Community ‘Ambassador, Longtime Volunteer Carol Palmer Named ‘Hometown Hero’

Canby has a new Hometown Hero. Carol Palmer, a longtime community leader, volunteer, prolific grant writer and dedicated preservationist of local history, was presented with the award during Wednesday’s Canby City Council meeting at City Hall.

Council President Traci Hensley presented Palmer with the Hometown Hero Award in recognition of her outstanding community leadership as demonstrated by countless hours volunteering and helping fellow community members.

Palmer was a long-serving member and chair of the city’s Heritage and Landmark Commission, as well as the Canby Library Board.

Canby Economic Development Director Jamie Stickel kicked off the recognition Wednesday night, sharing a popular quote about volunteerism: “Volunteers don’t get paid — not because they are worthless, but because they are priceless.

“As someone who regularly works with volunteers, I can attest to this sentiment,” she said. “However, as someone who regularly works with Carol, I can attest that she would hate this sentiment. Because she gives from her heart and because it’s the right thing to do, not because she wants to be seen as priceless.”

Stickel has spent nearly a decade working on various projects with Palmer, with whom she said she formed an “unlikely team.”

She became emotional describing one of her favorite memories, introducing Palmer at the dedication of Canby’s Women’s Heritage Trail in 2018, the first trail in the state to be dedicated entirely to the efforts of women.

The event was keynoted by former Governor Barbara Roberts, the first woman to serve in Oregon’s highest office — but that wasn’t the highlight for Stickel.

“When I look back on that day, my thoughts don’t go to Governor Barbara Roberts or being part of a project that was the first in the state … but being able to introduce Carol Palmer,” she said.

“I used the quote, ‘Here’s to strong women. May we know them; may we be them; may we raise them.’ So thank you for letting me be a part of a wonderful night to honor someone who is a strong woman in my life.”

Judi Jarosh, one of Palmer’s protégés and successors as chair of the HLC, spoke of the “many things that are visible around town that Carol has led or pushed through.”

Jarosh called Palmer an “ambassador” for Canby and singlehandedly responsible for tens of thousands of dollars in grant funds being funneled into the community for various heritage, cultural and preservation projects over the years.

“Prior to being involved in the Heritage and Landmark Commission, I had never even seen a grant application,” Jarosh said. “But Carol taught me how to write them and then guided me along the way.”

Peggy Sigler also offered congratulations and thanked Carol for “revitalizing the historic review board.” She noted that Carol continually worked on historic preservation efforts.

For her part, Palmer gave credit to city staff members, past and present, including Stickel, Public Works Director Jerry Nelzen and former City Recorder Kim Scheafer, and fellow volunteers on the HLC including Kelly Harms, Jennifer Giller and Tony Crawford.

“It’s incredible and, actually, sort of wonderful to get an award for something that you really love doing,” she said with a laugh. “It’s like chocolate on chocolate. … It really has been my pleasure to do all of this.”

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