ALWAYS MAKE TIME FOR COMMUNITY
He could be checking on a neighbor during the pandemic, donating to an activity benefitting children from financially challenged households, or fighting a fire — all would be in character for James Audritsh.
Those are some of the reasons James is recognized as Pamplin Media’s Woodburn-area 2022 Amazing Neighbor.
Born in Silverton, Audritsh has been part of the Woodburn-area community for 55 years. He and his wife, Gina, raised their daughters, Andrea and Miranda, in the area. James figures anytime he’s contributing time to something outside of his work at Hallmark Properties is an investment into a community that’s been a part of him his entire life.
Many are grateful for such investments.
Just after his 1985 high school graduation, James joined the Woodburn Fire Department, where he has been a volunteer for 37 years, earning the distinction of volunteer firefighter of the year three times.
“On a moment’s notice day or night for more than 37 years, he has frequently dropped what he is doing to respond to fires across the north Marion County region,” Woodburn Fire Chief Joe Budge said. “James has taken it upon himself to maintain and respond with Tender 25, which is located at the fire district’s Broadacres Station near his home.
His efforts over the years with Tender 25 to provide the water supply necessary to extinguish rural area fires has helped to save a countless amount of property from devastation by fire.”
He does get some personal satisfaction out of it: community parades.
“I love parades, and everyone around here knows me for driving something in a parade,” Audritsh said.
Chief Budge added, “James is actively involved in the district’s community events where he always represents the fire district with a high level of professionalism and enthusiasm. James is one of the primary organizers of the district’s annual food and toy drive and national night out activities. He also participates in many parades and small community events throughout the year.
“His friendly and approachable nature is appreciated by all he works with and serves.”
In addition to fighting fires, James serves on the Hubbard City Council, is an active Kiwanis member, and helps with causes such as Love Santa Inc.
“James has shown his passion and caring for the community in many ways,” Hubbard Mayor Charles Rostocil said, that this year alone, Love Santa efforts delivered more than 400 packages for kids at Christmas.
“Beyond these visible efforts, James is also a strong advocate for Hubbard in his role as the Hubbard City Council president,” the mayor continued. “In this role, he is active in and around the city, where he listens to the concerns and issues our community faces and brings those voices back to the city council. His input, thoughtful inquiries, and unbiased approach to addressing Hubbard’s needs can be witnessed in each council meeting.”
As a concrete example, Charles pointed to Hubbard’s G Street renovations.
“James spent many hours proactively speaking with residents and business owners to listen to the concerns and problems that were being uncovered during the project and brought those back to Council so we could address them quickly,” he said.
That wouldn’t surprise anyone who knows James.
“James has been a friend of mine for many years,” said Woodburn Police veteran Robert Prinslow. “He is a person deserving of this acknowledgment. He grew up in this community. He created a family and became an active part of this community.
“For many years, James was a Hubbard Police reserve. James is active in many local groups and even a board member for multiple organizations.”
Love Santa is largely spirited by Robert, and one place he’s seen James in action.
“I have seen James and his wife, Gina, volunteering after a day of work. Many times James would volunteer long into the night to make sure the tasks were completed for the event! It has been amazing to watch James as he does his part — sometimes more than his part — to make our community a better place for everyone,” he said.