immeasurable.
Doug Beeler: As a Peer Support Specialist at Tillamook Family Counseling Center, Doug has worked tirelessly through the pandemic to help people in our community find and maintain recovery from substances. He inspires hope and positivity in every possible way, and every person Doug meets is one step closer to a healthier, recovery focused life.
Jesse Borough: Jesse helped launch the Safety on Six information and awareness campaign about the safety concerns many Tillamook and Washington County residents have about Highway 6. Jess took on the project to create a safer commute for those traveling the highway. He organizes town hall meetings with the proper authorities, and he created the Safety on Six Facebook page to keep the community involved.
JoAnne Waters: JoAnne works with local seniors, students and families in Tillamook County to finds out specifically what the people need at this time in their lives that make living a little bit easier or tolerable. For example, she collects healthy snacks to distribute to hungry Nestucca students throughout the day. She also requests monetary help for PUD bills for people struggling, and she works with the PUD to ensure people do not lose their connection to heat and lights. She is an immeasurable resource for our community’s less fortunate.
John Sandusky: John Sandusky was the first executive director for CARE, and he left a lasting impact on Tillamook County. During his time with CARE, he ran the county’s first homeless shelter. He also played instrumental roles in starting the local chapter of the Oregon Food Bank, building the locations for Tillamook Early Learning Center and Cedar Creek Childcare Center, and establishing Kilchis House, Nehalem Bay House and Madrona House. Now he works as a full-time faculty member at Tillamook Bay Community College and serves as a Tillamook City Council Member.
Robyn Herrick: Robyn is the Clinical Director at Tillamook Family Counseling Center, where she collaborates with community partners and explores ways to reduce barrier to treatment. She has taken on additional roles outside of the directorship to make sure that mental health crisis services are available to our community 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Her role is pivotal for providing the many services that TFCC has to offer, and her dedication to that job and our community is humbling.
Ryan Weber: Ryan is the Associate Vice President and Store Manager of the Tillamook Umpqua Bank location, but he is extremely involved in a number of different organizations throughout Tillamook County. His involvements include Rotary, Tillamook County Outdoor School, the Tillamook Early Learning Center, the Tillamook School District and the Tillamook County Pioneer Museum. Ryan’s commitment to the community is bar none. He uses his skills professionally to drive real change, and he knows how to empower other people to get involved, too.
Skyler Veek: The owner of Lucky Bear Soap Company, Skyler enhances the quality of life in Tillamook County through dedicated and tireless community involvement and social responsibility. She served as the president of the Tillamook Revitalization Association for several years, and she organized and ran the popular Moonlight Madness event downtown. She continues to be actively involved in community public forums, from City Council meetings to downtown association events.
Sydney Elliott: Sydney is a full-time faculty member at Tillamook Bay Community College, where she teaches English, writing and literature. She developed and continues to teach trauma-informed curriculum. She also trains other faculty to implement such curriculum in their classes. Sydney also serves on the Tillamook County Search and Rescue team, and she developed an online program to train volunteers while still adhering to COVID-19 guidelines that temporarily prohibited in-person meetings. Sydney’s’ talents are broad and prolific, and she shows her dedication to this community by sharing those talents with us.
Terry Phillips: Terry is a small business owner who continues to invest his time and money into renovating Downtown Tillamook. He continues to help beautify downtown with his visions. He invests in property, employees several of our residents and stays involved in the community. His accomplishments help to serve all those who visit and live in Tillamook County.
For all of you who have stuck with us over the last three announcements, thank you! We had a whopping 32 nominations across five categories this year, and many of our awards received several more nominees than usual. You can read about all of the nominees online at tillamookchamber.org.
We love the way this community shows up to support one another and celebrate in our successes. And we look forward to honoring all of these nominees at the Tillamook Chamber of Commerce Community Awards Banquet on January 29.
Until then, be sure to check out the virtual silent auction at event.gives/tillamookchamber22. We have more than 100 amazing items to auction off this year, and you can continue to bid on items through the evening of the Banquet — even if you’re not able to attend the event in-person!