To the citizens of North Tillamook County,
I met Constance Shimek when I was a freshman in high school, in December of 2011. I was volunteering at a breast cancer fundraising event for the breast health coalition that was once part of the Rinehart Clinic, and both Constance and I were bidding on the same horseback riding helmet. I hadn’t ridden horses in years but was always looking for the opportunity to be around horses, plus it was a cute velvet helmet! Constance and I got to talking, and we shared horseback riding stories, and I mentioned how much I miss riding. Constance had just met me, but she paused, looked at me and exclaimed “well I have the perfect little lady you can spend time with!” This complete stranger, who had just met some young teenager, opened up her home & property to me. The sparkle in her eye when she told me about her life, and most importantly her horses, made me feel right at home. This was just the beginning of the constant support and undivided attention Constance shared with me, as a mentor, former 4H leader and friend.
The entire spring and summer of 2012, whenever I had a chance, I was sitting on the fences at Don and Constance’s watching Hal, Cider, and Billy Girl along with their two dogs romp and wander their property. I would brush out Cider, braid her mane, and gallop around the corral on that feisty little horse that I loved with my whole heart. Constance took time out of her busy schedule to take me & Cider along with Hal horse back riding on the beach. Constance’s confidence in me, kindness whenever I asked her anything, and understanding when life got busy as I continued through high school is carried with me today. We drifted apart as I started focusing on being a tri-athlete and honor roll student, and as Constance battled cancer for at least the second time. But she still took time out of her day to check on me, send me photos of Hal & Billy Girl after Cider had suddenly passed. She didn’t always tell me everything she was going through, and she didn’t necessarily need to, as I knew she was battling through her own journey, but she still managed to show how much love flowed through her even in challenging times. She attended numerous of my birthday parties as I grew up, my graduation party, and continues to cheer me on now as a 23 year old.
The fact that people are disparaging her character and down-right bullying Constance makes me furious – especially the women that are doing so – aren’t we in the year 2021? What happened to women supporting women? I may no longer live in Tillamook County, but I know what it means to be a kind human who deeply cares about the community of the Nehalem River Valley. Constance has devoted THOUSANDS of hours of her life to the North County Recreation District, the Nehalem Bay Garden Club, Smiley Brothers & Sisters Salmon Harvest, and numerous other non-profits – touching so many lives with her can-do, take-charge leadership and wonder woman ways. She puts 2000% effort into everything she does. The community and NCRD would be absolutely honored to have Constance on their board. I’m honestly astonished that I even have to write this letter, as a vote for Constance Shimek – a vote for a kind, empathetic, compassionate, understanding, hardworking and full-of-love human – is an easy choice to make. Constance Shimek for Caring, for the Community, for ALL!