News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Doug Wills: long time Kiwanis volunteer

Doug Wills chose the Kiwanis Club as his first volunteer job back in the early 1980s.

“I was living in Scottsdale, Arizona at the time and a friend of mine was a Kiwanis volunteer. I signed up to help and have continued ever since,” he said.

As he’s moved around the U.S. in the last 30 years, he’s gotten involved in other volunteer opportunities.

“We lived in Newport, Oregon, for 15 years. I was VP of the trustee board for the hospital, president of the board for Friends of Yaquina Lighthouses and president of the board for Food Share of Lincoln County. Plus, I was working full time. My wife Sue was shift captain at the Newport Aquarium.”

When they moved to Sisters in 2014 Sue said “Doug, four board positions is too many!” and his reply was “Yes, dear.”

When he and Sue attended the Mayor’s Ball at The Belfry in 2014 and discovered that part of the proceeds of the event would go to the Sisters Kiwanis Food Bank, his first thought was, “They have a food bank!”

He decided Kiwanis was where he wanted to put his efforts and Sue agreed. Since joining, Doug has served as president 2016-2017 and 2019-2020, plus Sue was awarded Spouse of the Year in 2019 for her work at the Kiwanis Food Bank.

“I think it’s good for the community to hear about things like this so they know there are all kinds of volunteer jobs for different interests and responsibilities”, Doug said. “The Food Bank is a great part of the Kiwanis Club, but we do so much more that a lot of people are not aware of.”

When he first started helping at Sisters Kiwanis he was in charge of the grill at one of the fundraisers and said he smelled like hamburger for a week after the event. Now one of the events he volunteers for is the Buckaroo Breakfast, where he starts cooking bacon at 3 a.m.

“I like smelling like bacon a lot more than smelling like a burger!” he said with a laugh.

Sisters Kiwanis has helped provide scholarships for Sisters High School students, jazz band uniforms, school choir items and more.

Kiwanis also offers a career opportunity grant that helps if someone needs training to change careers or get education to advance in their career. People can go online to apply for grants at https://sisterskiwanis.org/about-us/career-opportunity-fund/.

Sisters Kiwanis has their See’s Candies fundraiser starting the week before Thanksgiving that can definitely use more volunteers.

Doug said, “The See’s event will be in Ray’s parking lot and will be open seven days a week. We need someone working the candy trailer and usually need two shifts.”

The Food Bank can also use help unloading trucks on Wednesdays and helping put food items on the shelves Wednesday and Thursday.

“Volunteering is a very rewarding endeavor,” Wills said. “You experience great satisfaction in helping other folks and you make a lot of new friends. Joining Kiwanis to just sit in meetings is not enough — if you want to have fun and meet people, you have to get out and work and contribute to the organization.

“What I get the most satisfaction from is helping people in need,” Doug said. “One hundred percent of the money raised through our events and fundraisers is donated back to help others.”

A notice will be coming out in The Nugget Newspaper’s Partners In Giving section on November 4 which will provide more information on volunteer opportunities that Sisters Kiwanis offers.

To get info on how to join Sisters Kiwanis, and find the events or fundraisers that you want to volunteer for, go to https://sisterskiwanis.org/join-us/.

Doug said, “The most difficult thing we’ve had to deal with has been handling everything with the COVID situation. Having to cancel fundraisers, totally revise our Food Bank process, find ways to keep everything running smoothly to help those in need — it has all been made more difficult during the COVID crisis.”

But Doug says seeing the smiles on the folks’ faces when they are given food, or checks to help their programs, makes it all worthwhile.

 

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