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Rockaway Lions Club earns prestigious SOLVE award

Since 1984, the Rockaway Lions have been hard at work, keeping the beautiful Oregon beaches clean; and on Jan. 22, the club was awarded for their efforts.
Max Kirkendall
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Oregon non-profit organization SOLVE was started by Oregon Gov. Tom McCall in 1969 because he saw the problem of litter on our roadsides and graffiti in the cities, according to program director Quintin Bauer.
“He (McCall) was really upset about the litter and wanted to do something, so he started this non-profit,” Bauer said. “Over the years we have gained thousands of volunteers and removed millions of pounds of trash. Just yesterday we had over 300 volunteers in Portland, who picked up over 2,000 pounds of trash in two and a half hours.”
SOLVE has a number of programs going on year-round, including two big beach cleanups in the fall and in the spring. The Rockaway Lions Club has been partnering with SOLVE on community projects since 1986, and have been ‘Beach Captains’ since the very first coast wide cleanup in 1984.
“That was the first state beach cleanup anywhere in the world, and now it’s an international cleanup effort,” Bauer said.
Each year, SOLVE will honor different volunteer groups with their sort of volunteer of the year award that they call ‘Partner of the Year.’ This year the award was given to the Rockaway Lions Club.
“For the past two years, the Rockaway Lions name has come right to the top of our Parter of the Year nominee list as one of our top community groups that help us achieve our mission,” Bauer said. “Their projects are just above and beyond what the typical cleanup would be. Beach plastics and beach trash have become more and more of an issue, but if that cleanup effort hadn’t started here, it would surly be much worse.”
In total, the Rockaway Lions Club has led over 5,000 volunteers in nearly 70 cleanup projects since it began 35 years ago. The club’s beach cleanup event has really become a model for other volunteer groups across the country as they provide outreach and education, free refreshments, hot dogs and other giveaways at their events.
“That model of feeding the volunteers really was sparked from the beach cleanups here,” SOLVE Program Coordinator Jon Schmidt said. “That’s something to be really proud of because they’re really making an impression on other groups.”
The club holds a tremendous love for SOLVE and has never wavered in their commitment as SOLVE leaders in their community. Many of the club’s members have been volunteering for years and have memories and stories that span decades.
“I’ve been hearing about this club for years and about the great things they are doing down here for all the volunteers who come out for the beach cleanups,” Schmidt said.
The Rockaway Lions are a group of service-minded men and women who lead community volunteer efforts and improve the Rockaway Beach area.
“The Rockaway Beach Lions Club is more than deserving of recognition after their many years of service and strong partnership,” Bauer said.