Communities thrive when caring individuals and organizations work together. This takes place in a million small ways at the hands of dedicated, kind-hearted souls and often touches lives through education, support and encouragement. Bank of the Pacific has been part of Western Washington and Northern Oregon for more than 50 years. Its employees – like AVP Branch Manager DeDe Hoerr – embody that spirit at work, play and, in her case, volunteering with the Willapa Harbor Health Foundation.
From Bank Teller to Branch Manager, DeDe Hoerr Treats Customers Like Family
Hoerr started with Bank of the Pacific in November 2005 as a bank teller. Over the years, she’s worked her way up to Branch Manager in their Raymond branch and still finds interactions with customers to be a highlight of each day. “My favorite part of working here is getting to interact with and help our customers with their financial needs,” says Hoerr. “We try to treat all our customers like family, and want to help fulfill their banking needs to the best of our abilities.”
Hoerr also believes in a lifestyle of giving back. “Giving back to the community not only feels good but is the right thing to do, whether it be with a cash donation or volunteering at fundraisers and events,” she says. “Giving back strengthens the community and makes for a better place to work, live and play.” With this in mind, she has worked with the Willapa Harbor Health Foundation for many years.
Foundation President Zoe Sowa and Hoerr were already friends when Sowa encouraged her to get involved. “DeDe and her group from the bank are always great to work with,” says Sowa. “They come up with great ideas and themes for the holiday raffle tree each year, which really helps boost the sale of tickets. DeDe was also a great member of the Foundation when she served on the board and is always willing to jump in and help.”
Supporting the Willapa Harbor Health Foundation with Christmas Trees and Drive to Save Lives Golf Tournament.
The Foundation has a simple overall mission. They work to assist Willapa Harbor Hospital in meeting the health care needs of citizens in North Pacific County. This is accomplished by receiving, maintaining and disbursing funds for charitable and educational purposes.
Sowa says that this includes offering renewable scholarships to students entering healthcare fields before returning to the community, supporting Alder House, donating to the Raymond POOL for seniors and children, supporting local food banks and supplying bikes and hygiene packs to area youth.
Bank of the Pacific was a monetary sponsor for the Foundation’s first annual golf tournament in 2023 and ongoing sponsor of the annual holiday Festival of Trees. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg for Hoerr.
“For several years now my staff and I have been the raffle tree decorators for the Festival of Trees Dinner and Auction fundraiser,” she says. “We even helped at a 5k Color Run/Walk that the Willapa Harbor Health Foundation co-sponsored, where we were set up at one of the color stations handing out water and spraying the participants with color. In the past my staff and I have also attended their Breast Cancer Awareness Event that the Foundation hosted.”
Making Donation Dollars Stretch Further Benefits More Local Families
Outside of the Foundation, Hoerr and her team are passionate about helping the Willapa Harbor Chamber of Commerce with their annual oyster dinner as well as the Chamber’s oyster booth at the Astoria Warrenton Crab, Seafood & Wine Festival. They have also hosted a table at the Chamber’s annual awards banquet dinner. They have volunteered at the local trunk-or-treat events hosted by Pacific Events District. They participate in the Willapa Harbor Festival annual parade, helped the American Legion Post 150 place flags at the cemetery for Memorial Day, sponsor and volunteer for the Willapa Harbor Business Week supporting local high school students, participate with the annual Adopt a Family for the Holidays program organized by the South Bend School District and so much more.
To ensure that donations make it to the families in greatest need, Hoerr explains that the Foundation is managed by board members who are local volunteers. “They are dedicated community members and business leaders committed to achieving the Foundation’s mission.”
If you can help, consider sponsoring a memorial for your loved one or allotting a bequest from your will, life insurance, trust, securities, endowments or real estate. Direct donations can be designated for a specific cause and are not used for administrative costs. A personal note will be sent to the family members or group from the Foundation and amounts over $250 will be recognized on the hospital’s Giving Wall in the main lobby.
Send checks to PO Box 33, South Bend, WA 98586 or donate today through their online portal. Giving back in time, money, goods and services is a win/win for the community.