Hotel Bellwether’s Local Community Hero
The team at the Hotel Bellwether has commenced a new program, honoring special individuals with our ‘Community Hero of the Week Award’ to recognize those that make a difference through their work or volunteer efforts within Bellingham. These nominees understand the importance of community and that a single person can make a difference. Our Community Hero contributes in creating an atmosphere that makes Bellingham an amazing place to call home.
Our intention is to honor those within our community who contribute to their organization in a positive and helpful way and have frequently gone above and beyond for others while being on the frontlines throughout Bellingham during the pandemic.
WEEK ONE – LIZ COOGAN
The Hotel Bellwether is thrilled to honor Liz Coogan (right) as our first Local Community Hero of the Week, which has been nominated by Bellingham Food Bank Operations Manager, Melanie Danner (left).
Liz is the Bellingham Food Bank’s Whatcom Unified Command liaison. During her tenure as Human Services Chief, Liz has gone above and beyond to ensure that she and the Whatcom Unified Command are supporting the Bellingham Food Bank in every way possible.
“She clearly understands the importance of the work that Bellingham Food Bank does and wants to ensure we are successful by providing the tools, resources, and effective communication that supports our mission to provide food to Whatcom County families.”
– Melanie Danner, Operations Manager at the Bellingham Food Bank
Liz demonstrates compassion, kindness, a commitment to our community and a dedication to make Bellingham the best place to live, work and visit. Hotel Bellwether is proud to present a VIP experience including a one-night stay in a luxury waterfront room and dinner for two guests in our Lighthouse Grill. The Hotel Bellwether is honored to be a part of such a wonderful community and would like to recognize those that make a difference. Liz, you have truly done great things for our community, we thank you for all your hard work.
WEEK TWO – JAMI PITMAN
The Hotel Bellwether has named Jami Pitman this weeks “Community Hero of the Week” Award for her commitment to the Bellingham School System.
Jami Pitman is a parent volunteer, paraeducator and has served as co-chair of the Parents Advisory Committee to the Superintendent (PACS) for the past two years. She has been recognized for her countless hours and service on four separate teams this summer to assist in preparing the Bellingham School District for the upcoming school year.
“Jami is such a dedicated and enthusiastic parent advocate and loving staff member. [She] is also inspirational; those who know her appreciate her willingness to be vulnerable and real when she shares her own story.”
– Jacqueline Brawley, Executive Director of Communications and Community Relations at Bellingham Public Schools.
Jami has demonstrated a passion for fairness and a commitment for advancing the education system within our community. She has shown a dedication towards making Bellingham the best place to live, work, and learn!
WEEK THREE – JEFFERY TOM
The Hotel Bellwether is thrilled to honor their third Local Community Hero of the Week nominated by Lydia Place. Jeffery Tom has been a volunteer “extraordinaire” at Lydia Place for over a decade. During his time at Lydia Place, Jeffery has demonstrated his passion for our community and carrying out the mission of Lydia Place; to disrupt the cycle of homelessness and support sustained independence for current and future generations.
“Jeffery has been a dedicated volunteer for over a decade, and his passion and support has only increased during the current COVID pandemic. He has been willing and able to support a variety of different tasks to help keep our programs running smoothly while we transition due to the pandemic.”
–Tally Rabatin, Community Engagement Director at Lydia Place
Jeffery demonstrates compassion, kindness, an incredible work ethic and genuine enthusiasm for volunteering. His commitment to our community assists in making Bellingham the best place to live, work and visit.
WEEK FOUR – BEN & AMY WHEELER
The Hotel Bellwether is thrilled to honor their fourth Local Community Hero of the Week, Ben and Amy Wheeler.
Ben and Amy have stepped up too care for three siblings during the mist of the pandemic with no previous experience fostering children and have dedicated themselves to ensuring the health and wellbeing of the three children.
“They’ve done exceptionally well managing and learning throughout the pandemic. They continue to work hard and dedicate themselves to these kids ”
– Kiara Bogovich, Foster Care Specialist at Skookum Kids
Ben and Amy demonstrate humility, compassion, love, and dedication to their foster children. Their selflessness shows their commitment to our community and carrying out the mission of Skookum Kids – to reform the current foster care system.
WEEK FIVE – ERIKA WENDAL
Hotel Bellwether has named Erika Wendal as their fifth recipient of their Community Hero of the Week Award for her commitment to the Hospice House.
Erika Werdal is a Registered Nurse apart of the Admit Team at Hospice House. During her tenure apart of the admit team at Hospice House, her brightness and gentle nature has been recognized by all. She has an incredible ability to support the staff as they learn the importance of the work done at Hospice.
“She is often the first face of Hospice and is able to calm nerves and answer to needs swiftly I cannot imagine our team withoutErika, she is a shining light.”
– Jodi Newcomer, Program Manager at Hospice and PC
Erika continues to demonstrate compassion, kindness, resilience, humor, and an abundant amount of skill and a dedication to make Bellingham the best place to live, work and visit.
WEEK SIX – BRIDGET REEVES
The Hotel Bellwether is thrilled to honor this weeks Local Community Hero nominated by The Lighthouse
Mission. Bridget is the Associate Executive Director at the Lighthouse Mission and was the main contributor in transitioning the Mission’s 160 person Drop-in Center to Bellingham High School when the Coronavirus first broke out. She hired and overlooked a temporary staff of 20 individuals to assist with the Mission’s newly developed Isolation & Quarantine Facility. She quickly moved the entire operation over to the Public Market building, where the Mission is still currently located. Her extraordinary effort assisted in housing all of those in need while respecting the social distance mandates and keeping individuals safe.
“The added capacity and service that Bridget had a hand in is a Godsend to our community, and especially so now as COVID’s negative impacts with the economy/mental health/addiction/domestic violence, etc, will likely increase homelessness over the next couple years ”
–Hans Erchinger-Davis, Executive Director at the Lighthouse Mission
Bridget continues to demonstrate courage, endurance, leadership, integrity, justice and the heart of a lion. Her commitment to our community assists in making Bellingham the best place to live, work and visit.
WEEK SEVEN – KYLE NELSON
The Hotel Bellwether is thrilled to honor their seventh Local Community Hero of the Week, Kyle Nelson, nominated by the Bellingham Police Department. Kyle is a Sergeant within Bellingham PD and has shown his commitment to the wellness of his department, which includes developing a departmental nomination system to highlight those who have done excellent work in the field and orchestrating financial trainings for all officers. Kyle is also very involved in the ‘Behind the Badge’ foundation, which supports families of fallen officers, in addition to organizing the ‘Fun with the Fuzz’ fundraiser, to which the proceeds go to the foundation.
“He is gracious and kind throughout his work and treats those he comes in contact with the way he would treat a family member”
–Florence Simon, Deputy Chief of the Bellingham Police Department
Kyle continues to demonstrate a caring nature, patience, forward thinking and courage. His commitment to our community assists in keeping Bellingham safe and making our community the best place to live, work and visit.
WEEK EIGHT – WES WITHROW
The Hotel Bellwether is thrilled to honor their eight Local Community Hero of the week, Wes Withrow, nominated by Brigid Collins. Wes is an Administrative Associate with Brigid Collins and has worked tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure the staff at Brigid Collins have the equipment and technology needed to continue effectively serving families in our community.
“He is one of the invisible engines that keeps the wheels turning at Brigid Collins so that we can serve children and families. He does this work with humility and dedication.” –
Jenn Lockwood, Program Director of Brigid Collins Family Support Center.
Wes continues to demonstrate kindness, humility, selflessness, compassion, a helpful nature, and integrity. His commitment to our community assists in keeping Bellingham safe and making our community the best place to live, work and visit.
Wes is a beacon of light in Bellingham and we appreciate all that you will continue to do.
WEEK NINE – ELIZABETH HE DOES IT
The Hotel Bellwether is thrilled to honor their ninth Local Community Hero of the week, Elizabeth He Does It, nominated by Bellingham Fire Department. Throughout the uncertainty of COVID-19 has presented upon the Bellingham Fire Department, she has routinely gone above and beyond expectations as an emergency dispatcher by consistently providing outstanding public service in her responsibilities and duties. She displays a sincere dedication to serving our community, a devotion to your team, and a silent integrity in perfecting your craft.
“As one of the silent and unseen first responders, she provides 911 callers with compassion as she instructs them on how to provide lifesaving care. Regardless of the age, emotional state or language spoken by a 911 caller, Elizabeth demonstrates compassion and a dedication to serve her community that is inspirational.”
–Dan McDermott, Division Chief of Communication of the Bellingham Fire Department
Elizabeth, has truly done great things for our community, we thank her for all of her hard work and for all she has done for our Bellingham.
WEEK TEN – GREG JIPSON
The Hotel Bellwether is thrilled to honor Greg Jipson as the tenth Local Community Hero. We would like to recognize him for volunteering over 2,500 hours at Bellingham’s Habitat for Humanity store of his own time. While being responsible for maintaining the hardware section on the sales floor. Not only does he volunteer his time but he donates to the annual auction and helps procure luxury vintage items for the auction to better those in our community. Along his side is Cody, his furry friend and now the store mascot and a rising star in the Habitat’s marketing videos.
“Greg is very generous with his time and believes in the Habitat’s mission of enabling eligible low to middle income families to obtain permanent homeownership. Although a volunteer, we consider Greg part of the staff. His contribution to our organization, and by extension, to community at-large, is revered.”
– Fred Sheppard, Program Development Manager at Habitat for Humanity in Whatcom County
Greg has truly done great things for our community, we thank him for all his hard work and for all he does for our community.
WEEK ELEVEN – KRISTINA MARTENS
The Hotel Bellwether is thrilled to honor Kristina Martens as the eleventh Local Community Hero. Throughout the uncertainty that COVID-19 has presented upon the community, she has routinely gone above and beyond. While being the founder of Mission Accomplished and being an advocate for diversity, inclusion and equity, she has volunteered her time to meet with local officials and the Bellingham Police Department to brainstorm ideas about improving the community for all. She displays a sincere dedication to serving our community and a devotion to diversity, inclusion and equity.
“Kristina volunteers her time, life experiences and voice to bring change to our community.”
–Natalie Pozie, Board Vice President for Blue Skies for Children
She has continually strived for change in the community and is resilient in her commitment for equity. She is a beacon of light in Bellingham and we appreciate all that she does and will continue to do.