A Salute to Mentors (thank one today!) PDF Print E-mail

Everyone needs a mentor. Everyone needs to be a mentor. Both historically and spiritually, there is ample evidence for the value of mentors—that caring someone who takes another person under his/her wing and walks alongside them through the seasons of life.

My first mentor was actually a peer. Jim Goodwin was a popular 4th-grader at McKinley Elementary when I made my way there from little Baker School (1st – 3rd grade) with my Fairmount-Hill tribe. The first few weeks of fourth grade were terrifying as we navigated larger hallways, larger classrooms and larger kids. I don’t know what Jim saw in me, but we clicked and he soon became not only my best friend, but my advocate. He had older siblings, so he was experienced in the neighborhood, in sports, in music (Beatles, Guess Who, Credence Clearwater Revival), in road trips (Prineville), and in zest for life. Jim urged me to join his City League baseball team (the Wolverines), which set a course for self-esteem, confidence and success all through my school years. Jim moved to Portland the summer before our  7th grade year at Leslie Jr. High, but he made an impact that has borne fruit for nearly 50 years. Every time I drive past the white Dutch Colonial at High and Rural I think of Jim and the Goodwin family.


The roster of mentors picks up at Willamette’s John Lewis Baseball School, where I was blessed to be coached by the likes of Vic Backlund, Millard Bates, Jesse Jones, and Ken Wilson, among other prominent high-school and college coaches. Bates would later be my 9th-grade Leslie Blues basketball coach, Jones would be my Babe Ruth coach, and Wilson my Saxon baseball coach. Together with Mike Doran, Coach Wilson taught Ed Hinges and me how to paint houses, which turned into the Skillern-Hinges Including Thompsons Paint Co., circa 1977-82. Yep, my own business at 18, thanks to mentors.

At Oregon State in the Fiji (Phi Gamma Delta) House, I had many ‘older brothers’ including my Big Bro Kent Crawford and the late Scott Ashdown, whom I saluted recently in the Fancy Newsletter. In Seattle, my first big-city bosses were Jill Jones and Lorraine Weeks. Together we were the marketing team for Seattle Goodwill, the nation’s first-and-largest Goodwill store. Their mentoring made it possible for me to be hired at Arst Public Relations, where I spent nine years learning from the brilliant-and-irrepressible Jane Arst many of the skills and techniques I now deploy in ministry with SLF. I paid homage here several months ago to the late Bob Patterson, who inspired me via Habitat for Humanity.

Coming home to Salem, I was blessed to serve/learn under a great SLF board that was chaired by Dick Lucco. Together with Morris Dirks, Duane Rawlins, Pam Wittman, Jean Milliken, Charlie Self, Dave Lantz and others, I learned how to translate business skills into ministry/civic skills. Why all this talk of mentors?  I'm hoping that each of us can 1) give thanks for our mentors (and thank them if possible), and 2) become a mentor. At school, at church, through CASA, by coaching, at IKE Box... mentor on!


SAVE THE DATE: SLF FANCY DESSERT IS … June 24! Just an ongoing reminder that the Fancy Dessert this year—our 20th Anniversary!—will be Friday, June 24, at the Salem Convention Center. It’s not too early to sponsor the event or sign up to host a table                ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ). Please come celebrate with us.




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