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Sandy 'steps up' for safety

Two awards will be presented for safety prevention
by: Garth Guibord, Jim Seipel, facility operations supervisor for the Oregon Trail School District, inspects some decaying steps that need to be fixed at Cedar Ridge Middle School.

As the saying goes, 'accidents happen,' but Sandy is ground zero for a number of people who have made them happen a little less often.

The North Clackamas County Chamber of Commerce will honor Jim Seipel, facility operations supervisor for the Oregon Trail School District, and the community of Sandy for their commitment to improving public safety at the chamber's Monday, Feb. 25, Community Safety Appreciation Luncheon.

Seipel will be honored for his proactive approach to fire and life safety issues at the district's schools, and the community for the Point of Dispensing (POD) exercise, which vaccinated a record 986 people in a simulated emergency event early last November.

This is the first year for the safety awards, which will be presented to 10 individuals, organizations and businesses that went above and beyond in preventive safety measures. Previously, the chamber focused on emergency responders during the annual luncheon.

'I see it as a great expansion to recognizing public safety efforts in the community,' said Wilda Parks, president of the chamber. 'There are so many organizations, agencies and businesses that step up and do things to help all of us safer. I just don't think there's enough thanks and appreciation given.'

Alice Lasher, public information officer for the Sandy and Boring fire districts and the organizer of the POD, and others pushed for the new recognition to honor those who help responders so they don't have to react to emergency situations.

'I would much rather recognize a church for installing motion detector lights than get recognized for saving the foundation of the church because it had an arson,' Lasher said. 'It just makes more sense for us.'

Seipel noted that he recently secured funding through a grant for safety projects in the district, including upgrading fire detection and repairing deteriorating concrete steps at Cedar Ridge Middle School.

'In one respect, I (don't) feel like I did anything,' Seipel said. 'I'd like to think I'm doing my job.'

The public is welcome to attend the luncheon. Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door. For more information or to make a reservation, visit www.yourchamber.com.