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West Linn is a community of heroes

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - Members of National Charity League pitched in to help box food donations from the Ugly Holiday Sweater Dash.

A surprising benefit of working for West Linn Parks and Recreation is being party to a community who express fun while serving others. A recent example is the Ugly Holiday Sweater Dash. This benefit run is still relatively new and draws fewer than 150 walkers and runners.

Nevertheless, on a Saturday morning in December, it provided 200 pounds of food and $1,500 to the West Linn Food Pantry. Additional funds went to a West Linn High School service group for supporting the run with helpers.

Throughout the year, energetic and resourceful volunteers from the National Charity League are always at the ready to assist with programs or special events and most joyously when it is in service to those underprivileged. A community is made up of individuals, and West Linn is made up of outstanding individuals.

“Heroes are not giant statues framed against a red sky,” said Oregon’s 30th governor, Tom McCall. “They are people who say ‘This is my community, and it is my responsibility to make it better.’”

These inspired words by the great Tom McCall are inscribed upon the SOLV Citizenship Award presented to West Linn’s very own Steve Miesen, their 2013 recipient. SOLV recognized Steve’s near decade of individual service noting the significant results of coordinating more than 40 volunteer events involving 550 volunteers removing 68,000 pounds of invasive non-native plants and 1,065 pounds of trash.

Most events were at the 10-acre Burnside Park along the Willamette River. SOLV’s Team Leader for Statewide Programs, Quintin Bauer, regularly holds Miesen up us an example in his trainings throughout the state, affirming the difference made by one dedicated volunteer.

Miesen is humbled by the award and is quick to point out his partners at Maddax Woods and their commitment to their third Saturday of the month work parties as well as those he calls “the real heroes,” families, community organizations, school and alumni groups that join together to fight against tree-choking ivy and turn hard work into fun. It is the fun he stresses and the importance of educating children that the stewardship he believes in so passionately continues.

To view a brief video from SOLV honoring Miesen or to learn more about volunteer opportunities please visit westlinnoregon.gov/parksrec/volunteer.

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