HER VOLUNTEER ENERGY GENERATES POSITIVE SPIRIT
Jamie Hurd serves her community in a lot of places — school board, 4-H, Every Child, the Community Event, the Jefferson County Fair, Madras Runners Club — and with so much heart and energy, she epitomizes an Amazing Neighbor.
She might not have the time to volunteer in our community if it weren’t for her children or, more specifically, her decision to stay home with them.
Hurd was working on the Warm Springs Reservation as a Tribal biologist.
“I loved that work,” she said, filling her heart with the words. “Loved it.”
But when her second son was born, she decided to leave the workplace.
“With the high pace the world is, I just needed to give the space to my kids,” she said. “It’s hard because I loved that career.”
Shortly after she left her job, the city of Madras hired her husband, Jeff, as its Public Works director.
“They required us to live here. It was the smartest thing the city ever did because we fell in love with the community,” said Hurd. “Now we think Madras is the best-kept secret in Central Oregon.”
Sitting near the Kid’s Corner at the fair, one of many places she’s volunteering this year, Hurd says the County Fair shows how Jefferson County supports upcoming generations.
“They have the largest payout in the state,” said Hurd, speaking of the prices kids get at the auction for the animals they raise and show. “I was blown away. All through COVID, and all the things going on in the ag community, those people found a way to support their kids. And that’s what Madras is about. There are so many people stepping up and working to make it better.”
Hurd thrives on that spirit of community support.
“I think I gather energy from doing all this stuff. I get an adrenalin rush, and I get pleasure helping all these people out. It helps my mental health.”
Perhaps her highest profile point of service is as a member of the Jefferson County 509-J school board.
“Education was so important to me as a parent,” she said. “I guess there’s no better way to serve something so important to our whole community.”
Her colleagues call her the heart of the school board because she focuses on promoting achievements.
“There are so many good things going on, and we need to celebrate that,” Hurd said. “We often get bogged down in the negative, the unhealthy stuff. And I sometimes think so much energy is going into that when we’re missing so many cool things that are happening.”
She loves running, so she formed the Madras Runners, and from that community sprouted more service. The group hosted races and turned the proceeds into youth programming and grants.
She volunteers for Every Child, an organization that supports foster kids and foster families by helping them with food, clothing, special events, and date night for foster parents.
She has worked to ensure the homeless have meals when they seek shelter in the warming center in winter, and the cooling shelter in the summer.
She’s not a leader of her kids’ 4-H club, Boots and Hooves, but she does head up their service effort. The club adopted the county’s Youth Fishing Pond, creating habitat for the fish and jointly sponsoring a fishing derby with the Boy Scouts.The list is endless.
“I feel it’s my responsibility to help when I can. It’s a value I instill in my kids. I really believe in community and service and giving back,” said Hurd.
Since she gave up her job, Hurd has more time than money to offer. Volunteering brings her rewards money can’t buy, and that’s something she wants her kids and their friends to experience.
“The goal is that they can be forward thinking and independent so they can go out and be community leaders and do community service.”
Her volunteer spirit serves two ends: improving her community and enriching her life by modeling a path for her children.