Two men devoted to making Clackamas County improvements -

They've put in countless hours of community service and attended numerous meetings, yet Ed Gronke and Dick Shook never sought recognition for their efforts. But now recognition has caught up with both men.

On July 22, Carol Mastronarde, chair of the Jennings Lodge Community Planning Organization, presented Gronke with the CPO’s first-ever JLCPO Outstanding Citizen Award, recognizing his many years of service to the Jennings Lodge community.

And on Sept. 10, Shook, a Milwaukie resident, will receive an award from the Oregon Recreation & Parks Association for his outstanding contribution to the natural resources field. He was nominated for this award by Tonia Burns, natural resources coordinator, North Clackamas Parks & Recreation District.

Ed Gronke

Photo Credit: PHOTO BY STEVE BERLINER - Carol Mastronarde presents Ed Gronke with the Outstanding Citizen Award. Gronke is a former Metro councilor and member of the Metro Policy Advisory Committee. He currently is a member of the McLoughlin Area Plan (MAP-IT) committee, and its former chairman. He also is on the Gladstone Library Advisory Committee, making recommendations to the city of Gladstone about a new library to serve Oak Grove, Jennings Lodge and Gladstone.

In her presentation of the award, Mastronarde cited Gronke’s countless hours on local and regional committees, representing the Jennings Lodge area of unincorporated Clackamas County in a “responsible way, which is beneficial to us all.”

He also “understands the big picture and is always willing to share his vast knowledge to enable visions to become the realities that help shape our community, not only now, but far into the future,” she said.

In making the surprise presentation to Gronke, Mastronarde concluded by quoting the final words on the award certificate: “We take this opportunity to let you know that you are very much appreciated. And that we are forever grateful that many years ago, you chose to live and raise your family here in Jennings Lodge.”

“Ed has probably given every spare second of his time to the community for decades now, starting even before he was a Metro councilor in 1992,” said Karen Bjorklund, Jennings Lodge CPO vice chair.

Serving community a duty

Gronke was taken by surprise by the award.

“I had no idea this was planned. For the first time in many years, I could think of nothing to say,” he said.

“I was touched and overwhelmed. I didn't realize that people actually were noticing what I was doing or how long I had been at it. Knowing that my efforts are appreciated means a great deal to me at this stage of my life,” he added. Gronke said he was raised in the era when “the responsibilities of citizenship were assumed by us all. This included seeing taxes as the price one paid to live in a free country. As well, paying attention to what was going on in one’s community, in the country, and in the world was considered important.”

He added, “We were taught that we had a responsibility to one another, especially those who could not care for themselves. I carried that with me through my military service and have never lost that belief.”

In addition to his other accomplishments, Gronke is the past chairman of both the Jennings Lodge CPO and the JOBS Plus effort for Clackamas County and is a member of the Rotary Club of Clackamas.

Dick Shook

Photo Credit: PHOTO BY STEVE BERLINER - Dick Shook, on duty with the Tsunami Crew, moves between shearing invasive plants in the 3-Creeks Natural Area.

NCPRD is a member of the Oregon Recreation & Parks Association and within that organization is the natural resources division, which promotes workshops, training and sharing of information, such as management methods and techniques, lessons learned about projects, outreach, volunteers, stewards and more, Burns said.

She nominated Shook for the Outstanding Contribution to the Natural Resources Field award, because of his more than 20 years of support for NCPRD and Clackamas County parks.

“Dick was a board member of the NCPRD Advisory Board for many years, lending his skills and knowledge to leading the district toward developing many parks, but also to help begin the natural resources division that is thriving today,” she said.

Burns noted that prior to 2008, NCPRD did not have a natural resources division, but then Shook, along with others, encouraged the district to value natural areas and show it by funding the care of wild, open spaces.

“Dick has also supported the NCPRD natural resources division by attending almost every volunteer event that the district has coordinated. He is calm and quiet, but has a strong work ethic, which encourages others to respect and emulate his strong passion for providing all citizens amazing access to natural areas. And not just to weedy natural areas, but healthy, beautiful places where both humans and wildlife can thrive,” Burns said.

In 2007 Shook petitioned the U.S. Board on Geographic Names to name one of the creeks within North Clackamas Park Camas Creek, for all of the camas plants growing in the headwater wetlands. On Nov. 13, 2008, his petition was granted.

Shook is a co-founder of the Friends of Kellogg Creek/Mount Scott Watershed, a precursor to the current North Clackamas Urban Watersheds Council, of which he now is a board member.

Natural areas worth saving

In addition, Shook is a member of the Tsunami Crew, a group of volunteers who have put in hundreds of hours of work at the 3-Creeks Natural Area, one of the largest natural areas in the dense urban North Clackamas area.

Finally, Burns added, Shook “has supported and attended Clackamas County parks natural-area volunteer work events, proving that he is committed to helping his extended community support healthy natural areas.”

When he was told that he had been nominated for this award, at a NCUWC meeting on July 16, Shook’s reaction was “complete surprise.”

What has kept him motivated all these years?

“The knowledge that improvements to watersheds and conservation areas will allow wildlife, fish and birds to return to our natural areas,” he said.

Shook added that his wife, Sally, “has been a big help to me in achieving these goals and was a large reason we were able to get the naming of Camas Creek in North Clackamas Park officially recognized.”

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