Thursday, May 23, 2013
Covering Dallas, Monmouth, Independence, Falls City and surrounding areas since 1868
Nancy Lodge of Independence was named First Citizen during the 48th annual Monmouth-Independence Community Awards Banquet Friday at Central High
March 13, 2013
INDEPENDENCE -- When Nancy Lodge and her husband, Michael, retired during the mid-1990s, the couple bought a 30-foot motor home, said goodbye to their San Diego digs and "took off" to explore the United States and Canada for the next two years.
Unlike most retirees, they decided they didn't want to winter in the desert, Nancy Lodge said. During a stay in the Willamette Valley, they saw signs for "Historic Independence" and decided to investigate -- and liked what they saw.
"Our plan was to stay here for a few months at a time," Lodge said. "Then we became so involved ... we decided not to be vagabonds anymore and moved."
Involved, retired -- you could make a case that both words are incorrect in regard to Lodge, according to those who know her.
Consider her schedule: she had an Independence City Council meeting on Tuesday and is manning the front counter of the Monmouth-Independence Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center Wednesday.
She has a Friends of the Public Library meeting Thursday -- the group is preparing for a fundraiser.
Let's not forget last Friday, either. That's when Lodge was honored as the M-I Chamber's First Citizen. She and nearly 20 other students and citizens were lauded by an audience of 300at the 48th annual Community Awards Banquet at Central High School.
"Considering all the people who have received it in the past, it's amazing to me to be singled out like that," she said.
Lodge's resume includes -- but isn't limited to -- being a city councilor for the past 12 years, president of the Independence Downtown Association, and a volunteer for the Start Making a Reader Today (SMART) literacy program.
Being active today is partly about making up for lost time, Lodge said.
"When I was younger, I was busy raising kids and having a career," she said. "Now that I have free time, I still feel like I need to contribute something."
Lodge grew up in California's San Joaquin Valley and later, San Diego. During the mid-1960s, Lodge got a part-time job with an insurance company that eventually led to her and a friend running the first female-owned insurance agency in San Diego County.
She and Michael, a retired police officer, moved to Independence in 1998. After making a few friends, she found herself gravitating toward different activities.
Independence Public Library Director Robin Puccetti, for example, spurred Lodge into putting her flute-playing talents to use in the Linn-Benton Concert Band.
Then she joined Puccetti in the effort to get a new public library built in 2000. Former First Citizen John Pfaff -- "my mentor" -- pushed Lodge to run for city council the following year.
As a former businesswoman, Lodge said local entrepreneurship and what happens downtown are areas of interest.
She and other IDA members have tried to accentuate what's on Main Street by decorating and/or commissioning paintings on the windows of empty storefronts to keep them looking lived-in.
The group also sponsors business development programming, including marketing and branding workshops.
"I enjoy interacting with folks and being part of some successful enterprises," she said. "When a new business comes to town, it's interesting to me to see it grow and thrive."
And the Winners Are ...
Award recipients during the 48th annual Monmouth-Independence Community Awards Banquet, prssented Friday:
* Distinguished Service -- John Oberst, Monmouth.
* First Citizen -- Nancy Lodge, Independence.
* New Business -- Yeasty Beasty pizzeria.
* Small Business -- Sing Fay Chinese Restaurant.
* Large Business -- Monmouth-Independence Network.
* Nonprofit Award -- Ron Wilson Center.
* Ash Creek Elementary School -- Haley Taylor, fifth grade.
* Henry Hill Elementary School -- River McGlaughlin, fifth grade.
* Independence Elementary School -- Harrison Eberly, fifth grade.
* Monmouth Elementary School -- Melanie Meador, fifth grade.
* Talmadge Middle School -- Lily Gallagher, eigth grade.
* Central High School -- Tori Stutzman, senior.
* Mid-Valley Christian Academy -- Carrie Mack, senior.
* Western Oregon University -- Mayra Perez.
Educators of the Year
* Primary teacher -- Holly Sims, Independence Elementary School.
* Secondary teacher -- Van Holstad, Central High School.
* Classified employee -- Stephanie Heins-Mueller.