Secret praise: A shout-out to Silverton Sheltering Services duo

October 2018 Posted in Columnists & Opinion

Dixon CMYK 2016It’s time to focus on the positive things going on in the area, after the ugliness of last week’s uber partisan politics at the national level and the plethora of attack ads here in Oregon.

Brent Jacobsen and Sarah White are doers. They walk the walk, walk the talk, deliver the goods, and look to the next area of need. They are genuine, kind, and have a “bias for action.”

Perhaps I was a bit devious, since I told Brent I was writing about Sarah and needed some insight and told Sarah I was writing about Brent. The thing is, they work together beautifully. All for the greater good. Sarah started a warming shelter three years ago, along with three other women. According to Jacobsen, in his subject line answering my email inquiry, “Saint Sarah” is a God-Send.

“Sarah had become familiar with many of the residents of Silverton who need a hand while working as a case manager at SACA,” he said. “After leaving that position, she continued to use her broad understanding of the resources and services available, but unknown to many of the neediest, to help homeless people in our community meet their most basic needs and start addressing their reasons for being homeless.

“The warming shelter grew in its outreach and the number of people staying overnight and volunteering,” he continued.

“The impromptu warming shelter that Sarah and three friends started evolved into the Silverton Area Warming Shelter and now Silverton Sheltering Services (S.S.S.).  Throughout this evolution, people who work with her will tell you, Sarah is the heart and soul behind the work. She leads by modeling caring and helpful behavior and gently, patiently reminding us in many ways, to be the best version of ourselves. And, she does all of this as a volunteer.”

White is also on the Bethany Charter School Board, mom to four active kids, is married to the S.S.S. webmaster, Dimitry, and is involved in a host of other Silverton area groups and projects.

Not to be outdone in offering effusive praise (unknowingly) to her sheltering counterpart, White says of Dr. Jacobsen, “Brent is a treasure for this town – but probably a secret one, working quietly behind the scenes to make things happen.

“He had recently retired from a career in juvenile corrections, counseling, education, and management at the Oregon Department of Education,” White said.

“I immediately knew Brent was a special guy and was eager to enlist his help. I remember the time and care he showed one young person who was trying to build a life for herself after an abusive relationship. He sat with her for hours helping her identify her strengths and resources, develop a plan that she was excited about and giving her encouragement she had so long been seeking.

“I reached out to him when we were forming an advisory board for the Warming Shelter,” she continued.
“He immediately emerged as a leader in that group. He listens intently before speaking, uses humor and compassion to relate to everyone. When we made the decision to become a non-profit, Brent was everyone’s first choice as our Board President. I really can’t say enough good things about the guy.”

Kudos to these two, who can be counted on to work tirelessly for the greater good while doing the right thing, with no expectation of reward or thanks. Embrace them. 

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