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SE Uplift says Farewell to a Beloved Board Member, Pete Jacobsen
Every year the SE Uplift Neighborhood Coalition is incredibly fortunate to connect with countless outstanding community leaders. In every case, we celebrate the gifts these volunteers offer through their generous commitment of time, energy, vision and celebration. As a neighborhood coalition, our board is made of up these amazing volunteers who donate time and energy to both their neighborhood board and to the coalition.
Each year in July SE Uplift welcomes new board members as we say farewell to retiring board members. It is always exciting to greet new people but is as equally difficult to say goodbye. This year, SE Uplift says farewell to Pete Jacobsen who has generously given his time, energy, talent and vision to the coalition for the past four years.
Pete exemplifies outstanding volunteerism. After a long career in the technology field, Pete served the outer Southeast Portland community as a pro bono bike mechanic, a highly revered position, and in 2007, he joined the SE Uplift Board as the representative from Brentwood-Darlington and later became an At-Large member of the board serving as Secretary then Treasurer on the Executive Committee.
If these vital board roles weren’t enough, Pete also was instrumental in developing SE Uplift’s new brand and website in 2008 and he has played a critical part in various building renovations, improvements and disaster response through the years. “Pete was a lifesaver during the winter when our boiler stopped working and had to be replaced,” said Tim O’Neal, SE Uplift Sustainability Coordinator. “He spent countless hours trying to fix the old boiler, then arranging the installation of the new one, and finally following up to make sure the heating system was working as it should.” O’Neal explained that Pete’s initiative with the boiler replacement allowed staff to continue with time-sensitive programmatic work, such as the Solarize SE project that was in full effect at the time. “I was so grateful to have someone so committed and reliable to take on such a huge project,” said O’Neal.
SE Uplift staff often wonders if Pete is some sort of community superhero. When not spending time camping with his family, reading science fiction, enjoying a cool beer, gardening, bike riding and woodworking, you can find him at SE Uplift turning obstacles into opportunities and making the space much more community-friendly. Thanks to Pete, SE Uplift has a beautiful wood bench in our garden, an attractive community kiosk, high efficiency lighting throughout the building, two gorgeous updated bathrooms, a brand new conference space and countless blooming plants throughout the grounds. For many people, finding time to dedicate to the community is a challenge, but for Pete, whose email tagline reads, “It's hard to do nothing... you never know when you're finished” it’s all par for the course.
“Pete is the hardest-working board member I've ever been blessed to work with,” exclaimed SE Uplift Executive Director Anne Dufay. “There isn't a nook or cranny of this organization he hasn't measurably benefited. Most recently he finished off major construction work on our new conference room. For this, and a million other things he's done for us, we are naming the new conference room the Pete Jacobsen Conference Room. It's just a token, and by no means adequate, but he keeps modestly dodging our efforts to formally fete and honor him! Oh, and no testimony to Pete would be complete without mentioning that he's a lot of fun to drink a beer with.”
Pete has made his mark on SE Uplift and subsequently, on the community at-large. Through working with Pete, staff and volunteers alike have had the opportunity to see the many benefits of hard work and dedication. And Pete’s absence will humbly remind us of what we will be missing. Pete has not only uplifted the building and the organization, he has also lifted up the hearts of his fellow board members and his adoring staff. But, what we will miss the most, Dufay said, is his “wicked sense of humor and real appreciation for irony.”
Thank you Pete.
by Blythe Pavlik, SE Uplift
June 30, 2011