Stayton First Citizen: Jodi Hack committed to making life better

March, 2012 Posted in Community, People

By Mary OwenJodi Hack in her office at the North Santiam School District

Jodi Hack whole-heartedly believes in making a difference.

Hack has been called a true leader, someone who is able to rally people to a cause and more importantly, get things done.

“Jodi is passionate, her heart is bigger than Texas, and when it comes to kids and volunteering, the word ‘no’ just isn’t in her vocabulary,” said Wendy Nau, one of the nominators for Hack to be named Stayton’s First Citizen.

“She will fight for what is right for kids to the bitter end, and she will lead others to do the same,” Nau added. “I’ve seen firsthand the extreme passion she has for truly being a change-maker for kids. The Stayton community is really blessed to have a citizen like Jodi to be an example of true volunteerism for others in our community including our kids.”

Tom Coates also nominated Hack for the Stayton/ Sublimity Chamber of Commerce honor, stating, “She never refuses to take an active and often leading role in many civic, school and church events.”

To those who know her, Hack embodies what “first citizen” is all about.

Community Awards Luncheon
Monday, April 2, 11:30 a.m.
Tickets: $11.50, available at
Stayton Sublimity Chamber of Commerce
175 High St., Stayton

“She’s done so much for programs for children here,” said nominator Tass Morrison. “Anything she gets involved with, she gets tenacious to make it happen. She’s so committed to making life better for children in our community.”

Hack, communications coordinator for the North Santiam School District, says she is “very honored, very humbled” by the recognition.

“I absolutely did not suspect this,” she said. “It was a complete surprise!”

But her win was no surprise to her fellow volunteers.

“One of the things I appreciate most is the work she did when she was involved with the Parent-Teachers Organization at Stayton Elementary,” Morrison said. “All the fundraising she did to improve the play areas for the kids. That will serve families for years to come.”

Hack’s long list of accomplishments started in the ’90s when she was appointed to serve as the United Way loaned executive serving Stayton and Sublimity, a task that earned her the title of “Loaned Executive of the Year.”

“That meant a lot to me,” Hack said of the job. “Not many people know about it.”

For several years Hack volunteered for the Santiam Canyon Stampede board, and during her tenure initiated the All Kids Rodeo, a popular, ongoing event for children and families.

She has served as a volunteer high school youth leader at her church, where she led a Marriage and Families Communication small group with her husband, Steve.

Hack has served as a board member for the Santiam Family YMCA for more than a decade, and continues in that role, assisting small Y’s such as Stayton’s with operating strategies.

In the late 1990s when the YMCA began the Healthy Kids Initiative, Jodi led the effort to encourage collaboration between local schools and Santiam Memorial Hospital to “promote information and better health practices for children,” Morrison said.

“And for several months when the YMCA had no director, Jodi led the board in becoming a ‘working’ board while searching for a replacement director,” Nau added.

As president of the Stayton Elementary Parent-Teacher Conference, Hack led the group to fund and construct the covered play shed, which now provides an area for kids to play in inclement weather.

“She was also a key person in the replacement of the old, outdated play equipment with the new equipment that exists today,” Nau added.

As president at Sublimity School’s PTC, Hack led the effort to institute Family Fun Nights and fundraising to better its playground equipment.

She also volunteered on two bond measure committees for the North Santiam School District.

Other volunteer activities include: Friends of the Family, helping to organize its “Back to School Fair” held each August at Stayton Middle School; Communities that Care, a five-year plan through the Department of Human Services and the Marion County Health Department to assist communities in addressing factors known to promote positive youth development; Oregon Community Foundation’s Mid-Valley Leadership Council, spotlighting the Stayton-area Reading for All program to promote literacy skills and kindergarten readiness in three counties; the North Santiam Schools Foundation; Stayton area representative on the Chemeketa Community College Foundation; Stayton area Rotary Club member; and president of the Stayton High School Booster Club.

“Some of the most fun times I’ve had was cleaning up the football stadium and setting up for tailgates,” Hack said. “There really isn’t one thing I’ve enjoyed more than the rest. All of it is important to me.”
Hack thrives on being able to work with people in her community, she said.

“The ability to be a part of something bigger than myself is a great feeling,” she added.

“I would encourage others to give back to their community. There is a place for everyone, something that everybody can do. You just have to care enough to give your time.”

An added bonus is that Stayton folks are willing to let people “give,” she said.

“There are so many opportunities,” she added. “With numbers, you can do so many great things. I hope this inspires people to rally round and give back also.”

Hack credits her family’s involvement for her successful as a volunteer. Husband Steve, son Reece, 18, a senior at Stayton High School, and Reilly, 14, a freshman, jump right in when they can, she said.

“I couldn’t have done it without their support,” Hack said.

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