Tax-Aide Credit: AARP, IRS honor Marilyn Wall for 30 years as volunteer

Marilyn Wall accepts her 30-year awards from Bill Ensign of AARP. Tax-Aide clients and volunteers looked on during a brief ceremony at Hood River County Library in Hood River.

Photo by Kirby Neumann-Rea.
Marilyn Wall accepts her 30-year awards from Bill Ensign of AARP. Tax-Aide clients and volunteers looked on during a brief ceremony at Hood River County Library in Hood River.

Marilyn Wall’s is a life with taxes, and she likes it.

“Taxes are fun,” said Wall, a Hood River resident honored April 7, during the height of tax season, for three decades of helping people with their taxes.

Wall received 30-year awards from AARP and the IRS, in brief ceremony at Hood River Library, where Mondays from January to April volunteers help residents complete their state and federal tax funds, in a program known as Tax-Aide.

Wall has worked with clients since the days of filing with pencils and carbon paper.

“There aren’t many people in the state who have worked longer in the program than Marilyn,” said Bill Ensign, state Tax-Aide coordinator, who along with Ronelle Currie of AARP presented Wall with plaques from the IRS and AARP, which administers Tax-Aide. With them was Jim Slusher, coordinator of Community Action Council of the Gorge, which sponsors the Tax-Aide programs in the district covering Hood River, Wasco, Sherman and Klickitat counties.

“Thank you for all you have done, and to the rest of the volunteers I thank you for all you have done, too,” Ensign said.

“We have a good crew,” Wall said. There are now 39 volunteers in the district. She got involved when “a little old lady talked me into it,” (Althea Holzman) “and it saved my sanity when I had infants.”

In the early years she brought one of her children in a carrier, and set up a playpen at Odell Methodist Church, where she worked alone.

“I still have the carbon paper.” to which Currie remarked, “Marilyn is an extremely frugal person.”

“It’s quite interesting. Actually I love this program,” Wall said. “Anything that gets the program more recognition is great. We do a wonderful service for people. We have a lot of fun. Most people think taxes are boring and they don’t want to deal with it, but we have a great time. It’s a great way to give to the community.”

“She gives 125 percent of herself every year,” Currie said. Ensign said that in Oregon the only Tax-Aide volunteers with longer tenures are individuals in Newport and Coos Bay with 43 and 35 years, respectively.

When Wall received her “Certificate of Appreciation, for outstanding service to the Tax Aide program” from the IRS, she asked, “Does that mean they’ll never audit me?”

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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