Community Heroes honored for the work they do every day on behalf of our county

In a season of giving thanks, we’re grateful for these individuals, businesses and nonprofits

Nov. 22, 2021. Tillamook, Oregon.  During Thanksgiving week in 2020, Tillamook Coast Visitors Association (Visit Tillamook Coast) recognized the many individuals, organizations and businesses that stepped up immediately to help during the onset of the Covid pandemic. We wanted to show our gratitude to these Community Heroes for all they did to assist people and businesses during unprecedented challenging times.

“First and foremost, there are so many heroes in this county – the frontline workers in grocery stores, post offices, food banks, restaurants, lodging, delivery services, truck and bus drivers, repair services, teachers, retail clerks, doctors, nurses…the list is long,” said Nan Devlin, executive director of Tillamook Coast Visitors Association. “They’ve been wearing masks everyday for nearly two years in order to serve our needs. They deserve thanks and appreciation with every interaction we have with them.”

This Thanksgiving, the tourism team recognizes those who do exceptional work for our community – often without fanfare – because that’s what they do, with care, commitment and humility. It is with much gratitude that we present the following with a Community Heroes award:

Sally Rissel of Pacific City, for her dedication to preserving the history of Cloverdale and the  continuing support of the Pacific City Airport.

Animal Rescue by the Sea, Tillamook Animal Shelter and Tillamook K9 Rescue for their help with caring, feeding, rescuing and finding forever homes for animals in need, and in many cases, helping the pet owners with food and clothing.

Rachel Hagerty, who addition to her role as chief of staff to the county commissioners, leads capital investment and community projects, and this year launched the south county Kiwanda Corridor Project.

Marge Josza, organizer of the South Tillamook County Emergency Volunteer Corps, which trains people for major disasters through the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program, determines tsunami signage locations, and secures storage sheds for emergency supplies.

KTIL Radio, which has been a go-to source for information on emergency and community meetings, thanks to live streaming and podcasts. Tillamook Today program shares our local voices and stories so we all stay connected.

Kelly and Janice LaViolette, for years of providing memorable experiences at Kelly’s Brighton Marina, where families learn about the stewardship of the bay, and how to catch and cook Dungeness crab and shellfish, all within an atmosphere of camaraderie. They retired this year, and the marina is in good hands with the Davis family, who has the same “hospitality” gene as the LaViolettes.

Tides of Change, for helping families that are dealing with domestic abuse, which has increased during Covid. They provide a safe haven, shelter, counseling and year-round support, helping people survive a stressful, often dangerous situation.

Tillamook County Transportation District for providing consistent bus and shuttle services, and added a shuttle in Pacific City during summer to ease traffic congestion. They did this despite a shortage of drivers and having to abide  Covid occupancy restrictions.

David McCall, waste management expert, who brought enhanced recycling systems to Tillamook County. For nearly 10 years, he has helped keep 11,000 tons of waste from ending up in landfills each and every year. And he’s found creative ways to manage the recycled paper, cardboard, tin, glass and plastic markets.

Kiwanda Coastal Properties for adopting a recycling program throughout their vacation rental properties, and in just three years has kept 30,000 tons of waste from going into landfills. This company has been a leader in visitor management in south county for two generations.

Community Action Resource Enterprises (CARE), alleviates the effects of poverty in Tillamook County, providing housing assistance, basic needs support, energy assistance, home visitation for families with infants, and senior and disabled assisted living.

Unfurl, the popular clothing shop in Manzanita, has for several years contributed 1% of sales to local environmental non-profits, including Cape Falcon Marine Reserve. They also organize several clothing drives throughout the year to donate to students and people in need.

Our emergency responders: Last year, we honored the Tillamook County Sheriff’s Office and Emergency Management team. This year, we honor the U.S. Coast Guard – Garibaldi, Nehalem Bay Fire and Rescue, Garibaldi Fire Department, Rockaway Beach Fire Department, Tillamook Fire Department, Bay City Fire Department, Netarts-Oceanside Rural Fire Protection District, Nestucca Rural Fire Protection District, Mt. Hebo Ranger Station, Manzanita Police Department and Tillamook Police Department. They save, protect, rescue, and respond to our community’s emergency needs while often putting their own lives at risk.

Tillamook Coast Visitors Association gives thanks every day to these organizations, businesses and individuals. They are very special, and the county is fortunate to have them among us.