Grand Ronde, OR – The Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde and Spirit Mountain Community Fund are pleased to announce David Solomon, Volunteer for American Legion Post 10; Robin Gardner, Volunteer Coordinator for CASA of Linn County; and Bard Farmer, Clinical Manager at Willamette Valley Hospice, as this year’s yeʔlan lima (Helping Hand) award winners.

The Spirit Mountain Community Fund frequently celebrates the remarkable achievements of Oregon nonprofit organizations. The Community Fund board and staff realize that the fundamental ingredient to the success of non-profit organizations is the dedication, commitment and unwavering effort of its individual staff and volunteers.

Each year, the Spirit Mountain Community Fund recognizes three highly motivated individuals (an unpaid volunteer, a paid staff member, and a paid management member) who exhibit style and inspiration, and are dedicated to achieving the mission goals and objectives of the nonprofit organization they work with. Each award recipient receives a special plaque, a free night stay and dinner for two at Spirit Mountain Casino, and a check in the amount of $500 for their outstanding contributions to the non-profit sector.

2020 Volunteer Award Winner

David Solomon, Volunteer at American Legion Post 10, is the yeʔlan lima (Helping Hand) award winner for the volunteer category.

David’s nomination letter:

We, the members of American Legion Post 10 Albany, Oregon in Linn County, are pleased to nominate our Commander, David Solomon, for the 2020 Ye?lan Lima Award. Commander Solomon, an unpaid volunteer, puts in numerous hours each day in the daily operation of American Legion Post 10. Commander Solomon is a retired NYFD EMS employee who was one of the first responders at 9/11.

In spite of his injuries and health issues stemming from working “the pile,” David continues to give of himself in remarkable ways. Through his compassionate and supportive leadership, Post 10 has distinguished itself as one of the largest and the most active Posts in this state. Through his efforts, the Post receives funds and donated new toys to help underprivileged children in our area receive a nice Christmas. Each year the Commander dresses up as Santa and spends hours talking to the children who come to sit on his lap and share their most cherished Christmas wishes with him. In the past, the Post has served up to 1250 children.

During COVID and the summer wildfires, David’s leadership helped our community. He opened up to the Post for anyone displaced by the wildfires and helped feed them through the Veterans Food Pantry he established last spring. He also teaches first aid/CPR to the community.

We at Post 10 consider ourselves fortunate to have such a person at the helm and highly recommend him for the ye?lan lima award.

2020 Paid Non-Management Award Winner

Robin Gardner, Volunteer Coordinator for CASA of Linn County, is the yeʔlan lima (Helping Hand) award winner for the paid non-management category.

Robin’s nomination letter:

Robin first joined as a volunteer Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) eleven years ago with the mission to advocate for the best interests of children in foster care. In 2016, she became a paid Volunteer Coordinator who supports over 25 volunteer advocates while continuing to volunteer as an advocate outside her normal work hours.

 At that time, she promised her family that she would retire by 2020. Once 2020 came, the Executive Director at the time resigned and COVID-19 shut the office down. Therefore, Robin displayed immense dedication and commitment to her volunteers and the children they serve by staying on with CASA until the end of the year to train new staff who have come onboard.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Robin provided our first ever Virtual Training via Zoom with new advocates that led to eight new volunteers. Never once did she complain about not being able to do a training in-person and her flexibility allowed us to assign 12 children in foster care to a new advocate.

In conclusion, I am honored to work alongside Robin as she continues to give her “all” every day with compassion and respect to support our volunteer advocates and the children they serve when she had every opportunity to retire at the beginning of year due to the chaos from COVID-19.