Jacksonville honors three people for their volunteer work – Medford News, Weather, Sports, Breaking News
Nearly five decades of volunteer service to the city by three people was recognized by the Jacksonville City Council on January 4.
Carolyn Kingsnorth was named the City’s 2020 Person of the Year, Kandee McClain was named the 2021 Person of the Year and Tony Hess received the City’s Achievement Award. All had previously been named “Booster of the Year” by the Jacksonville Boosters Club.
All seats were taken by those who came to honor those selected, reported Mayor Dona Bowen, who detailed the achievements of the volunteers. “Isn’t that a wonderful way to start the new year?” Bowen said at the end of the ceremony.
Kingsnorth moved to Jacksonville in 2003, joined the boosters, and served as group president for three years. She was also editor of the Jacksonville Review for three years.
When the Southern Oregon Historical Society was pulling out of Jacksonville, Kingsnorth organized the Jacksonville Heritage Society which helped preserve historic buildings then owned by Jackson County, including the 1883 courthouse that is now the New City Hall. When the city took ownership of the structures, Kingsnorth formed Historic Jacksonville, Inc., which took on the preservation of Beekman Bank and Beekman House. This stewardship continues to this day, Bowen said, and Kingsnorth remains its creative and energetic force.
Tours of the house and the bank, the only museum-quality historic buildings open to the public in town, are offered seasonally by the group. Additionally, Kingsnorth has created a series of historic haunted tours and walking tours of Jacksonville. When the pandemic hit, she created virtual content to continue telling the city’s stories.
“It’s all done because I love Jacksonville. One of the phrases I use is, ‘History is what we are, so we don’t want to forget that,’” Kingsnorth said. is why we love to share it with you and bring it to life.”
McClain has lived in Jacksonville for 10 years. She is a member of the Boosters Club, has served on the board of directors and chaired the club’s Beekman Arboretum committee. She sits on the board of the Boosters Foundation. She has also served on the board of the Jacksonville Woodlands Association, serving as secretary and now president. It has created an endowment to ensure the maintenance of the network of forest paths. She also served on the City’s Parks, Recreation and Visitor Services Committee.
For the past five years, McClain led efforts to restore the Beekman Arboretum, which had suffered from neglect. Works included large-scale pruning and weed control, landscaping, restoration of a waterhole and irrigation systems, and creation of a picnic shelter. She inspired a number of volunteers to participate.
“Jacksonville inspires someone to take care of it, volunteer and be a positive part of it. I’m sure being here made me a different person than I would have been if I had lived somewhere else,” McClain said. “Many citizens work so hard to make this the special city that it is.”
Hess moved to town in 2001 and was a board member of the Jacksonville Woodlands Association in 2003, where he served as treasurer and contracts officer for a $905,000 fuel reduction grant that cleared more than 300 acres of woods and adjacent land.
Later, Hess began work to improve the town’s 1,800-acre watershed and reservoir site west of town. Despite the controversy, a plot of land higher in the watershed was sold to the Motorcycle Riders Association, which removed the motorcycles from the lower portions of the plot, which became Forest Park. Hess chaired a committee that led to a land swap with the biker group. Beginning in 2008, Hess began work to create trails and build gazebos, restrooms, bridges and benches, and to protect park land. There are now over 40 miles of trails in the park.
Bowen noted that Hess, who had a career in mining, began drilling for grants to support many civic projects soon after his arrival.
“When we came to town…we didn’t know all the non-profits that were out there. It’s the uniqueness,” Hess said. “I just had opportunities to be in the right place at the right time, doing things that I had never done in my life, like building trails and cutting fuel. The watershed was a big project. Most of the time it was fun. There was a great bond. »
Jacksonville’s mayor selects recipients of the awards after consulting with others, Bowen said. “The same names kept coming up. It was sort of obvious this time. They have all done so much for the city,” she said.
Contact Ashland freelance writer Tony Boom at [email protected].