During a year of unprecedented challenges, several Washougal residents maintained — and in some cases increased — their efforts to make their community a better place.
Their deeds have not gone unnoticed. On April 23, Washougal Mayor Molly Coston presented Tom Pastore, Cindy Reidel, Pam Clark and Rochelle Ramos with “Hometown Heroes” awards in recognition of their volunteer services and community leadership actions in 2020.
Reidel and Pastore received the Rose M. Jewel Volunteer of the Year Award, which honors “individuals who give above and beyond to the entire community,” according to the city.
Reidel and Pastore collect items for the Hathway Clothing Closet, the Gateway Church, the Salvation Army and Refuel Washougal; receive and distribute pet food and supplies for the West Columbia Gorge Humane Society; and coordinate information and items for local foster care programs, among other activities.
“You’re a wonderful part of our community,” Coston told them after presenting them with a plaque.
Pastore and Riedel told Coston they were especially honored to receive an award named for Jewell, the city’s assistant to the city manager.
“The reason we volunteer here is because of Rose,” Reidel said. “When we moved from Vancouver to Washougal, we kept driving to Vancouver to volunteer at Share Vancouver. Then one day I said to Tom, ‘There’s got to be something here in Washougal,’ so I called city hall and Rose answered. She said, ‘I can get you plugged in.’ And plug us in she did.”
Clark received the Community Leadership Award, which honors those who “engage like-minded individuals to build relationships and collaborate to address community concerns, and possess empathy to inspire others to take pride in their community.”
Clark has led or been involved in a large number of community events and programs, including Refuel Washougal, the Hathaway Coat Closet, the Washougal High School Alumni Scholarship golf tournament, the RAD Outreach backpack supply scholarship drive, the Washougal Holiday Bazaar, the Washougal Festival of Trees and many others for several decades.
“We really appreciate all the time that she has spent working in our community,” Coston said.
Clark, a lifelong Washougal resident, told Coston she volunteers “because she loves it.”
“I have been very fortunate in my journey, and I want to give back to those who haven’t been as fortunate,” Clark told the Post-Record in early 2021. “It’s the right thing to do.”
Ramos received the Community Initiative Award, for those who “recognize a need in the community and have the willingness to take responsibility to develop the solution and carry the solution through to fruition.”
In 2019, Ramos and John Henriksen launched Lunchmoney, a nonprofit indoor skate park in Washougal.
“I was here at the grand opening, and I was floored at the number of people coming out to skate – little kids, teenagers, older folks,” Coston said. “I didn’t realize how popular the sport was. We’re so glad that (Lunchmoney is) a part of our community.”
“We were just looking for something for our kids to do in our community,” Ramos told the Post-Record in 2019. “We want to provide a safe and positive environment for them to hang out and be active.”