OLCV Volunteers of the Year 2009

At OLCV’s 12th Annual Dinner for the Environment, OLCV recognized two outstanding volunteers for their tireless commitment to the environment.

Every year we talk about the power of OLCV volunteers and the success of the previous election cycle, and by far this year is no exception. Throughout the 2008 election year OLCV's grassroots political program was one of the largest volunteer forces in Oregon politics, filling more than 1,000 shifts with volunteers who canvassed or called more than 75,000 voters, and who complemented an extremely robust paid field program that together was instrumental in electing many pro-environment leaders.

What’s even more impressive is that for our chapter leaders, those hard working volunteers who make up the leadership of OLCV’s eight county chapters, recruiting volunteers and executing campaign plans during the final few months of a two-year election cycle is the most visible culmination of two years of hard work and countless volunteer hours – hours spent raising tens of thousands of dollars to spend on local elections; hours spent tracking the voting records of city councils and county commissions and producing local scorecards so we can hold our local elected officials accountable; hours spent recruiting pro-environment candidates for local races; hours spent creating questionnaires and interviewing hundreds candidates who are running at all levels of city and state government and issuing endorsements of those candidates; and hours making strategic targeting decisions and developing multiple campaign plans.

Every year OLCV recognizes the hard work of these volunteers and recognizes that the work they do is fundamental to the success of the organization.  It is fitting that these awards –shared for the first time by two winners – were presented last Friday, at the tail end of Volunteer Appreciation Week and Earth Day week.

Rolla Cleaver moved to Newport from Las Vegas several years ago to live the “Oregon Dream.” He and his wife, Kathy, left the hustle and bustle of Vegas behind for the beautiful Oregon Coast to relax and enjoy the scenery. But over the years, he has done much more than relax. He has been an instrumental member of the Lincoln County Chapter for over five years and he has served as chair of the Lincoln County steering committee for over two years.

He has worked tirelessly to help transform the face of Lincoln County politics; working hard to help re-elect one of our most stalwart environmental elected officials -  Lincoln City Mayor Lori Hollingsworth, and to elect Representative Jean Cowan, Newport Port Commissioner JoAnn Barton, and many more candidates throughout the county. His leadership has been instrumental in helping voters become more engaged in local government at all levels. Last year, he led the charge to elect a pro-environment majority to the Newport city council. He has even convinced his wife, Kathy, to join the Lincoln County steering committee.

In his free time, if he is not helping OLCV elect pro-environment candidates, leading a phone bank or canvass, he is doing what he can to save the Leatherback Sea Turtles.  To many in Lincoln County, this award winner is volunteer of the year every year. His passion for the environment is sincere and he understands that who we elect matters.

Walt Mintkeski has a long history with OLCV, having been one of our original board members and having been involved with OLCV in one way or another throughout the years.  He specifically chose to become involved with the Multnomah County Steering Committee, where he has served as chair over the past two years, because he believes in the on-the-ground, grassroots work the chapters do to elect pro-environment candidates.

As chair, he has done a great job making the steering committee run more smoothly and helped them focus on accountability, fundraising and steering committee recruitment and retention. He has also focused on expanding the chapter beyond Portland into East County.

He is a fantastic fundraiser and helped the committee raise over $20,000 over the last two-year cycle.  But most of all, he genuinely cares for everyone on the committee and staff, acting as combination of mentor, friend, and sometimes even as a father figure.

OLCV extends our sincere gratitude to these two extraordinary volunteers. Thank you Rolla and Walt!

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Oregon League of Conservation Voters | 133 SW 2nd Ave., Ste. 200 | Portland, OR 97204 |  Phone: 503-224-4011 | Fax: 503-224-1548