By Rhian Rotz
Last Friday, Waggener Edstrom Worldwide (WE) was honored at the 2012 Oregon Governor’s Volunteer Awards luncheon for its Outstanding Business Volunteer Program (Region 1). I was joined by eight employees (Silvia Ashmore, Erik Bergman, Dani Reese, Lila Herrera, Jen Grant, Jason Love and Kathy Anderson) to accept this recognition on behalf of all our employees for the countless contributions and dedication to positively impacting our community, from supporting the Community Cycling Center and Portland Rescue Mission to supporting YWCA of Greater Portland.
We accepted the award from former Governor Victor G. Atiyeh, who was elected the 32nd Governor of Oregon in 1978 and founded the Governor’s Volunteer Awards (GVA) in 1982. This small piece of history made it even more special to receive the honor from him. Gov. Atiyeh spoke about the huge role of volunteers in the community. In his words, “Government can do many things, but it can’t hire love. Just imagine if all volunteers stopped volunteering for a week.”
The luncheon, emceed by Steve Bass, CEO of Oregon Public Broadcasting, focused on the stories of impact, triumph, resilience and, above all, community. As Lila said, “This event helped me realize that one person (from the ages of 15 to 95) truly can make a difference.” Lila was referring to individual award recipients Sean Bowden and Clyde Mullin, respectively.
Clyde, a 95-year-old gentleman pictured here with Dani, received the Outstanding Lifetime Volunteer Achievement award. He has been volunteering for 30 years with Oregon State Library and Salem-Keizer Meals on Wheels. Sean received the Outstanding Youth Volunteer Award for his leadership at Mercy Medical Center Youth Volunteer Program in Roseburg.
We are also extremely proud of Oregon FIRST Robotics for receiving the Outstanding Statewide Volunteer Program award. The organization works with students to build STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and other life-long skills. At its root, the organization supports economic development and education in the state. WE has been pleased to support Oregon FIRST Robotics with pro bono services in 2012.
In 2011, 39 percent of WE’s total $1.2 million donations went to 40-plus nonprofits in Oregon, and Oregon employees donated more than 2,657 WE volunteer hours. We’re looking to match or better these numbers in 2012.