2019 Unsung Heroes

One of the positive annual events associated with our community is the recognition of volunteerism, through the “Unsung Hero” Award.  Just shy of 20 years, we have been recognizing people in Lake Oswego who best exemplified selfless community service.  These are the people that work quietly, often behind the scenes without seeking or receiving pay or recognition.  These are the people who when you ask for help put their hand up, step forward, and get things done without a motive other than helping their neighbors and their community.  These are the people that make Lake Oswego such a wonderful place to live and raise our families.

Over the years the City has recognized 82 outstanding volunteers; and this year we are excited to recognize another group of outstanding citizens as our 2019 “Unsung Heroes.”

Dorothy Atwood

For more than 30 years Dorothy has provided the organization, dedication and energetic commitment to sustainability both globally and locally in Lake Oswego.

With a long time interest in environmental issues, she was a member of the Oregon Environmental Council board and active as a coaching volunteer for the Oregon Natural Step Network helping businesses and communities develop sustainability plans for their organizations.  Later she co-founded the International Society of Sustainability Professionals, whose mission was to “empower professionals to advance sustainability in organizations and communities around the globe”.  Dorothy also worked with the Lake Oswego School District to bring sustainability practices to the district including getting schools certified as part of the state’s Green School Program.  

Even after 30 years, Dorothy remains an active volunteer, working tirelessly toward making our community more sustainable and a better place for all of us! 

Michael Eyer

Mike has been bringing his positive, reliable hard working self to his Library volunteer position for 33 years!  Always willing to help, for almost every week of those 33 years he has picked up books at the book drops and delivered them to the Library.    Library staff refer to his vehicle as the ‘Bookmobile’: on Saturdays he visits every book drop in the city, sorts and separates each load, and delivers them to the library.  After 33 years, we are confident Mike has touched every book in the library collection and has delivered over 150,000 items!

Along with Library volunteering, Mike has also brought his volunteer energy to Lake Grove Job Seekers for 10 years, helping people find employment, and routinely donates blood at the blood drives.  Mike is a true hero and we thank him!

Linda Mathes

Linda has been tirelessly devoted to serving Hunger Fighters and keeping the engine running for this much needed program in our community.

Nearly 10% of students in the Lake Oswego School District qualify for free or reduced meals.  Linda has been the organizing magician behind the program and volunteers almost full-time to serve a growing number of LO families in need of food assistance.  She has developed policies and procedures to facilitate getting food to families in need, establishing a steering committee structure to run the pantry.  She has organized ongoing food drives and developed fundraising efforts to assure a continuous supply of food stock for the panty.  Linda also coaches and trains other volunteers and effectively engages them in service to others.  Linda is a special person who has a long-term commitment to being of service to others and giving back to the community. 

Linda Mathes epitomizes the spirt of the Lake Oswego Unsung Hero!

Becky Owens and Cyndi Spear

As longtime co-chairs for the Lake Oswego School District Student Services Parent Advisory Committee, (SSPAC), Becky and Cyndi have advocated tirelessly on behalf of students with disabilities and their families.  Through their leadership, SSPAC has solidified its role in support of special needs students throughout the LO School District and the community.  Together these two volunteer extraordinaires have developed a collaborative partnership with the District Special Services staff, spending countless hours improving programs for all students.  One program they have improved is the Welcome to My World program, an interactive program that lets typically-abled elementary students experience what it might be like to have a disability.  The program helps students to develop empathy and understanding of their classmates.  This program was expanded to include middle school students through the “Extraordinary Abilities Week” which extended the compassion and discussion to older students.  As the leaders for SSPAC, together Becky and Cyndi have brought awareness, compassion, and empathy to all students in the LOSD.  

Thank You!  To all of our unsung heroes who make Lake Oswego a better place to live, work and play.


Photo:  2019 Unsung Heroes - Dorothy Atwood, Michael Eyer, Linda Mathes, Cyndi Spear and Becky Owens