Volunteer of the Month – August
Dawn Alford, Organization Committee
Our August Volunteer of the Month is someone who shines bright and brings a positive energy to each committee meeting. You’ve more than likely seen Dawn volunteering at EDA events, strolling throughout CWU’s campus, or passing by on a local trail. While she is fairly new to the community, she has wasted no time finding her happy places.
We appreciate Dawn for her dedication and passion towards downtown. If you are lucky enough to know her, you know her heart is always in the right place and her mind is always producing creative ideas! If you haven’t had the pleasure of meeting her yet, here is some more information on our August Volunteer of the Month.
What is your Ellensburg story?
I came to live in Ellensburg three years ago when my daughter transferred to Central Washington University. I moved from Richland to take a position in the CWU Public Affairs department, both to help pay for her education and advance my career. As the Public Affairs Coordinator, my role is to build and strengthen community-university relationships, direct special projects, and serve as the emergency management public information officer.
How/when did you first get involved with the EDA?
I originally became involved with the EDA in 2017 while helping build the Business to Community (B2C) Stars program. The coalition was formed to reward and promote customer service in Ellensburg and includes the EDA, CWU, the City of Ellensburg, and the Kittitas County Chamber of Commerce. While working together on B2C Stars, I learned about EDA’s mission and its need for volunteers. I later became a member of the EDA Organizational Committee.
What advice do you have for anyone interested in volunteering for the EDA or other organizations?
If you have the desire to volunteer, do it! Regardless of the amount of time you can devote, there is a volunteer committee or opportunity for you at the EDA. It’s not uncommon to see individuals, families, companies, or friends come out for a day. If you have more time, join a committee. It’s always a great time and you feel good at the end of the day knowing you contributed to the community.
When you are not working or volunteering, what are some of your favorite things to do?
Since moving to Ellensburg, I’ve found a new love of the great outdoors. I especially enjoy exploring— driving with no destination in mind, hiking tricky lush terrain, wading in pristine blue mountain lakes, and competing in 5K-15K runs throughout the state. I’m most happy out in nature, and with the exception of a cougar sighting, I relish seeing all types of wildlife.
As you know, the EDA is doing a survey currently asking what the community would like to see downtown. This brings me to a two-part question for you:
– What is your favorite thing about downtown?
It’s not just one thing. What I like most about downtown is its historic architecture, quaint shops, variety of great dining and drinking establishments, and its casual feel that encourages pedestrian traffic. I’m also excited about the continuous growth downtown; all the new businesses really add to Ellensburg’s local flavor.
– What would you like to see in downtown’s future?
I would welcome businesses that offer products and services for Ellensburg’s growing, ethnically-diverse population because CWU’s student body and employees are very multicultural. Of CWU’s 12,342-member student body, 35 percent are students of color—most of whom are from the west side and are accustomed to having access to a wide variety of products and services that are geared towards them. Currently, there is a huge gap in this area. I’d also love to see a martini bar that provides live jazz music and a dance floor.
Our volunteer of the month is always an inspiring individual. Who is someone (dead or alive) that inspires you?
Wilma Rudolph has served as an inspiration for me since I was a young girl. As a child, she overcame polio, double pneumonia, and scarlet fever to become an Olympic sprint champion—winning three gold medals and a bronze. Doctors underestimated her, telling her family she would always struggle to walk and have to wear a brace on her leg. She also had plenty of social and economic challenges—being born in the early 40s in rural Tennessee, she was the 20th of 22 children. With her family’s support, she overcame all of this adversity, earning a degree from Tennessee State University and breaking two world records.
Through life’s many challenges, I’ve looked to Rudolph’s example to resolve to fight for what I want, to be resilient, and strive to do my best in everything I do.
Thank you to Dawn for choosing to support the EDA and downtown. We appreciate you!