The city’s newly formed faith-based committee aimed its focus on strengthening local families at its first official meeting on Monday.

The group, comprised of local clergyman and city council liaisons, gathered at City Hall to ask the question of how both groups can  serve the community together.

Seated on the committee are Rev. Dean Hackett, Father Dan Maxwell, Rev. Genaro Loredo, Rev. Gene Berrey, Rev. John Jefferies and Jeff Snell as well as councilors Rod Hardin and Lori Davis.

Hackett, of Living Faith Church, facilitated the group meeting of several clergyman, gathering information on how to strengthen and build connections between the churches in Hermiston and the local community.

“Is there a way that we could come along beside and help reduce the damages and address some of these moral issues?” Hackett said.

Hackett asked those in attendance what things they would like to see accomplished through the group.

“As far as the Hispanic community,” said Rev. Genaro Loredo, of New Hope Community Church, “the families need more encouragement as how to … encourage kids to continue their education beyond high school.”

Committee member Jeff Snell, of The Church of Jesus Christ Latter-day Saints, asked Hermiston School District Superintendent Fred Maiocco, who also attended the meeting, how the committee might assist the schools in Hermiston.

Maiocco said he encourages the committee’s support, and suggested  the group consider forming a mentorship program to help students.

“To have another series of resources to provide one-on-one help and assistance, in a non-proselytizing way,” Maiocco said. “I would support that.”  

Hackett said he would like the committee to be that resource for schools as well as others within the community.

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