KeyBank's annual Public Service Day closes the banks, and sends the staff out to do needed work in the community

ELIZABETH USSHER GROFF - KeyBank Volunteer workers, on a hot September day at the Woodstock Community Center. From left: Bea Rector, Susan Williams, Terry Griffiths, Coral Braun, Penny Gavett, CC Baxter, Udyog Subedi, and Stefan Flores. If you went to the Woodstock Key Bank for business on Tuesday, September 14th, you found it closed between 1 and 5 p.m. Here's why: It was Key Bank's "Neighbors Make A Difference Day", at branches throughout Portland. Once a year the bank's employees engage in community service by working with neighborhood or organizational volunteers who need an extra hand.

"We don't do the easy stuff," commented Susan Williams, Key Bank Manager of the Woodstock Branch. Williams was demonstrating the truth of that statement as she spoke with THE BEE: She was shoveling large wood chips into buckets in 83-degree heat, and wheeling them to areas around the Woodstock Community Center, where other bank volunteers spread them out. "I do bark chips at home, but these [wood chips] are heavier!" she exclaimed, as she pushed the wheelbarrow over old existing chips.

There were a total of six bank volunteers helping the Friends of the Woodstock Community Center with some outside maintenance at the building. Three volunteers were from the Woodstock Branch – Susan Williams, Penny Gavett, and Coral Braun, and three were from the Hawthorne Branch – CC Baxter, Udyog Subedi, and Stefan Flores. Neighborhood volunteer Bea Rector also worked along with the bank volunteers.

Before shoveling and wheeling the chips, Braun and Williams patiently picked Sweet Gum tree burr balls from the old wood chips on the ground, to prepare for the new chips.

Baxter and Gavett dug dirt and clay up from a 4x8-foot area in preparation for pavers to be placed as an entry point for a future wheelchair ramp. Then Subedi and Flores from Hawthorne relieved them, and continued to shovel and level the ground. Loads of dirt were wheeled outside the fence to an area where Woodstock neighborhood volunteer Bea Rector had created a contained spot for it.

"One year we went to the Dougy Center; another year to the Sellwood Community Center," shared Williams about previous "Neighbors Make A Difference Days" during her eight years at the Woodstock Branch. "And another year we went to Oaks Park, and picked up litter."

CC Baxter, Hawthorne Branch Manager, remembers going one year to the Sunshine Division and unloading pallets of food for Sunshine's Holiday food distribution. "And one year we pulled blackberries from the trails at Columbia Slough Watershed!" she said. Gavett – who has worked at the Woodstock Branch long enough to remember the year they went to "Meals on Wheels" in Westmoreland and scrubbed bathrooms, floors, and ovens – agreed, "We do work that matters!" And no one was complaining as they laughed, worked, and sweated together again this year, overseen by Terry Griffiths, Co-Chair of the Friends of the Woodstock Community Center, who was the day's coordinator.

"What's so nice is to be giving back to the community, because there are a lot of neighborhood volunteers that need some help," Woodstock Branch Manager Williams remarked.

For more information on Key Bank go online to: – and, to learn about their program "Key4Women", which helps women succeed in the business world, visit:

You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.

Have a thought or opinion on the news of the day? Get on your soapbox and share your opinions with the world. Send us a Letter to the Editor!