Cheers & Jeers for the new year

Happy New Year, dear readers. We hope you had a safe and merry holiday season. Are you ready for the first Cheers & Jeers of 2018?

Our first cheers goes to the business owners featured on this issue’s front page. Not only have these folks managed to keep their businesses afloat through tough times, they’ve managed to beat all the statistics, keep their stores in the family and become third-generation business owners.

The most quoted numbers regarding family businesses is that 30 percent survive to the second generations, about 10 percent make it to the third generation and fewer than 5 percent achieve fourth-generation status.

Not only have the families that own Lutz Hardware, One Stop Home Furnishings and Washougal Lumber beaten some pretty impressive odds to claim third-generation bragging rights, they’ve done it in the best possible way — by, as Aaron Lutz, the current owner of the downtown Camas hardware store, says, by simply helping people.

“People can go anywhere to shop,” Lutz recently told Post-Record reporter Dawn Feldhaus. “You have to be good to them and know the product. Spend the time and know what they need. It’s what we’re known for.”

We especially love the fact that Lutz’ 9-year-old stepson, Jackson Pan, has expressed interest in continuing the legacy of Lutz Hardware. Maybe 20 years from now, we’ll be throwing a big New Year’s cheers to Jackson.

Cheers also go to the thoughtful folks pushing to open an overnight severe weather shelter in Washougal. As temperatures continue to plummet below 30 degrees Fahrenheit and housing prices in the Pacific Northwest continue to skyrocket, leaders from every city and town in the Portland/Vancouver metro region is going to have to take a very hard look at how they’ll provide for people who do not have a roof over their heads.

The fact that so many people — from the city of Washougal, the Council for the Homeless, the Camas-Washougal Fire Department, the Washougal Police Department and St. Matthew Lutheran Church — have given their free time throughout the winter holiday season to ensure that unhoused people in Camas-Washougal have a safe space to spend bitterly cold nights is a testament to the good hearts that make this area such an attractive place to raise a family. Cheers to them and to their efforts. We hope they can find enough volunteers to make this severe weather shelter a reality in the very near future. For more information about the shelter, the need for volunteers and the upcoming training sessions, see Page A1 in this week’s Post-Record.

Our third cheers goes to the Washougal High students who decided to take their required cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) classes to the next level and go for their CPR and first aid certifications.

Their trainer, Michelle Kruse of Emergency Response Consultants, pointed out that teenagers are at a perfect point in their lives to learn these types of life-saving skills, since they, as Kruse put it, “are quick to act and help any way they can” during an emergency.

We parents of teens often fault them for thinking they’re invincible and taking risks, but this type of focused, fearless thinking is often exactly what people need during a crisis situation. These are fantastic skills to acquire at an early age and it’s comforting to know that teens in Washington State are required to learn CPR as well as how to operate an automated external defibrillator (AED).

Cheers also goes to Dale King, outreach director at Columbia Ridge Senior Living, who helped spearhead the effort to pay for those students’ CPR and first aid certifications, as well as Paul Godin from Farmers Insurance, who also helped cover the students’ costs.

Maybe we’re still in that “season of sharing” mindset — or maybe it’s too early into 2018 for anyone to have goofed up too much — but we don’t have any jeers this month.

Of course, the year has only just begun. And, just like Santa, we know if you’ve been naughty, so expect to see a few jeers in our February Cheers & Jeers column. Until then, enjoy this packed-with-good-news start to 2018.