Upon retirement from Oregon State University’s Carlson College of Veterinary Medicine in June 2014, Lindy Young had no plans to confine herself to a rocking chair to watch the years go by. Instead, she started a second career, so to speak, through her heavy involvement as a volunteer in Philomath.
“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do but I was working full-time and just never had a chance to do it while I was working,” said Young, who received the Senior First Citizen honor at the Philomath Area Chamber of Commerce’s annual Samaritan Awards Wednesday night. “When I retired, I thought, ‘OK, now is my chance, now I can do that.’”
Young was one of three receiving special individual awards. Former mayor Rocky Sloan earned this year’s First Citizen honor and the Junior First Citizen award went to Philomath High School sophomore Lily Schell.
Young, 72, moved with her husband and three children to Philomath in 1985. A familiar face around town, Young said she’s never short on volunteering opportunities.
“Things have just kind of fallen in my way,” she said. “A lot of the time, I don’t ask for things; they just say, ‘will you help’ and I can’t say no.”
Young’s love for gardening shows through her involvement with Lupe’s Community Garden at Philomath Community Services. In fact, she said it’s probably her favorite activity out of all of them.
“Four of us work there and it gives me an opportunity to get outside and it’s nice and peaceful there,” Young said. “We always have plenty of extra to give to the food bank and so I enjoy doing that.”
Young also volunteers at June’s Kids Kloset, maintains her involvement with the city’s Park Advisory Board and assists with the patriotic flag program as a member of the Rotary Club of Philomath. She also has volunteered in many capacities at Peace Lutheran Church and serves as the volunteer coordinator for Red Cross blood drives.
Young said she’ll continue to volunteer as long as she’s physically able.
“Today, I was lifting up some things that they didn’t think I could lift, so yes, hopefully so,” Young said with a smile. “I enjoy being able to help people and it’s not that I want recognition for that, that’s not it at all, but I enjoy helping where I can. There’s a lot of opportunity here.”
The experience of accepting the award on stage was special.
“I’m honored because I’m up here with all these other people who have done so much, too,” she said. “So many of my friends have come as well. … It makes me feel special; it makes me very humble.”
Sloan served as mayor of Philomath for six years, wrapping up his final term in December. Prior to sitting in that seat, he was a city councilor for four years for a full decade of service to the city.
“Rocky has always been a mayor of the people,” Philomath Chief of Police Ken Rueben said while serving as emcee for the program. “He would much rather sit down next to you at the counter to talk politics over a cold one than stand in front of a large crowd and talk into a microphone.”
Sloan has represented the city on several regional committees while showing care and concern for the city through endeavors such as safety improvements to the highway or recreation improvements to the parks.
“It was a bigger crowd than I expected,” Sloan said after receiving the honor. “It was very heartwarming and I appreciate the accolades. A big thank-you — I appreciate it very much.”
Sloan said one of his most noteworthy tasks during his time as mayor was when he and the council had to find a new city manager, a job that ended up going to Chris Workman, who coincidentally was also recognized during the awards ceremony for his work with Philomath Frolic & Rodeo.
Future First Citizen
Schell said it was special to receive the award in front of the community, especially since young people’s contributions don’t always get noticed.
Among her various activities, Schell participates in 4-H as a team teacher and leader.
“This is my first year in 4-H and I’ve already done so much,” Schell said when asked what she enjoys most. “Last year, I was just helping and wasn’t actually a part of 4-H, so this year I’m like yes, I want to do it all.”
Schell is also involved with a community youth group at First Baptist Church of Philomath and as a program aide with the Benton County Girl Scout Camp.
Among Schell’s activities at school have been in student government and volunteering as a makeup artist for middle school theater.
“It sounds kinda weird but I like being in charge and I like having a say in those kinds of things,” Schell said about her involvement with Associated Student Body. “I kinda like the feeling that you have something to do around the school that can help other students.”
Business of the Year
Two new categories were added to the award list this year and Timber Supply goes down as the first-ever recipient of Business of the Year with owner Denny Bennett accepting the honor. Timber Supply has operated in Philomath for six decades. Bennett started working there part-time in high school, went full-time in 1973 and now owns the business.
Timber Supply has had many irons in the fire when it comes to community support from contributions to the PHS forestry program, helping with the recent grandstand project, serving as a major sponsor of the rodeo and being instrumental in building and maintaining nearly every baseball and softball field in town.
Individually, Bennett has volunteered for the Philomath Youth Activities Club for over 20 years and has been heavily involved in support of local athletics.
Nonprofit of the Year
The other new award went to the Philomath Lions Club for Nonprofit of the Year. The Lions Club has maintained a local presence since 1948.
The club, which has about 21 members, also hosts an annual garage sale each spring with proceeds going to help local families, friends and neighbors with sight and hearing needs. They are also visible in the community through other popular fundraisers to help pay for their projects, a long list that includes eye and hearing exams, glasses for the needy, student scholarships, American flag education to second-graders and several donations and sponsorships to a range of causes.
“There are so many organizations in this town that makes this town the incredible town that it is,” said Debbie Thorpe, Lions Club president who accepted the award for the organization. “Being chosen as the best is an incredible honor.”