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New day dawns for Neighbors Helping Neighbors in LO

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO Dawn D’Haeze, who now lives in California, is returning to Lake Oswego on Sept. 17 for the fifth annual Neighbors Helping Neighbors.

Dawn D'Haeze left Lake Oswego, but she has not forgotten Neighbors Helping Neighbors.

D'Haeze is coming back from her new home in California on Sept. 17 to take part in NHN for Lake Oswego because she wants it to continue doing what it has done ever since she founded the event five years ago: help the lives of senior citizens and disabled people.

'I have to come back to organize NHN because the new, loosely formed board was not feeling confident about doing it,' D'Haeze said. 'I didn't want the seniors to have to wait again. At this point, since we couldn't do NHN last spring, it will have been a year since we helped them.'

This is great news for the many Lake Oswego people who D'Haeze and her remarkable volunteers have helped in the past. People like Eva Thwing, who will turn 99 years old in three weeks.

'They are a very big help to me,' Thwing said. 'They're just marvelous. Last year they really surprised me. They asked me what I needed done, and I said, 'Everything needs to be done.' They did everything.'

The NHN folks amazed Thwing even more when they refused to take any money for their good work. But Thwing and her daughter-in-law rewarded them with coffee and cinnamon rolls on the patio.

'They're wonderful people,' Thwing said. 'I've got such a big backyard and I lost so much money a couple years ago, so it would be hard for me to pay for what they do.'

Jackie Mathy used to try to do everything herself in her yard. Neighbors Helping Neighbors has made her life easier.

'Dawn has been so nice the last couple years,' Mathy said. 'Her volunteers have been really, really helpful.'

D'Haeze is used to hearing such gratitude.

'The senior citizens that have been served since the program's beginning have been extremely grateful to me and the program,' she said.

Noting some difficulties in getting assistance from the city of Lake Oswego, D'Haeze said, 'It would break my heart and theirs if this program is shut down for political reasons.'

D'Haeze and company are ready to pick up their yard tools and do it again. She gets a huge assist from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Directing this year's effort will be a familiar face - DeVona Morris, D'Haeze's mother.

This year's NHN will be held on Sept. 17 from 9 a.m. to noon. Volunteers are requested to check in at the New Thought Spiritual Center at 1040 C Ave., in the First Addition neighborhood.

For registration and more information, go to the website at www.nhn-lo.com .