It Takes an Entire Canoe

No event like ours could happen without lots of time and energy being put in by volunteers who care about the community and about creating fun experiences for others.

The MVP of Volunteers for this year is certainly our board president, Kelly Jones. If Kelly ever gets her sights set on you, it can be a bit intimidating—she is so very passionate and tenacious! She keeps us all hustling and never lets us forget why we are putting in the time. She amasses the most donations and rustles the most volunteers. Kelly wrangled Andrea, Kandie, Raelynn, Lynn, and Christina to help us again this year. Thanks to everyone on Kelly’s crew!

The OG of Paddle for Life, and of the Portland/Vancouver dragon boating community in general, is Ric McLaughlin. He is the person who makes the physical resources– racing boats, pilot boats, docks, start and finish lines, vests, paddles, and much more– get to where they need to be. Ric collects his own gang of workers to measure, build, haul, place, and oversee. Thanks to Butch, Shane, Doug, and Freddie for assisting Ric. A special shout out to Butch who built us an amazing results board to use at this year’s races.

My husband, Bill Beale, was “voluntold” he would be joining the Paddle for Life board. He handles the stressful job of tracking results at the finish line. Thanks, honey.

Our board treasurer, Tamara Elam, will be helping Ric at the start line this year, but will probably need to till boats now and then, too. We are lucky she is so versatile and talented.

Members of the Philippine Nurses Association of Oregon & Washington will be at our event again this year to keep us all safe. I just love their mission statement: “To engage in charitable activities that will promote unity among Filipino American nurses in Oregon and Washington.”

Volunteers from the City of Ridgefield, Catch 22 of Vancouver Lake Paddling Club, Mighty Women Paddling Club, and the DragonSprites have signed up to help with set up, registration, marshaling, dock work, and tear down. Way to step up! We are so grateful.

I, Heidi Steigmann, enjoy acting as the mouthpiece of Paddle for Life and doing whatever Kelly needs me to do.

Thanks, all y’all.