Individual: Debbie Newport
Debbie Newport is a retired school counselor and school administrator and has championed many efforts to improve the lives of children in Sisters Country. She promotes a prosperous community through her instrumental support of local non-profit organizations, including the Sisters Folk Festival, Circle of Friends, and C4C. Debbie recently led the Executive Director search for both C4C and Circle of Friends. She has served on the Board for the Folk Festival and has volunteered countless hours of her time over the past several years for a wide variety of community needs and projects.
Organization: Sisters Athletic Club
The Sisters Athletic Club (SAC) is not just a place for exercise but also a community hub where people can connect and socialize. During the pandemic, SAC owner Tate Metcalf and his team showed unending resilience, positivity, and dedication to the health and safety of their members and staff while still creatively providing programming and services to their members. The SAC provides more than 35 local jobs, and was nominated by 5 different staff members! Owner Tate Metcalf has a civic-oriented spirit but a humble heart, never asking for recognition of his numerous donations to the Sisters High School athletic teams, homeless shelters, membership scholarships to families in need, and to other local businesses over the difficult past year.
Individual: Mandee Seeley
Mandee Seeley is a tenacious, friendly, and down-to-earth advocate for the unhoused. She has worked hard to make Sisters Country a more livable and resilient community through her work with the Sisters Cold Weather Shelter and the Sisters Houseless Networking Group. Mandee restarted the Sisters Houseless Networking group to connect with our houseless neighbors in order to provide resources to meet their needs. She organized multiple clean-ups in the forest to keep that area habitable for the entire community. She has helped to organize outreach opportunities to connect with our houseless neighbors with services. Mandee has advocated to and partnered with the City of Sisters, DCSO, and the US Forest Service to engage with members of the houseless community in a positive way.
Age Friendly Sisters Country (AFSC) has a mission to make Sisters Country a more livable, caring community for all. This group supports community members of all ages, however it is their work supporting and filling service gaps for older adults that has been truly remarkable. AFSC stepped right up during COVID to launch the Sisters Transportation and Ride Share (STARS) program, offering free rides to those who cannot drive in Sisters Country. STARS volunteers, many of whom are over 60 years of age, helped people get vaccinated, fed, medicated, and retain their necessary healthcare appointments during a time of risk for all involved. Beyond the STARS rideshare program, AFSC cultivated a group of community volunteers to establish Sisters as an Age Friendly City, and continue to be a fiscal partner for new community action projects and ideas.
Individual: Roger Johnson
Chief Roger Johnson is the fearless leader of the Sisters-Camp Sherman Fire District who calmly and humbly manages a very high level of responsibility and a very demanding workload, never more so than during the pandemic, a year that also included devastating wildfires and other challenges for our community. For the Sisters COVID-19 immunization pop up clinic, Chief Johnson immediately volunteered the fire station and his crew.
In the spirit of inclusiveness, the Fire District team has a goal to ensure that public documents on wildfire safety awareness and resources are also made available to the Latino community of Sisters. This spring, Fire Chief Roger Johnson and Director Jack McGowan from the Sisters-Camp Sherman Fire District worked with Latino community leaders to coordinate the translation of the entire document into a Spanish version (with the help of Margie Lombardo, and Bill & Wendy Birmbaum to ensure the messaging was correct). Chief Johnson is highly collaborative, listens and learns, keeps a positive outlook, and his continued leadership is critical to a more resilient Sisters!
Organization: Sisters School District (SSD)
Superintendent Curtiss Scholl and his staff have provided solid leadership during the COVID pandemic to ensure the safety of students and the community at-large while also maximizing in-person learning and other important community services.
In 2020, Supt. Scholl allowed an interagency incident management team (IMT) overseeing the Green Ridge Fire to use Sisters Middle School as an incident command post. By assuring his staff that safety protocols around COVID-19 would be adhered to, the IMT was able to use a strategic area for fire command which helped contribute to their success managing the Green Ridge fire and protecting key assets at risk — including the communities of Sisters and Camp Sherman.
Individual: Robyn Holdman
Robyn Holdman’s dedicated leadership and commitment to community has benefitted Sisters Country in many ways. Perhaps most visibly, Robyn served for six years as founding president of Citizens4Community (C4C). Under Robyn’s strong leadership, C4C grew from a nascent idea into a stably-funded organization with significant roles to play in creating a more connected and collaborative Sisters Country. Back in 2015 when the community was experiencing some turmoil, Robyn saw the value of an organization with no agenda other than to improve civil discourse and generally benefit the community by better connecting people to information and each other. Through a combination of community tools, projects, workshops, forums and community celebrations, Robyn paved the way for C4C’s strategies to fundamentally strengthen Sisters Country and bring people together to respectfully address challenges and opportunities.
Organization: Circle of Friends
Circle of Friends, a volunteer-based organization, has been offering critical services to at-risk youth in Sisters since 2011. Throughout the pandemic, their services were critical to keeping at-risk youth connected with positive and supportive adult mentorship, along with staying connected to their peers. These long-term mentorships are designed to help end the cycle of poverty experienced by youth and families by providing opportunities for building life skills, positive relationships, academic support, social and emotional development, independent decision making, and more! Through COVID-19, Circle of Friends joyfully celebrated all the milestones their 50 children and teens experienced during the pandemic. Their mentors have made and delivered birthday cakes, cheered for a young budding artist being selected to work on a mural at Sisters Middle School, championed a Mentor coming to the clubhouse to provide much needed haircuts, and so much more! Circle of Friends underwent a leadership change in 2020 when Nicole Swisher Woodson accepted the position of Executive Director. As a fearless leader and advocate, she has helped keep Circle of Friends afloat during challenging times. Through high-quality, innovative programming and ongoing support, Circle of Friends is helping Sisters become a more connected and resilient community one child at a time.