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Eric Fuller makes volunteering a part of his life, but it wasn't always so

The Tigard resident won Rookie of the Year at Celebrate Tualatin, after less than a year of being a Tualatin Chamber of Commerce member


TIMES PHOTO: JONATHAN HOUSE - Eric Fuller, 29, won Rookie of the Year for the Celebrate Tualatin awards, after a year of service with the Tualatin Chamber of Commerce.Until he got a job in the insurance industry, Eric Fuller was never much of a volunteer. But faced with the option of cold calling people during dinner or going out to make a name for himself in the community, he happily chose the latter.

Fuller, 29, worked with Country Financial in Tualatin for a year and a half, and just recently accepted a new job with the Oregon Restaurant and Lodging Association in Wilsonville that begins next week. But he’ll still maintain his membership with the Tualatin Chamber of Commerce — good thing, too, because the chamber awarded him its Rookie of the Year award at last week’s Celebrate Tualatin reception.

“I really didn’t expect it, didn’t anticipate it,” said Fuller.

And based on his reaction when his name was announced on Thursday, April 16, that was clear. With a huge grin and bounding steps, Fuller made his way to the front of the Tualatin Country Club dining room to accept his award after being a chamber member for only a year. TIMES PHOTO: JONATHAN HOUSE - Eric Fuller wasn't an active volunteer until a year ago, when he became a member of the Tualatin Chamber of Commerce. Since then, he's been an active and involved community member.

All of this is even more impressive when remembering that Fuller’s past year marked his first foray into volunteerism. After growing up in Washington, and later, Texas, Fuller earned a degree from the University of Houston in business management and marketing. Back then, community service wasn’t on his radar — it took a move to Oregon with his wife in 2013 and his job at Country Financial to encourage him to begin giving back.

“Honestly, to be successful in insurance, if you don’t want to keep on going out every single day and looking for new people to sign, you have to go out and build your referral sources,” the Tigard resident said. “That made me jump into being a community figure. ... Because we’re a dime a dozen, I wanted to stand out in some way.”

Through the chamber and his job, Fuller began donating his time at numerous events, from ribbon cuttings, to the Crawfish Festival, to collecting toys for a holiday toy drive. At almost any chamber event of the past year, Fuller was likely there, and he was probably there setting up before people arrived and taking everything down after visitors left. He was also a member of the chamber’s Young Professionals committee, through which much of his volunteering found footing.

And though community service is a recently added skill on Fuller’s résumé, it isn’t one that he plans on forgetting any time soon. With his new job, which will require him being a friendly face in even more communities than before, he plans to continue to make volunteering a priority.

“I’m going to be going to a lot of new businesses, meeting a lot of new faces, and I still would like them to see me as a community person that likes to give back,” he said. “It is really nice at the end of the day to know that those efforts were noticed and that people really appreciate those efforts.”

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