Our Community Heroes
We are delighted to partner with Bank of the Pacific and honor our Community Heroes. Here you will find our monthly winners along with a short interview about how they help our community. Each month we honor a Community Hero with a $100 cash prize courtesy of Bank of the Pacific and a $100 gift certificate to Westside Pizza!
If you know someone who you think should be our next Community Hero nominate them here!
2023 Community Heroes
Congratulations Steve Jump our January Community Hero:
Nominated by Bonnie Jump who says: "I would like to nominate my husband Steve, for his 100's if not 1000's of hours he has spent building an athletic complex for the kids in Hoquiam. He has been dedicated for over three years building this project, organizing volunteers, using his own time and talents."
Listen to our interview here:
2022 Community Heroes
Congratulations Kris Bitar our December Community Hero:
Nominated by Tara Marie who says: "Kris is a powerful force for our youngsters, She's a special education teacher at harbor high. She's compassionate, motivational and such a special lady."
Congratulations Michael Bruce our November Community Hero:
Nominated by Deb Blecha who says: "Michael serves, teaches volunteers, leads and is on the board for HRH. He does a lot of things behind the scenes that he doesn't want credit for...a humble and kind person that puts others before ego."
Congratulations Arletia Marshall our October Community Hero:
Nominated by Jennifer who says: "Arletia is a single parent raising a disabled adult child who has autism. She is very very active in the special Olympics Washington community as a coordinator, coach, on the board and an athlete council advisor for Gray Harbor Hawks. She has been a hero in my life since 2015. she is an amzing woman who loves and cares for anyone that come in contact with her.
Congratulations Sue Homechick our September Community Hero:
Nominated by Tara who says: "Mrs. Homechick is a silent helper. She does so many great things for Hoqiaum including her role at the Hoqiaum Food Bank and much more. I'd love to see her recognized for her wonderful influance on our community. She spent her years teaching and making a huge difference for so many students. Let's celebrate Mrs. Homechick please.
Congratulations Emily Bucy our August Community Hero:
Nominated by Raiden who says: "Emily is a special education teacher at Elma high school and a very involved member of the Elma community. She not only helps her own kids succeed, but also helps kids with disadvantages succeed. She is a true hero.
Congratulations Annie Montgomery our July Community Hero:
Nominated by Lauren Garrett who says: "Annie is one [email protected]$$ B who has so much love for the homeless community and regularly puts them before her own needs (even when we try to tell her to take a break already!) She is kind, funny, smart, and everyone whose life she's in is better for it."
Congratulations Ben Barene our June Community Hero:
Nominated by Daniel Langer who shares: " Ben is the founder of the Grays Harbor Gulls Soccer (Football) Club. They have been serving the community with opportunities to play for men and now are working to serve the youth of the area with the Gulls Academy! Ben has been a Grays Harbor citizen all his life, living in Aberdeen and will soon be moving to California with he new wife Melissa. Ben is still fighting for the future of Grays Harbor even if he won't be living here to enjoy the results.
Congratulations Jillian Kilwien our May Community Hero:
Nominated by Devvan Kilwien who shares that Jillian has worked hard to serve Grays Harbor County for many years. Not only has she worked with and volunteered for Habitat for Humanity, Harbor Toastmasters and other local nonprofits, but she also runs her own school supply charity where she gives free supplies to grays Harbor students. Jillian is always working to build homes, clean up roads, and help educate the community and much more. Devvan believes that Jillian's years of service deserve recognition.
Congratulations Tanikka Watford our April Community Hero:
Nominated by Deb Cornwell who tells us Tanikka is an inspirational figure. While her business accomplishments are phenomenal, her generous spirit and love for humankind shines through in everything she does and everyone she comes in contact with. Her calling is to offer hope to those in need and to create spaces where all may thrive. In my opinion, she is a beacon of light shining through the darkness of poverty, mental health disorders, abuse of all kinds, homelessness and so much more. I feel so fortunate to have her as my boss that I travel three hours daily for the privilege of working for and with her. On top of all of that, she has the best ever kids! She leads by example, and it shows through I know I am becoming a better person because of her.
Congratulations Virginia Pennington our March Community Hero:
Virginia has donated a large portion of her life in helping with cancer relief and volunteering in the comminute at Grays Harbor Relay for Life for 30 years, along with many other organizations. She was nominated by Brandalee Smith.
Congratulations Brian Morrill our February Community Hero:
Brian started a local AAU basketball team for youth and has been coaching this group of kiddos on his own time, sharing his love of basketball and helping them build confidence in their abilities on and off the court. He had hit roadblock after roadblock getting the players a place to practice over the years, but that hasn't stopped him or them, if anything it has pushed them harder to show up at these tournaments to represent Aberdeen and its talented youth from all walks of life. Any coach can change a game. A great coach like Brian can change a life and that's what he has done with this group of boys. They will forever remember him for his compassion and coaching.
Congratulations Bonnie Baker our January Community Hero:
Bonnie is one of the main volunteers at North Beach PAWS cat shelter division. She fosters kittens and pregnant mothers and at times, having as many as 40 kittens/mothers in her home.
She has dedicated rooms in her home for the cats and Bonnie will stay up late into the night tending to any of the ill.
She is always available and willing to answer medical or behavioral questions any NB Paws volunteers may have regarding cat health. She is at the shelter at least 5 days a week caring for cats who are at the shelter and posts available cats on their website.
When Paws has a large number of cats to be fixed she will leave her home at 3am to take the cats up past Seattle for the procedure.
Bonnie meets with the volunteer veterinarian twice a month for cat checkups/rabies shots. She keeps spreadsheets and files on the cats both before, and after they are adopted. She has dedicated her entire life to helping homeless cats become healthy, get spayed or neutered, and find homes.