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Honoring those who build community

The Mid-Columbia Health Foundation has announced nominees for the 2017 Tradition of Compassion Philanthropy Awards to recognize people who donate their time and talents to build a healthy community.

The program has been around for 11 years and 51 awards have been given, touching 284 lives, according to Celeste Hill-Thomas, executive director of the foundation.

She said each year, about 175 people attend the event, which takes place this year at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, March 9, at Water’s Edge Health & Wellness Center, 551 Lone Pine Boulevard.

“The Tradition of Compassion event was created to honor people in our community doing just that through volunteerism and philanthropic support,” said Hill-Thomas.

Tickets cost $15 each and reservations should be made by March 1. To do so, call the foundation at 541-296-7275 or email Purchase tickets online at

Each year, the foundation, which is the fundraising arm of Mid-Columbia Medical Center, accepts nominations in four categories.

A committee consisting of Hill-Thomas and community members Jason Corey, Dean Dollarhide, Dennis Morgan, Bob Brockman, Joyce Powell-Morin, Marilyn Wong and Connie Jubitz selects recipients for awards.

As a bonus, the foundation donates $200 to the charity of choice in the name of each award recipient.

The committee has made these selections for the 2017 awards:

• Outstanding Volunteer: Janeal Booren, Terry Chance, Larry Clark, Les Cochenour, Greg Cummings, Mary Davis, Connie Glesener, Suzanne Krieg, Sherry Munro, Nathan Nanez and Swede Pearson.

• Outstanding Community Service Organization: Distinguished Young Women of Wasco County, Pig Bowl and The Dalles Backpack Program.

• Outstanding Philanthropist: Dr. Keith and Susan Stelzer, James and Eileen Thomas, and Dr. Wallace Wolf.

Outstanding Philanthropic Corporation: Copper West Properties, Google and Rivermark Community Credit Union.

The Tradition of Compassion Philanthropy Awards, sponsored by The Springs at Mill Creek for the second year in a row, is a wonderful way to acknowledge those who make The Dalles a great place to live, work and play, said Hill-Thomas.

Other sponsors include Griffith Motors, CenterPointe Community Bank, The Dalles Grocery Outlet and Columbia State Bank.

Not only does the foundation celebrate nominees each year, it also honors great places in and around The Dalles, said Evans.

The award ceremony has been held at Griffith Motors’ new showroom, the Fort Dalles Readiness Center, Mid-Columbia-Fire and Rescue, and other locations.

The foundation raises money to help patients and programs at MCMC’s hospital and clinics.

In 2008, the foundation provided funding for technology that would bring MCMC’s diagnostic imaging from film to a digital system – and then secured two new mammography machines. Through the foundation’s fundraising efforts, nearly 400 free mammograms have been provided to local women — and led to seven breast cancer diagnoses – since the foundation created the Breast health for Strong Families program in 2010.

Most recently, the foundation completed funding for the Level the Playing Field Project, which provided upgrades and new equipment for a weight room at The Dalles High School.

“All of these projects have something in common – health,” said Hill-Thomas.

“Building a healthy community is at the core of what the foundation does.”


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