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Full January Issue * Past Issues * Salem Weather * About Us * Contact Us

Business Of The Year

Valley Credit Union Staff
is always there for their
members and the community.
Left to Right, Back to Front,
Bryce, Linda, Jean, Terri,
Renee, Jennifer, Heather
Keshia, Rachel, Shellie,
Katie C., Katie S., Autumn,
Christy, Victoria
Carla, Jody, Mindi
    Not just a leader in the mid-Willamette financial community, Valley Credit Union is a leader in giving back to the community they serve. From the Real Honors Breakfast to the Diaper Drive, Cross Walk of Salem, The Salem Arts Festival, and so many more listed in this article. Valley Credit Union is always there.
    It takes a great deal of time, planning and a true commitment to support all these great events each year. They are each so important and vital in their own way. The Salem Business Journal salutes Valley Credit Union as “Business of the Year” 2014 for all they do.
    At Valley, our local community is at the center of those we serve. Our members are our number one priority, but the neighborhoods and communities that we live in are extremely important as well.
    Our philosophy is "people helping people," which has been the guiding principle for credit unions since the beginning of the credit union movement. It goes beyond just serving our members, ensuring a vibrant, cooperative community for everyone.
    Our staff and members have identified several non-profit and charitable organizations we wish to support. Our direct involvement is not only important but essential to presenting who we are to our community.

Hip... New Stores

Doug Doty, Salem Mayor Anna Peterson
and Gayle Calderazzo-Doty at grand
pre-opening and ribbon-cutting
ceremony at Gayle’s Italian Market
    New developments have increased the draw for downtown Salem, and the surrounding communities and we wanted tell you about four things happening that will make you not only sit up and take notice. but will hopefully be a catalyst to create better community experiences for everyone in the Salem that we all know and love.
    New Stores
    The first big story that has the whole community buzzing downtown is the renovation and opening of the Roth-McGilcrest building and the new retail shops that have opened in the space. There was a grand pre-opening and ribbon-cutting for Gayle's Italian Market.
    Shoppers were able to tour Ricky's Bubbles & Sweets Shoppe, and Archive Coffee & Bar. The sidewalk and lobby were packed with hundreds of friends, shoppers, and key players who came out to celebrate and give support to the new retail and living spaces.
    Here’s what people had to say about it:
    “What an extraordinary addition to Salem's Downtown. The height of new urban cool in an historic setting. Thank you Doug Doty and Gayle Caldarazzo-Doty for the vision and investment. Can't wait to have a pizza and glass of wine in Gayle's Italian Market! -Roger Yost
    “Absolutely fantastic for sets a new standard for downtown Salem... of what can happen to these old buildings in downtown...using all three and rennovating-Warren Bendarz Downtown Living
    With the continuing addition of new living spaces in downtown Salem, the vibe and makeup of our city is changing for the better.... more people living downtown will add to the dynamic community and will help support local shops. The Roth’s McGilcrest buiding has added 9 new living spaces and the upcoming Boise Cascade Pringle Square development will will add hundreds more downtown residents and shoppers, creating the demand for a new culture of downtown life and consumer spending. Residents now have some fantastic new choices close by in the heart of downtown.
    “... I like the ability to walk right outside and find cafes, shops and markets. If I can avoid driving I do, so having these amenities just outside my door is great.” -Ian Factor (New downtown resident).
    New Downtown Salem Promotional Campaign Over the last year, Downtown Salem Strong created more videos and photos galleries of downtown Salem (National NIght Out Photo) than any other local news source. With their mission of creating stronger neighborhoods by sharing positive stories over social media, co-founders David Dahle and Diana Dettwyler are passionate about capturing the moments that make up the community and spirit of downtown.
    New Cashback Mobile Phone Loyalty App Arrives to Salem In addition to new stores, new residents, and a new media campaign, there is a loyalty cashback app program called Lyoness. We talked to the Downtown Salem Strong team who spent nearly a month researching the effects it has had on the local economy as a whole and the positive effect it has had individually on small businesses. What they found is that the Lyoness loyalty app and cashback program has generated over 3 million dollars in sales in a community about half the size of Salem, through businesses who have signed up with the program.
    “What is significant about the Lyoness Shopping network is that it has literally changed the behavior of consumers and shoppers who use the app on their smartphone. Customers love getting the immediate feedback in the form of a text message of how much money they’ve just received in the form of cashback rewards and shopping points.” -Diana Dettwyler
    “We interviewed small business owners such as restaurants, a tire store, a tax accountant, an owner of a hair salon and the owners of a cutting horse farm. What we heard over and over is that the Cashback Loyalty app has not only paid for itself within months, but has increased business by bringing in new customers, and creating more spending per sale.” -David Dahle

Jim Seymour Filled With Love & Empathy For Others

Jim Seymour
    Jim Seymour was born January 13, 1950 in Corvallis. His 19 year old dad, Ted, was a logger.
    His 15 year old mother, Mary, did some occasional part-time work but was mostly a home maker. His own dreadful early family life prepared him for a life filled with love and empathy for others who have experienced life and family crisis. He’s walked a mile in their shoes.
    Early life growing up in Glenbrook, a wide spot in the road about 25 miles SW of Corvallis, was anything but easy. His father had been abused as a child and he acted like him when he was drunk. Mary, Jim, and his younger siblings, Rose, and Dick, found it nearly impossible to escape Ted’s violence during his drinking episodes, which were common. Escaping to the surrounding woods was the only way he could stay sane.
    Another way to escape Ted’s drunken behavior was when his mom would take the children to her parents' farmhouse in Junction City. His grandparent’s home served as a welcoming oasis in those terrible times.
    When he was a third grader at the now closed Alpine Elementary School near Monroe, Jim broke his arm during recess. His mom had no car so his grandparents picked them up at the school and gave them a ride to the hospital in Eugene. His pain was soothed by the sense that someone cared.
    That same year, his mother had had enough and worked up the courage to leave Ted. Their parting was a very ugly thing with her husband threatening all kinds of retribution. But they finally did leave for Tillamook where she would remarry. Ted Seymour would, later, be sent to the Oregon State Penitentiary for killing a friend in Junction City in 1972 and he died in 1983.
    In Tillamook, Jim, who tried so hard not to be like his father, was arrested for a serious prank and sent to a smoky, filthy jail. It was as if fate was pulling him into his father's world.
    Thanks to the appeal made by his girlfriend to the principal of the Tillamook Catholic High School, Benedictine Father Cosmas White, a deal was struck between the priest, the sheriff, and Jim that would get him out of jail. Jim agreed to go to the Tillamook Catholic High School to earn his diploma.
    But he had to work hard, behave and keep his grades up. In retrospect, this was the major turning point in his life.
    About a month later, he recalls, on his walk to the school, he paused for a moment to appreciate the beautiful environment around him and to value his freedom to enjoy it all.
    Jim, who played football and wrestled, went on to earn a 4.0 GPA at Tillamook Catholic. He graduated from Tillamook Catholic High School in 1968 and was baptized by Father Cosmas in 1969.
    "I felt like I got rescued," says Seymour, now a member of St. Peter Parish in Newberg. I knew I had to respond to that kind of love and that it would be foolish not too." Ever since that awful early family and jail experience, he responds to the pain of others with visceral compassion. He’s walked in their shoes!
    From high school, Jim enrolled at Oregon College of Education (OCE), now Western Oregon University. He wrestled heavyweight for them and studied corrections while also working with delinquent boys as a volunteer for Catholic Community Services (CCS).
    Seymour, later, switched to education and graduated in 1973. He was hired almost immediately at CCS as a group life supervisor at the Mid Valley Adolescent Center for 3 years then promoted to program director for the next 7 years. CCS elevated him to their interim executive director in 1983 and that’s where he is today. “I guess interim became permanent somewhere along the way”, says Seymour.
    Jim holds a Masters Degree in Public Administration from Lewis and Clark College, a Quality Administration Certificate from Oregon State University and a Certificate in Advanced Child, Youth and Family Assessment, Planning and Treatment from Portland State University.
    His life, though, has not been perfect since his rebirth after jail. He overcame a drinking problem, suffered periods of exhaustion and anger, and married too young and went through a divorce. The lives of those he serves can trigger old trauma. A large part of Seymour's ongoing task, he says, is learning to forgive his father.
    Seymour met his wife, Debbie in 1994 at a United Way event. He was planning a trip to the Galapagos with someone from Mexico who was an activist in Ecuador and they were going to visit there to get a sense of the social needs. Coincidently, Debbie grew up there to age 13 and wanted to talk to him about his experience after he returned in 5 weeks.
    They were married February 1,1997, live in Newburg where Debbie was from, and have raised 7 children in their blended family. They have a lot in common in their careers. Debbie’s executive director at Chehalas Youth an d Family Services (CYFS) a nonprofit organization in Newberg that provides residential services, counseling, supervised visitation and other services for children and families of Oregon.
    CCS has over ten programs. They include foster houses and homes for destitute pregnant girls.
    Other programs help burned out parents and create homes and work for people with intellectual disabilities.
    CCS has just launched a new program called “Work to End Poverty”.
    Run by my good friend, Bill August, it consists of employers providing life-changing solutions to the root causes of poverty.
    For more information on this and all the other programs under the umbrella of CCS 3737 Portland Road Northeast, Salem or call (503) 390-2600. You can also go to their web site at: CCSWV.ORG.
    "I feel like God has called me into this," he says about his life of service. "It's like my own life depends upon it as well. To not respond to that call is just impossible."
    Catholic Community Services is a not for profit 501(3)c organization, helping people on the margins of life. Its mission is to champion the positive development of children and adults, strengthen families and build community. Their core values are love, justice, truth, and freedom. They serve our neighbors who are poor and face adversity without regard for anything other than their needs, their dreams, and their willingness to do everything they can for themselves. In the allocation of their resources they focus on three overarching goals:
    1. Every family in our community, that is willing to do whatever it takes to protect and nurture their children, gets the support they need to succeed, therefore, no child from our community enters foster care unless it is in their best interest.
    2. Every foster child from our community thrives while in care and transitions out of foster care to a nurturing, permanent family, therefore, no child from our community "ages out" of foster on their own.
    3. Every adult with intellectual disabilities, that longs to live, work, and enjoy life in our community, gets the support they need to succeed, therefore, no adult with intellectual disabilities is excluded from full participation in community life.
    When Jim started as executive director of Catholic Community Services in 1983 they served two hundred children, adults and their families each year with a staff of 20 employees. Today the workforce includes more than 300 employees and 60 foster parents and they serve more than 2000 children, adults, and their families on any given day. “The biggest struggles we face today”, says Jim, “are recruiting enough foster parents to care for children whose families are either unwilling or unable to care for them and recruiting volunteers who will to provide friendship and mentoring, and other services in support of the children and adults we serve”.
    Seymour cites three things, taken together, that distinguish CCS from other social service providers:
    First, all their work is grounded in credible science. They are nationally accredited and maintain a connection with the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University.
    Second, they conform to both the Golden Rule and the Iron Rule, i.e. "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." and "Don't do things for others that they can and should do for themselves."
    Finally, their work is grounded in their faith in a loving God who created human beings in His own image and has commanded all of us to love one another.
    Seymour has received a number of awards of recognition including: A recipient of the Diamond Leadership Award from the Oregon Alliance of Children’s Program, twice selected Citizen of the Year by the Oregon Association of Child and Youth Workers and has twice been appointed to the Governor’s Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee.
    Way back in his college days, working with those delinquent boys as a volunteer, he would often tell them that they could emerge from mistreatment and mistakes and used his own story to prove it. His own dreadful early family life prepared him for a life filled with love and empathy for others who have experienced life and family crisis. He passionately relates to their lives and he does so because, indeed, he’s walked a mile in their shoes.
    Note: some information here was taken from an article written by Ed Langlois in the Catholic Sentinel, Feb 2012.

Bill Isabell is chief meteorologist for KBZY Radio, 1490am