One morning earlier this summer, David Stuebe walked out onto his deck, cup of coffee in hand, and took in a view of Hathaway Park, which was strewn with trash and debris, a sight that dismayed and annoyed the Washougal city councilman.
But a few moments later, he spotted a man walking his dog along the edge of the waterfront, picking up and throwing away any garbage he could find. Stuebe wanted to thank the man for his efforts, but by the time he ran over to the park, the man had departed.
Stuebe caught up to the man a few weeks later.
“I was like, ‘I want to thank you, No. 1. No. 2, I’d like to give you some recognition from the city,'” Stuebe said during the council’s virtual workshop session on Monday, July 26. “He was like, ‘I really don’t want the recognition.’ I said, ‘If people see the kind things that you are doing, it will become infectious, and they will do (similar things).”
Inspired by Stuebe’s words, the Washougal city council decided during the workshop session to create a way to recognize the good deeds that are happening in the community and the people that do them.
“There are so many negative things being reported,” Stuebe said. “We need to recognize people who do good things for our city. We have been locked up. People are angry. There’s a lot of negative emotions out there right now. I think this would be a really fun, positive project. I would like to pursue that and see if we can get that established.”
Stuebe suggested the recognition could come in the form of a “citation” or certificate, signed by Washougal’s mayor. He also said that “anybody (could) nominate anybody,” possibly through the city’s website, and suggested that local businesses could get involved by donating prizes to the award-winners.
Councilman Paul Greenlee floated the idea of creating embroidered patches or lapel pins.
“It might be possible to get some little ‘goody’ like that that could be handed out,” he said. “It wouldn’t need to be expensive.”
Stuebe also asked about the possibility of custom-made coins, similar to those given out by various branches of the United States military.
“There’s a lot of options,” he said. “But I think the most important thing is the recognition. I think it’d be nice to have a city award to recognize good things. The reason why I’m proposing that is (doing good things can be) infectious.”
Washougal Mayor Molly Coston said she’ll work with Stuebe to bring his concept to fruition.
“It’s a lovely idea,” she said. “I think it’s got some legs, and it’d be fairly straightforward to do.”
Other council members expressed their support for the idea as well.
“When my kids were in elementary school, (the recognitions) were called ‘high-fives,'” said councilwoman Julie Russell. “They’d do good things and get a ‘high-five’ paper hand with their name on it and they got to choose (a prize) out of the ‘goody box’ from the Dollar Store if they got 10 of them. They loved it. I love this idea.”
“It’s definitely something worth looking at and pursuing to see if it’s something we can do,” councilman Ernie Suggs added. “I like the (idea of a) certificate, something you can put up on your wall or in a scrapbook. It’d be kind of nice — good kudos.”