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    Volunteers recognized for outstanding service to Marion County

    Posted by: Business Services

    ​More than 129,000 hours with a value of $3.1 million – these are the 2018 contributions of Marion County's 1,742 volunteers. The Board of Commissioners celebrated the dedicated efforts of county volunteers on April 10 in honor of National Volunteer Week.

     Please join us in congratulating our 2019 volunteer award recipients: 

    Youth Volunteer – Payton Schlag

    The Youth Volunteer Award was developed to recognize volunteer accomplishments of young people 24 years and under in county programs and departments. 

    Eleven-year-old Payton Schlag is already a seasoned volunteer with the Marion County Fair. She first volunteered at only 8 years old. For the last two years she has volunteered at the information booth greeting fairgoers with courtesy and professionalism. In preparing for her duties at the information booth, she walked the areas around the booth making sure she knew where main attractions, restrooms, and other common areas were located so she could easily answer questions. Payton also serves as a peer tutor at her middle school and she is already signed up to volunteer at the 2019 fair.

    Advisory Board Volunteer – Bob Anderson

    The Advisory Board Volunteer of the Year award is to recognize individuals who have made significant contributions to a Marion County advisory board. 

    Bob Anderson was recognized for his contributions on the Solid Waste Management Advisory Council. Bob has led the council as chair many times during his 18 years of service. He has provided guidance for county waste reduction and recycling programs, including some of the first commingled recycling collection programs in Oregon.  Bob and SWMAC were instrumental in starting one of the only programs in the nation that offers curbside collection of paint and household batteries among other items. Bob's business, AJ's Automotive Repair, was also recognized in 2013 for its green practices at the Mid-Valley Green Awards.

    Program Award – Monica Melhorn

    The program award is intended for those volunteers who display dedication and exemplary accomplishments within the division or program in which they volunteer.

    Monica Melhorn began as a dog walker at the Marion County Dog Shelter in 2018. She quickly transitioned to the foster program. Monica often fosters difficult to adopt dogs – high energy, herding breeds, young, and smart dogs. She offers insight to shelter staff on the dog's behaviors and needs, as well as helps potential adopters who want to know as much as possible about a dog before adopting. Monica regularly brings foster dogs to outreach events to help them find potential forever homes.

    Mary Pearmine Outstanding Volunteer Group – Lowell Spring and the Salem Audubon Society

    This award is in honor of the late Mary Pearmine who served as commissioner for Marion County from 1991-1998. In addition to being the first woman commissioner, Mary was a champion of volunteers and volunteer groups.

    Lowell Spring has been cleaning the roadside on Buena Vista Rd S and Ankeny Hill Rd S since 1995. Lowell often does most of this work on his own, representing the Salem Audubon Society. The Salem Audubon Society Adopt-A-Road group has been cleaning this roadside for 23 years, not only saving the county time and money, but also encouraging others to clean up and properly dispose of trash to keep the roadside clean. Marion County appreciates the Salem Audubon Society's long term dedication to preserving the beauty of Buena Vista and South Ankeny Hill Roads.  

    Judge Rex Hartley Volunteer of the Year – Ulrich Reich  

    The late Rex Hartley served as a county judge and commissioner for Marion County from 1951-1966. Judge Hartley was dedicated to involving citizens in the development of the county.

    Ulrich Reich, also known as Uli, championed establishing a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) in Woodburn in 2014. Uli's leadership and continued dedication to recruiting, training, and managing this CERT team has resulted in a strong and successful response team that is well integrated into the community and capable of assisting local partners in a variety of tasks. Uli helped develop the Woodburn CERT Firefighter Rehab team. This team responds to local emergencies to provide rehabilitation services to fire and police service personnel. Under Uli's leadership, Woodburn CERT also assists with open houses at the fire department, community preparedness events, and regularly host CPR/AED and CERT classes.

    These are just a few of Marion County's volunteers and volunteer opportunities. In addition to these special awards, we appreciate the time and talents each of our volunteers contribute to enhance our programs and services. Volunteer positions are varied; there is something for everyone!

    For a list of current volunteer opportunities or to learn more about Marion County's volunteer program, contact Volunteer Coordinator Lisa Miller at (503) 588-7990, email or visit  

    Volunteers recognized for outstanding service to Marion County
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