Local difference-makers in CG recognized by Vision Keepers

From left: Vision Keepers Chair Travis Palmer, Health Hub owner Samantha Duncan, Territorial Seed owner Julie Johns, City Councilor Kenneth Roberts, Dana Merryday, Jane Rapier, Delight owner Therese Nguyen, Cottage Grove Banner Bank President Jim Gilroy and Vision Keepers Co-chair Holli Turpin.

Cottage Grove’s Vision Keepers committee presented an annual progress report and honored local difference-makers at a City Council meeting Aug. 26.

The committee, which is charged with tracking the progress of community goals, reported great success in implementing some 78 identified accomplishments across 20 Vision Keepers strategies.

“What was kind of amazing was to look through and see how much has been accomplished in the last year,” said the city’s Community Coordinator Teresa Cowan.

Cowan highlighted activities such as producing a new local resource guide, the Cottage Village Tiny House project, the Business Challenge and improved school district shop classes with the help of local wood manufacturing company Weyerhaeuser as examples of recent successes.

Next, Vision Keepers Co-chair Holly Turpinand Chair Travis Palmer presented awards to individuals and organizations which had provided exceptional service toward meeting the goals of the community.

The Expanding and Integrating Community Networks Award went to game store Delight for its various activities available to youth.

“They provide a safe and constructive environment allowing teens and young adults a chance to engage in a social setting and explore various interests and take part in everything from fantasy game tournaments to Lego robotics and computer coding,” said Turpin.

City Councilor Kenneth Roberts was given the Enhancing Urban Places and Spaces Award for his work in the annual Downtown Cleanup project.

“Councilor Roberts is a positive role model and has led downtown cleanup efforts that help the community take pride in their downtown and make it the shining jewel that it should be,” Turpin said.

For the Investing in a Diverse and Sustainable Economy Award, Territorial Seed was honored.

“We’re presenting this to Territorial for their long record of supporting the local economy, providing jobs, local scholarships, doing their research and development here in the community and making their base of operations right here in Cottage Grove,” said Turpin.

Next, local resident Jane Rapier was presented with the Preserving and Promoting Environmental Arts Award for her dedication to collecting litter throughout the town.

“People may not know her name, but they know who she is because we’ve all seen her around with her litter bucket and stick,” Turpin said. “She is an example of how deeds speak louder than words. The task may not be glamorous, but she is literally picking up our town.”

Rapier accepted her award to a standing ovation in the council chambers.

Palmer recalled his first encounter with Rapier.

“I always saw her as I was getting on and off the freeway and I had to stop one day just to introduce myself and say thanks and she did not slow down to talk to me,” he said. “She talked to me and she was polite, but she didn’t slow down for an instant.”

Palmer then presented the Pioneering the Future Award to local business Paktech. As no one from the business was present to accept the award, Palmer spoke on the company’s behalf.

“Paktech not only deserves this award for their Earth-friendly approach to creating state-of-the-art packaging handles and materials, but they strive to use as many recycled materials as they can,” he said. “And they also invest in their employees through helping to pay for their employees to get continued education and move on with their careers — that’s really pioneering the future.”

Local wellness center Health Hub won the Community Health Award (presented to Samantha Duncan) for creating fitness opportunities for people of all ages.

“I can tell you that because of their opportunities for parents to drop off kids for health programs, it also helped with my marital health,” Palmer said.

The Organization Award went to the Cottage Grove branch of Banner Bank led by Jim Gilroy for its support of many different local community events, programs and causes.

“We want to recognize the efforts of not just Jim, but of the entire branch staff who are members of almost every facet of this community from Cub Scouts to economic development,” Palmer said. “There are very few organizations or causes that Banner Bank does not touch in some way and they’re incredibly supportive as an organization.”

Lastly, local resident Dana Merryday was given the Individual Award for his many local efforts including work as a Boy Scout leader, a recent cleanup of the McFarland Cemetery, contributions to the Creswell Chronicle and spearheading of the Swinging Bridge repairs.

“If not for Dana and his leading the charge on the Swinging Bridge efforts, we wouldn’t be where we are today with that project,” said Palmer. “He really stepped up and did whatever he could do and people joined in because they loved what he was doing.”

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