Patti Hallgren, a director at Sandy Funeral Home, is a Go Red ambassador and active community volunteer

The Outlook, Sandy Post and Estacada News is featuring Patti Hallgren as one of its Exceptional Women.

Patti Hallgren grew up deeply inspired by her mother Esther, a Rosie the Riveter during World War II and the mother of nine children.

As she approached age 60, Hallgren sought a way to honor her mother’s legacy. After her mom died from heart disease at age 60, the issue became Hallgren’s passion.

by: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO - Patti Hallgren has lived in Oregon for 26 years and involves herself in many community causes and events.

“It was a time when women were having heart attacks but not much attention was paid to women’s heart issues,” said Hallgren, now 68.

She organized a brunch at Mt. Hood Museum and Cultural Center and a snowshoe walk into Trillium Lake to benefit Go Red for Women, an organization that bands together to prevent heart disease and stroke.

Hallgren was elected a Portland area Go Red Ambassador in 2009 — now a part of the Passion Committee — and continues to host the event, which is approaching its ninth year.

As an active volunteer and leader in Sandy and the mountain communities, Hallgren encourages her fellow community members to show up and remember the importance of asking others to show up.

“Find your passion,” Hallgren said. “Don’t limit yourself to what you think you want to do. Explore. Be flexible. Life is going to throw challenges your way. Learn to move on from them.”

Another concern for Hallgren is the rise of obesity among young people. She is a strong supporter of more education and research on the topic.

"I am a big proponent of more exercise and outside time," she said.

Hallgren moved out west in 1969 from Iowa, and once she saw the mountains, that was it. She and her husband Ken have lived in Oregon for 26 years, and the Hallgren family owns Sandy Funeral Home.

“My background in social services really helps me,” Hallgren said. “Just like birth, death is a very important time when you need to have compassion for people. You need to be able to work with all kinds of folks.”

Hallgren said Sandy Funeral has a philosophy that because it’s a part of the community, its directors want to be able to give back and take good care of its citizens.

Together, Hallgren and her husband have five children and 11 grandchildren, all of whom live in the Sandy area. Ken is the son of a dairy farmer, and Hallgren is a former dairy princess.

Hallgren also is involved with the Mt. Hood Area Chamber of Commerce and Sandy's annual Kiwanis Christmas Basket Drive, along with numerous other East County civic and business groups.

Among the groups she has been involved with are the Hoodland Women’s Club, Sandy Business and Professional Women, Sandy Area Chamber of Commerce, the League of Women Voters in Clackamas County and the American Association of University Women in Gresham.

"Her commitment and consistency to the community is incredible," said Coni Scott, Mt. Hood Area Chamber of Commerce president. "If she says she's going to do something, you know it will be done and it will be done professionally."

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