PENDLETON - The Blue Mountain Good Sam Chapter in Pendleton is committed to community service. The group donates money to Hospice, The Salvation Army and Dogs for the Deaf, according to longtime Good Sam Dorothy Marlow of Pendleton.
Good Sam members also can be seen along highways 395 and 11, cleaning up the litter tossed by passing motorists. They clean up at the Boardman Marina; help schools on various projects; send volunteers to help at the Umatilla County Courthouse and health department; and process foods and goods for St. Mary's Outreach, RSVP, St. Anthony Hospital gift shop and others.
"In addition, members assist The Salvation Army Christmas activities by ringing bells, donating toys, and sorting and distributing food and gifts," Marlow said.
The local chapter is active in the Linus Blanket project sponsored by the national organization, collecting material and turning them into lap-sized blankets to be distributed to children undergoing medical treatment or trauma as well as to senior citizens, Marlow said. In addition, the club collects pull tabs from pop cans for the Ronald McDonald House in Portland.
Already busy, the group didn't flinch when they heard of members Jeanne and Bill Smith's granddaughters - Tatum, 3, and Jillian, 18 months - who have cystic fibrosis. The group's treasury couldn't handle another project, so Good Sam member Donna Southwell suggested the club save deposit cans and bottles to garner funds for the Cystic Fibrosis Center at Doernbecher Hospital in Portland.
The Smiths volunteered their garage to process the cans and bottles and have set up a virtual factory for that end. Every penny of each 5-cent deposit goes to the hospital's CF program, with half earmarked for research and the other half for patient assistance.
Good Sam furnished volunteers who placed barrels around Pendleton during Round-Up. Barrels are also placed at the club's camp-outs and other activities. The Pendleton group also got help from Good Sam chapters in Hermiston and Milton-Freewater, several businesses and other friends.
"We'll place barrels any time at any place on request," Bill Smith said. Even smashed cans are welcome, he added.
Every Monday, Lou Pulley, Wayne Harris and Bill Smith pick up the cans. Then, every Tuesday, Jeanne Smith, Evelyn Larsen and Rita Harris sort the donations. After they build up a good supply, the men take the bottles to local distributors for refunds.
So far, the Good Sam chapter has donated $3,900 for cystic fibrosis research and patient support, and Doernbecher's Cystic Fibrosis Center has helped numerous patients and added money to research projects.
"As a not-for-profit teaching institution, it seems there are never funds available to go the extra mile," Tamee Harden-Blankenship, center administrator, wrote to the Good Sam Club. "We are so grateful ... for helping our patients maintain access to care and services and to ease the horrendous financial burdens placed on their families by this insidious disease."
The Blue Mountain Good Sam Club welcomes RV owners who want to be members. In the summer the chapter holds camp-outs every second weekend. During the winter, the club meets at a local restaurant for lunch monthly. For more information about the chapter call Bill or Jeanne Smith at 276-2019, Lou or Shirley Pulley at 276-4893, or Wayne or Rita Harris at 276-8285.