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Dudley Strain owned men's clothing stores for years, so he was right at home filling in for his vacationing wife

BARBARA SHERMAN - Wearing a top hat, the dapper Dudley Strain, standing with his co-worker Sherry Shelton at the American Cancer Society Discovery Shop in the Willowbrook Center, is ready to for his shift, filling in for his wife Sharon Strain, who was out of town.At the Tigard Discovery Shop, an upscale resale shop that benefits the American Cancer Society, every volunteer is valuable no matter the job he or she does.

So when Summerfield resident Sharon Strain was going to be out of town and miss her Monday afternoon shift in the Willowbrook Center store, she had to look no farther for the perfect replacement than her husband, Dudley.

Sure enough, on Aug. 14 at the appointed time, Dudley, who owned men's clothing stores for many years, was at the shop ready to help out wherever he was needed.

"I owned three men's clothing stores and worked in retail in college," he said. "I was the co-founder and president of Dudley Craig Ltd. We opened on Southwest Broadway in downtown Portland, opened a Washington Square store and closed the Broadway one. Then we reopened the Portland store and one in Seattle."

Dudley, who also served as president of the Rose Festival Association, said the idea for him substituting for Sharon was set up three or four weeks earlier.

"We have had men volunteer here before," said volunteer Sherry Shelton, who was working the floor with Dudley. "One worked in the back room where all the donations are taken and cleaned and repaired to go on the sales floor. One man did our janitorial work for several years until he moved. I wish we had more men volunteer here — I want more."

According to Shelton, there are at least two people on the floor at any one time, and on Tuesdays, which is senior day with 20 percent off the already low prices, three people are working.

Shelton thinks there has been a Discovery Shop in Tigard for about 35 years, with the first one located at the north end of Main Street in downtown Tigard.

"King City and Summerfield residents really support us and provide a majority of our volunteers, and we get a few from the Highlands," Shelton said.

"It's for a good cause. I've been blessed," said Dudley, who volunteers at Medical Teams International in Tigard on Wednesdays and is currently vice president of the Summerfield Civic Association Board of Directors.

Dudley's shift at the Discovery Shop ran from 1 to 4:30 p.m., and he was put to work on helping with the displays and bagging purchases.

"I rearranged the men's clothes by size," he told Shelton. "There is a difference between running a store and shopping in it."

Shelton added, "Most of the volunteers shop here. We're some of our best customers. We shop here every time we work."

And indeed, a volunteer finishing up her shift brought a couple items to the register to be rung up before she left.

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