Lifetime achievement: Potter honored for four decades of service

February 2010 Posted in People

By Jan Jackson

After nearly four decades of selfless community service, Steve Potter will accept the coveted 2009 Lifetime Achievement Award during the 39th annual Silverton Chamber of Commerce First Citizen Banquet set for 5:45 pm, Friday, Feb. 20.

Potter, who is emaployed full time for Steelhead Metal and Fabrication in Salem, was nominated for his work with St. Edward’s Episcopal Church, the Boy Scouts, Mount Hood Ski Patrol, American Heart Association, Lions International, Mt. Angel Oktoberfest, Silverton Homer Davenport Days and the annual Free Fish Day – to name a few.

The Rev. Shana McCauley, priest-in-charge at St. Edward’s Episcopal Church in Silverton, summed up the message told in the many letters of praise friends and colleagues sent in Potters behalf.

“Steve Potter is a quiet man who sees a need and sets out to fill it,” McCauley said. “He is an asset to St. Edward’s and to the Silverton Community as a whole.”

The oldest of four boys, Potter was born and raised on a Silverton farm. Though his grandfather raised beef and sheep and his father operated a dairy, Potter went on to college for an associate degree in Industrial Mechanical Technology and then joined the U.S. Army as a machinist. He remembers watching his father carry on work with a 4-H livestock club on South Abiqua Road, but his own volunteerism didn’t start until 1972 when he started helping his church with its Oktoberfest booth. His Scout work began after he married and had two boys of his own.

“My wife is the one that got me started in Boy Scouts,” Potter said. “Her brother was very active in it so she got some friends together and started a Cub Scout group that our boys could be in. We started of course doing fun silly things at the Cub Scout level, and moved to the even more rewarding things like training 15- to 17-year-old, 6-foot-plus kids wanting to learn the ropes on the mountain. They are learning a lot by observing emergency care as the center of attention and they help with ski patrol by serving as patients. You start out by taking care of them and bring them right up to where they are able to take care of you.”

While most people wait until they retire to start a volunteer program, Potter, who is up and off to work at 6 a.m. Monday through Friday and doesn’t get back home until 6 p.m., performs his service after hours and on weekends. Fellow Lions Club member Jon Debo, who has worked with Potter for years, is looking forward to their next undertaking.

“Steve and I have worked on a lot of projects together including flipping pancakes at the Homer Davenport Days annual Harvest Breakfast,” Debo said. “Steve is a good teacher and mentor and someone everybody looks up to. He is willing and organized and if he has the ability to something, he doesn’t hesitate to do it. We have a new project coming up now and I’m looking forward to working on it with him.”

When asked what he planned on doing when he retired, Potter had an easy answer. “If I’m still able, I’ll just keep on doing what I’m doing now.”

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