In Service: Community awards focus upon the works

This is award season. We refer not to Oscars and Globes, but something more important: local service awards such as those coming out later this month courtesy of Hood River Chamber Commerce, and this spring, and beyond, from other groups.

Service awards are about recognition, not limelight. So many individuals give of themselves for so many reasons, it is important as a community to honor their works.

Notably, there are not one but two Benton awards in the community; the Chamber started the Don Benton Service Award in 2012 and in 2013 The Next Door Inc. instituted the Bonnie and Don Benton Philanthropist of the Year Award, in recognition of this couple’s hard work and dedication.

Similar awards throughout the year include Gorge Ecumenical Ministries and Columbia Fellowship for Peace, Columbia Gorge United Way and the Hood River County School District Volunteer of the Year.

The point is not to underline one award over another, but to call attention to what they mean in the broader perspective.

Just as important as recognizing an individual for a philanthropy award is the confirmation that the focus is not on the individual so much as upon what they contribute.

In short, the heart of the matter is the heart that goes into the award.

That can be said of any person or group singled out for attention, whether it’s an award, a round of applause at a meeting, or an article in the newspaper: The works deserve the attention, but you cannot ignore the worker. We do respect the occasional wave-of-the-hand request to remain unspotlighted.

But most people who give of their time find a way to set aside the familiar “I don’t do it for the recognition” sentiment.

After all, really, we all know that.

Community awards are a way of honoring the sensibility of service, as well as the act itself. The person involved is just part of the overall package.

Who knows whose names will be called in early 2014 and later in the year, as the case may be, in recognition of outstanding service to the community.

The acceptance of the acknowledgement is just part of the process. If you have the chance to respond to a call for nominations, and you know of someone who you feel should be recognized, take the time to do so.

Service can serve as an example and an inspiration, for others’ goodwill actions in the future.

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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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