Spreading hope and healing
The Clackamas County Behavioral Health Department has been celebrating people in our community who go out of their ways to help others with the Super Heart Hero Awards for the last six years. The winners have all been nominated by their peers in the community. This year’s entries include everything from a 4-year-old neighborhood organizer to business owners providing food and beverages to first responders during the wildfires.
The multiple crises we faced as a community this past year brought out best in residents of Clackamas County. We heard many powerful stories of the courage and kindness displayed during these trying times. Read on to learn about the 2021 Super Heart Heroes, who have showed up and given care and support when it was most needed.
This year's winners
An individual, family, or organization that supported safety and recovery in their community during the multiple natural disasters over the past year.
Cazadero Steakhouse | Estacada
“The owners of this restaurant, which was right near an edge of the Riverside Fire, provided food and beverages for first responders and others in need, opened their parking lot for use by first responders and then Red Cross and other resources for impacted community members. Truly, they deserve recognition for their generosity and support, especially in a year that was so incredibly difficult for the restaurant industry.”
Darrel Hall | Clackamas Sunrise Rotary Club
“Darrel exemplifies service above self with his caring and dedication to our community. When COVID hit and the shutdown occurred, Darrel quickly asked the club to be part of the solution. He and the club supported the community by promoting hope, safety, connection and recovery.
Examples of Darrel’s and the Club’s outstanding community service include:
- Supported hope and emotional wellness with signs strategically placed around town that said things like, "You Matter."
- Funded a portable shower cart with other local Rotary Clubs to support the health of the houseless.
- Provided hygiene and laundry kits to LoveOne Laundry,
- Donated over 1,000 bottles of water to the Clackamas Service Center
- Held a food drive for the Wichita Center for Family and Community,
- Packed 100 sack lunches for the Father's Heart for many weeks throughout the year,
- Donated pet food and hygiene products to Clackamas Service Center,
When wildfires were burning out of control, and the smoke was overwhelming, Darrel and the club:
- Helped people relocate from their homes,
- Volunteered at the mobile shower cart for evacuees,
- Provided lunches to displaced families at the Milwaukie Elks Club.
- Provided Love One with towels, toiletries, and fuel,
- Collected items for the firefighters, food pantries and clothing needs
- Coordinated & distributed food boxes to county evacuation locations
- Financially supported victims of the COVID/Fire Disasters.
Every step of the way, Darrel took the lead to support safety, recovery, and support for these disasters. He set an example to the club and community by being the first to step up. Darrell Hall truly is a superhero!”
Recognizes an individual, family, or small group who has raised awareness of behavioral health issues, initiated projects with a lasting impact, and/or influenced systems or policy changes.
Fraser Bethell | Community member, 4 years old
“Although Fraser is only 4 years old, she helped the neighborhood come together and get through Covid-19 and quarantine with her happy heart. She organized a neighborhood Happy Hour every Friday that included sidewalk chalk, treats, and entertainment. She motivated the neighbors to get out and just forget for a short time what we were all going through together. She is super sweet, smart, and understood COVID. We all forgot what children were going through- missing their friends, their school, grandparents and parks to mention a few. It’s not all about adults!”
Student Mental Health Committee | Oregon City High School
“This group of teens has worked to promote Mental Health Awareness and support for their high school peers. They have contributed classroom lessons in weekly Social Emotional Lesson times for all classrooms at Oregon City High School. They have presented to parent groups, school staff, and have started a buddy program to create a weekly space for students who are in need of extra support and can use a friend. I am amazed by this group of young women and what they have done to promote mental health awareness and reduce the stigma.”
Recognizes an organization, business, or institution that has implemented innovative behavioral health programs and/or policies that positively affect the emotional well-being of employees and the greater community.
Bridges to Change Clackamas County
“Since COVID-19 began, Bridges to Change (BTC) Clackamas County has given hope to lots of individuals. They have provided connection during the times of isolation, and promoted mental health services by partnering with agencies in Clackamas County…They have continued to provide peer support, alcohol and drug treatment, mental health, employment and addition resource assistance for people in Clackamas County. They have had over 90 clients that successfully found permanent housing, jobs and a sense of community. They are providing support, community and hope for the justice involved population.”
Trauma Intervention Program NW (TIP)
“Trauma Intervention Program NW (TIP) is an active part of the Clackamas County community, partnering with emergency personnel (law enforcement, fire departments), Behavioral Health, hospitals, Medical Examiners, schools and businesses. TIP Volunteers are called to assist family members after a sudden or natural death, victims of crime, witnesses to tragedy, children left alone after the death or injury of a parent, employees following a workplace crisis and anyone traumatized by a crisis event. They provide immediate practical and compassionate assistance to citizens on the worst day of their lives – what TIP refers to as "daily disasters." In the last year, during COVID, wildfires and civil unrest, TIP has continued their mission of supporting anyone, anywhere, for any reason.”
Recognizes a unique individual or family, who promotes safety and connection to older adults through acts of kindness and compassion.
Bill Fitzpatrick | Lines for Life
“During this trying year of the pandemic and multiple disasters, Bill went above and beyond to provide connection and support to the older adults in our community through the Senior Loneliness Line. He worked 7 days per week and was the primary person answering these calls when volunteers were not working. Without this service and his amazing commitment and passion for supporting this population, many would have experienced increased anxiety and loneliness during this time.”
Mike Miskowicz | Community member
"Mike is a neighbor that everyone would hold as an ideal if they could choose one. The following are only some of the many and ongoing kind and responsible services Mike has given to the community:
- Selflessly cleans up the neighborhood with chainsaw in hand after every wind event helping the elderly that cannot...- extensive cleanup clearing roads, driveways and either burning or hauling away debris.
- Provided road signage, lighting and painting to the Zig Zag bridge to keep the neighborhood safe, all done at his expense.
- During the fires, and without asking, brought out generators and pulled extension cords to area neighbors, keeping people safe and comfortable, protecting food and keeping people feeling secure.
- He is endlessly doing small favors without asking for everyone around him.
- Gives access to the Department of Fish and Game to use his property for salmon habitat research.
Again, these are just a few of wonderful things Mike does for his community and the county. You couldn't ask for a better human being!”
Recognizes an exemplary Clackamas County staff member, team, or department who goes above and beyond, leading with courage and heart to make a difference in physical and mental wellness.
Chrystal Hohn | Folktime
“Chrystal has gone above and beyond regular job duties to advocate for mental health and addictions. She is proud to talk about her own recovery and has helped so many others over the years. I want to honor her dedication to making the world a better place and leading with courage, hope and vulnerability.”
Lois Orner | Social Services
“Lois Orner leads with her heart in all she does, and it is hard to imagine a more supportive manager.”
“Lois has a way to make you feel cared for, heard, and appreciated, and is a great team builder.. Her humor is infectious, which lightens our load. Her leadership allows us to do our best work for the County because she is doing her best work for us.”
“This past year, with multiple emergencies, has only proven to magnify her extraordinary ability to actively listen and consistently connect with the individuals on each and every team in Volunteer Connection. She reminds staff that while we continue serving vulnerable populations, we are also “living the work” ourselves and helps to lighten the mood with her words of appreciation and confidence.”
“Lois is always willing to participate in difficult discussions, even when there is no clear path. Her empathy for staff is limitless, and she never puts work before people. Lois simply makes this world a better place. We are all better people for having known her. She is a bright light in darkness and brings hope when all feels hopeless.”
“Lois has been a true leader to this team. She is caring, creative, funny, quirky, protective, inquisitive, fresh, honest and trustworthy. During the pandemic she was always so re-assuring and cared about how her staff were coping.”
Equity and Inclusion Office
“They've taken an active role in leading Clackamas County towards a direction in where people like myself or people who look like me can have some hope and connection while working at the county. They have created spaces and places where I, and people who look like me, can feel accepted/heard. As this year and life has been very difficult to live/work in Clackamas County, they have instilled hope for BIPOC folks and those who feel marginalized. Many times, I wanted to quit my job due to the pain and trauma that my colleagues caused by not knowing how their privileges are shown/used against people like myself. Yet, Gary Schmidt and the EIO staff continue to persevere their attempts to change the county lenses/actions/policies to welcome people like myself. There is much work to be done in Clackamas County but knowing people like them exist and hold power in the county, I'm willing to continue to fight alongside them.”
Recognizes an individual, family, or small group who has championed inclusion and support of BIPOC/ LGBTQ+ individuals and communities.
New Avenues for Youth – Robinswood
“The New Avenues for Youth Robinswood program is a Behavioral Rehabilitation Services (BRS) placement for youth in foster care ages 9-20 located on the former Marylhurst campus in Lake Oswego. During the COVID-19 crisis, Robinswood staff adapted quickly in adherence of recommended public health safety protocols and operated without interruption. Due to behavioral complexities, including suicidality and self-harm, youth living at Robinswood need a higher level of care than community-based foster homes can offer. Robinswood provides housing to youth of all gender identities and sexual orientations, with a disproportionate number of Robinswood residents identifying as LGBTQIA2AS+. Many youth have been shunned by their families or guardians based on these identities and experience the immense trauma of rejection. Robinswood staff members work with these youth to identify positive supports, listen empathetically, validate feelings, and encourage vulnerability. All support services are provided through a lens of gender-affirming care, including queer and trans-focused support groups, LGBTQIA2S+ specialty healthcare access, and education in support of healthy relationships.”
Sara Hepler | Community member
“Sara Hepler is an advocate for all. She is a beloved community member who makes inclusion her priority. Sara helps with Canby High School's PFLAG group and makes sure our community is safe for our LGBTQ neighbors. In June of 2020, she coordinated a peaceful vigil to honor Black lives. This created a beautiful opportunity for our community to come together in 20 minutes of silent reflection, prayer and meditation to help heal and bring our community together. Sarah Hepler has created an atmosphere in our community that has promoted hope, safety, connection and recovery in Clackamas County.”