Fishing was why I came here,
but is such a small part of why I stayed...
Reminiscing. That was the subject line we used in our newsletters some time ago, and appropriate for this little trip down memory lane.
My journey with the Oregon Wildlife (Heritage) Foundation began in early November 1996. My husband called and said the organization he volunteered for needed help; their secretary met with an untimely and sudden death and their annual North Coast Salmon Rendezvous was just a few weeks away, they needed help to get them through the event.
Through the years I’ve met many amazing people, and learned a side of Oregon that I didn’t know existed - habitat and the importance of being good stewards. I enjoy being a witness to people who have a passion to put together a plan to improve a habitat, study an endangered animals, and educate the public. To be a part of a Foundation that is committed to consider each request is a privilege.
Along the way, I’ve also had the opportunity to meet and work with many amazing Board members from all walks of life; volunteers who give their time, talent and treasures.
It was because of two volunteers in particular (Rod Brobeck and Buzz Ramsey) that the original North Coast Salmon Rendezvous began, and continues in the capable hands of the Tillamook Guides with 100% of the proceeds to benefit the Tillamook area fisheries. In the ‘90’s, anglers wanted a local event in the Portland area, so began the Salmon Quest. Rod Brobeck and OWF founder, Allan Kelly, took the lead; anglers and guides enjoyed this local event for many years and the proceeds funded projects in the area. Fishing was why I came here, but is such a small part of why I stayed.
On a more personal note, the Foundation office wasn’t like the corporate world I knew. The Foundation supported family values. Kids could come in once in a while, new puppies and later tired dogs were often in the office, and we kept in touch with lifelong friends of the Foundation (Wendell Haley and others). An organization that does good work, cares for people, animals, habitat, and encourages (and supports) projects that benefit Oregon and her citizens.
All this said, the last week of January our office relocated closer to downtown. The table where Allan, his grandson, my son and daughter would sit and play poker were not able to move with us. The corner where my two golden retriever puppies would nap is gone.
There are and will continue to be many changes, but one thing will remain. I will continue to be grateful to begin my day with an organization that cares. For Oregon. For all the critters. For the trees, streams, and habitats. For our faithful supporters that believe in the good things we do. For the wonderful members of our Board that serve because they want to make a difference. For staff that appreciates the opportunity to belong to a Foundation that makes a difference.