Community Light

BANDON — In this time of uncertainty and fear, we have seen tremendous community strength, support, and dedication from our neighbors, friends, first responders, medical professionals, essential workers, students, teachers, and local small businesses. Especially now, we have seen that we are all caregivers.

Over the last few months the Southern Coos Health Foundation and Southern Coos Hospital & Health Center have taken the time to recognize and honor those, like you, who have been lighting up our community with acts of kindness, generosity, and positivity. Those “Community Lights” who have made life a little easier, a little better, a little brighter for those around them and who inspire others to make a mask, check on a neighbor, share a smile, or have a little more patience.

Each person recognized for the Community Lights honor was nominated by a member of the community for the impact they had on them, on their neighbors, on Bandon. The activities were sometimes done quietly, like the staff at Cardas Audio who dedicated themselves to providing safety to those around them by sewing masks, raising funds, and creating 3-D printed materials for doctors and dentists. And, sometimes were big and bright, like the fireworks put on by Anthony Zunino or the money raised by Harv Schubothe and the GBA. But, big or small, out loud or quietly behind the scenes, each activity changed this community and the world just a little bit for the better.

Our fourteen Community Lights were nominated for a variety of different reasons, but each one is worth honoring one more time.

  • Victoria McNeely, the Risk & Quality Manager at Southern Coos Hospital & Health Center was honored for her work in initiating the incident response command team at SCHHC and ensuring that the hospital and community were prepared for the unprecedented pandemic.
  • Susan Swaton deSalvatore, was honored for “committing hundreds of hours with a dedicated heart and kind soul to provide free masks for anyone in our community in need of them. We know masks save lives, and Susan is saving lives with her work. She has been a Bandon treasure.”
  • Cathy Mann, was honored not only for “her work at the hospital, ensuring that as federal and state insurance, billing, and coverage changes were made at unimaginable speed her team stayed on top it all. But also, for her work with her sewing group making masks, gowns, and blankets to benefit the hospital, its staff, guests, patients, and the community at large.”
  • Coastal Harvest Food Pantry and its Executive Director Christine Roberts, were honored for being a constant service for the community. “When other food programs closed down, Christine remained open. She suspended the monthly program fee and volunteer hour agreement so no member would go without. Additionally, Christine opened the program to anyone needing extra food in these times. Christine also helped organize food drives at mask distributions as well as free vegetable seed and plant start giveaways. She also increased resource sharing with other food programs that remained open, which facilitated weekly food distribution throughout Bandon. Finally, to be certain fresh produce was always available for distribution, she helped form a 400 sq. ft. Organic garden which, when harvested, will be available to anyone, with no strings attached.”
  • Cardas Audio and Angela Cardas, were honored for using “space in their manufacturing facility to make masks for healthcare workers and community members free or by donation.” As well as, “Angela and her family have turned their business into an assembly line for making high quality masks for businesses and individuals in the community. They have used their 3D printer to make and donate respirator parts for hospitals. They have also helped procure PPE for local businesses and refused to take payment. They have truly been a light to our family and many others.”
  • Jennifer Parker was honored as a physical therapist assistant at Southwest Physical Therapy and provider of patient care for Southern Coos Hospital. “The average age of her patients is easily in the 70's. While being consistently creative in her activities and exercises for her patients, Jennifer has also been exemplary in keeping their attitudes and spirits up, especially during uncertain times like these for us and our country.”
  • April Flowers, who works in environmental services at SCHHC, was honored for doing “a great job keeping the place clean and sanitized.  She always greets people with a warm welcome, always displays a good mood and attitude and always has a cheery disposition. She brightens up the hospital in more ways than one!”
  • Wilsons Market and Archie Garrett, were honored for all they have done to ensure first responders and healthcare workers had great food to eat, specifically “On May 28, 2020, they had two bags of burritos hot and ready for employees to eat right before lunch. They informed us that it was another donation of food for us to enjoy and to thank us for our hard work. This is not the first time they have done this, and we wanted to thank them so very much for being so thoughtful and caring. We always appreciate an amazing lunch and getting it from such a wonderful business as a "thank you" made it that much better! Thank you Wilson's market from all of us here at Southern Coos Hospital!!!”
  • Dawn Churchill of A Little Bite International, was honored for developing “creative ways to humbly give back to the community. She has furnished numerous frozen meals to Coastal Harvest Food Pantry for distribution and has now offered hot meals to anyone who feel they have a need.  As Dawn said, "just let me know.  No questions will be asked." As well as for “since the start of the pandemic Dawn has adapted her business model over and over again to adapt to the needs of the community while staying open to be sure that working professionals, home bound patients and caregivers had access to affordable home cooked meals. She has prepared and distributed homemade meals monthly for the local food bank to distribute to the members of our community who may not be able to afford to pay for nutritious homemade meals; she has promoted and cross marketed all local businesses and restaurants to encourage locals to stay and shop local as well as encourage other businesses to support one another; offering daily free meals for families that can’t afford to buy food; engaging with other small businesses to provide support, advice, and most importantly, encouragement during these challenging period; and, for regularly provide food to homeless people in the neighborhood.
  • Anthony Zunino of Freedom Graphics, was honored for “the work that [he] did to bring a smile to the community at a time when there seemed to be little to smile about; and, coordinating the 4th of July fireworks to the surprise and wonderment of Bandon Community Members.”
  • Wendi Melgoza, Nancy Caldwell, Devrie Graves, and Alicia Coffey, of the SCHHC Health Information Management Team, were honored for “doing a fantastic job at keeping informed about changing regulations as well as adapting to changes related to COVID-19. The HIM team goes well beyond their call of duty every day." As well as for “maintaining positive attitudes despite challenging times, providers, patients, insurance companies, and medical records systems.”
  • Harv Schubothe of the Greater Bandon Association was honored for “being consistently positive and engaged with the main street business community and community at large and for providing a shining example of what a community light is. Your diligence and dedication to the growth and economic prosperity of the entire community is recognized and appreciated.”
  • David Hisel of Banner Bank was honored for “being consistent and engaged and providing great support and information related to CARES Act funding. David was readily available for members of the local business community who had questions on the payroll protection program, providing direction, calm, and support for business owners. Your dedication to the community is recognized and appreciated.”
  • Cari George, Amber Heisen, Hannah Bailey, and Kenia Whittaker, who make up the front office staff at South West Internal Medicine were honored for “being consistently positive and full of good humor. The front office staff always remembers your name, what you need, and why you’re there. They have made coming to the doctor’s office during COVID less scary.” 

As we look back on all of our nominees and our awarded Community Lights, we want to not only highlight those who were acknowledged, but each and every community member who has taken the time to be a light in the community.

Thank you for joining us this summer as we rallied around a theme of “Bandon Together” and “Community Resilience” and spotlighted a handful of our community members who represent a light in the community.

Our community is stronger together.

For more information, contact Scott McEachern at 541.329.1040 or foundation@southerncoos.org.

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