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VISIT program enriches lives

Think “Tuesdays with Morrie,” but for me it’s Wednesdays with Eileen, an 81 year-old, blue-eyed beauty, barely more than 5 feet tall. I came to know Eileen two years ago when my own health took a turn for the worst and my beloved career came to an end.

As I sat at home drowning in boredom and self-pity, I read an article asking for volunteers for the VISIT program. VISIT is a friendly visitor program for assisted-living facilities in Linn and Benton counties. Volunteers meet one-on-one with residents who may not have friends or family nearby. Their weekly visits make a significant difference helping to alleviate loneliness and isolation.

Eileen has both friends and family nearby but she wanted more company. Her mind was sharp but her body had gone ballistic, the long-term effects of Parkinson’s disease, which landed her in her own apartment in an assisted living facility. We shared tales of traveling, she by ship as a deckhand headed to the equator. We giggled about the goings-on below deck. We talked about our favorite books and love of writing. Then one Wednesday she was gone.

Eileen had taken a terrible fall and broken bones, she needed rehabilitation and was placed in a nursing home. It was a tough road to recovery and she longed to give up. I promised I would be there every week until she wasn’t.

These days, Eileen lives in an adult foster care home. Her memory is fading and she is no longer able to move about without assistance. She’s often not sure what day it is when I visit but she always remembers my face, her eyes light up like a little girl when I arrive. I doubt she knows how much she has alleviated my loneliness and how our visits keep us both from the giving up.

Eileen and I want to thank the VISIT program in hopes that others will find an hour or two in the week to volunteer. It won’t matter if it’s a Tuesday or Wednesday as long as you show up and never give up.

For more information on the VISIT program contact the Benton coordinators: Susan Schwartz, 541-752-7038, or George Keller, 541-760-7820.

Julia Sandidge


Duerksen works for veterans

We would like to take a moment to acknowledge the hard work and respect that Dawn Duerksen has demonstrated while working with our veterans at Community Outreach Inc. and through the Supportive Services for Veteran Families at Community Services Consortium.

Dawn not only continues to work with our Good 2 Go veterans at Community Outreach (with dignity and kindness), she is a champion for fair housing. Dawn’s commitment to our homeless veteran community is portrayed by her willingness to help the homeless become housed through the Supportive Services for Veteran Families program. Every veteran she treats with respect and clearly communicates with each individual and local partnering agencies to make sure each veteran is getting the best service.

Our veterans come in with many complex issues and she treats them with dignity and respect, while honoring their individual backgrounds and stories.

On behalf of our Good 2 Go Veterans and the many providers who work with them, we say thanks.

Mikalyn Martinez

Community Services Consortium

Ty Pos

Community Outreach, Inc.

Chamber supports local nonprofits

Thank you to the Corvallis Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors for supporting local nonprofits with their "Split Pot" fundraiser. Benton Hospice Service was selected as the June nonprofit to benefit from the program. Thanks also go out to the chamber members who participated in raising money to further the Benton Hospice Service mission and vision: “To provide compassion, comfort and support through your end-of-life experience, to help you live out the rest of your life, on your own terms, among people who care.”

Thank you, Chamber Ambassadors and chamber members, for your commitment to those throughout Linn and Benton counties facing end-of-life, as well as your commitment to all of the nonprofits that make our community a better place to live.

Laurie Russell

Benton Hospice Service

Environmental Center thanks Block 15

The Corvallis Environmental Center would like to enthusiastically thank Block 15 for supporting us at the Dine Out event on Tuesday, Aug. 9. The generous donation of funds will support center programs that educate, engage, and inspire people to create a healthy, sustainable community. These programs include the Edible Corvallis Initiative, Avery House Nature Center, and Energize Corvallis.

The center is grateful for Block 15’s continued support, not only for the Corvallis Environmental Center, but also within the greater Corvallis community. Their generosity makes us proud to be a part of such an involved and supportive restaurant.

Jenna Baker

Corvallis Environmental Center

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Good Words are published Saturday on a space-available basis, generally in the order in which they are received.


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