With January coming to a rapid close, we’re looking forward to February, which is the month of recognizing the smaller things that make Woodburn great.

For starters, this is the month when nominations are accepted and recipients are announced of the annual Distinguished Service Awards, presented by the Woodburn Area Chamber of Commerce. Feb. 18 is the last day the chamber will be accepting DSA nominations. This signature event in Woodburn, which will be March 14 at Woodburn Health Center, honors the city’s Junior and Senior First Citizens, along with some special awards. This year’s theme is “Unsung Heroes,” and everyone in the area is encouraged to nominate people, businesses and committees they think deserve recognition due to volunteer service and leadership contributions to the community.

These traits were certainly evident in last year’s recipients — Joe and Mariana Ruiz (Senior First Citizens), Eric Morris (Junior First Citizen), Bill Szabo, Dalila Ortiz and the North Marion Auction Executive Board (Special Awards). The community needs to make the selection committee’s job even more difficult this year by flooding them with nominations. The Woodburn area is full of people who are dedicated to making this a better place to live and work. Remember that, although this is a chamber event, it is an event for the community and couldn’t be done without the community’s input.

February doesn’t only give everyone a chance to recognize the community’s unsung heroes, but it also gives us a chance to support literacy in our schools. February is Woodburn Reads 3 Million Page Challenge Month. All schools in Woodburn School District set personal and school-wide goals of reaching a certain number of pages in the month. Whichever school reads the most (by percentage) receives the coveted Woodburn Reads trophy. Everyone who works and lives in the city is also encouraged to participate, to reach the goal of 3 million pages by Feb. 28.

This is an excellent opportunity for schools, businesses, government agencies and anyone else to rally for literacy. It is a way to encourage the youth of today to embrace reading, and there is no better way for adults to help than to lead by example.

Anything readable is eligible. It can be fiction or nonfiction books, magazines, textbooks, Internet pages — even your local newspaper! All that matters is that you pick up something and read.

Just keep a piece of scrap paper and every week, log the number of pages you’ve read on the district website: Visit, click on “Woodburn Reads” under the Quick Links heading in the middle of the page and fill out the brief form.

If 25,000 people (Woodburn’s population) read 120 pages during the month, the goal is achieved.

Join us in helping Woodburn Reads reach its goal. By reading this editorial, you’ve already put your first page behind you. In the end, you may just learn something.

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