Newberg-Heart of community shines in local clubs and couple

March 08, 2012
By: Amanda Newman, Newberg Graphic reporter
Published online: 6/10/2011 7:10:00 PM

Honored for their service: (Left to right, back row) Ed Nichols of Newberg Kiwanis, Grant Gerke of Newberg Noon Rotary and Rob Molzahn of Newberg Early Bird Rotary represented their respective clubs and joined John and Nancy Nyberg (front) in being recognized at the 11th annual Hearts of Gold luncheon Tuesday.

A 4-H couple and three local service clubs were recognized Tuesday for the contributions to the community and their “hearts of gold.”

For some of the honorees at Providence Newberg Health Foundation’s 11th annual Hearts of Gold luncheon, it was the second time they were recognized by the group. That doesn’t happen often, but with the Newberg Kiwanis, Noon Rotary and Early Bird Rotary clubs getting the honors this year, it was almost a given.

“A good majority of individuals that (have been) honored have been in a service club as well,” said Diana Fisher, executive director of Providence Newberg Health Foundation.

Joining the three service clubs in the spotlight were John and Nancy Nyberg, a Newberg couple who, among other projects, help lead the largest 4-H club in Yamhill County.

Fisher said that the Hearts of Gold nominating committee first looked at honoring one service club, but decided to go with all three. “It seemed like all three are so dedicated to our communities and so active,” she said.

With more than 150 years of combined service to the area, the three clubs have certainly made their mark.

Newberg Kiwanis, which has been active in the Newberg/Dundee area for more than 65 years, supports nearly two dozen programs in local schools and the community.

Newberg Noon Rotary is celebrating 75 years of service in Newberg, Dundee and St. Paul. In 2010, the club’s foundation distributed $122,000 to the 33 youth and family-oriented charities it supports.

Founded in 1998, Newberg Early Bird Rotary is the baby of the bunch, but has been involved in dozens of outreach programs and volunteer activities over its time. The club has built playgrounds and homes and launched a successful Rota-Dent program, among other things.

The Nybergs are only two people, but they hold their own with the civic clubs in terms of service — for more than four decades, they have been active in the Newberg community, the Yamhill County farming world and the county’s 4-H “family.”

The couple have been involved in 4-H practically their whole lives — they competed against each other in showmanship contests in fourth grade — and have watched the activities change from “plows, sows and cows” to include science, technology, photography and more. Their club “Bacon Bits ‘n’ Friends” is the largest 4-H club in the county, currently boasting 70 members and 25 leaders. Earlier this year, they were recognized by the Oregon 4-H Leaders’ Association as Oregon 4-H Leaders of the Year.

“It’s very humbling. We do things for the kids and the community, but not looking to be honored,” John Nyberg said. The son of 4-H leaders, he said he and his wife are inspired by the spirit of service instilled by their parents: “You may not have money, but you have time.”

He estimated they have worked with thousands of kids over the years and said the best part is watching them blossom: “So many kids, we’ve watched them change over time. The benefit for us is just to see how they turn out.”

In addition to their 4-H involvement, he has served as a volunteer for the Newberg Fire Department, Yamhill County Search and Rescue and the Yamhill County Sheriff’s Mounted Posse, while she has served with the Honorary Chapter Farmers Newberg FFA and supported the sheriff’s posse.

Fisher said the Hearts of Gold nominating committee looks for people or groups who “embody the spirit of Newberg and this community,” and the Nybergs and the three service clubs do just that. But they weren’t the only service-oriented people who stood out on Tuesday. At the luncheon event, more than 350 people turned out to show their support and contribute financially.

The Hearts of Gold luncheon is a fundraiser benefiting the Mike Oprovidencelberding Education Fund, which provides continued education opportunities for nurses, technicians and hospital and service-area employees.

This year, the event raised $36,700 in sponsorships and donations, including about $10,000 raised at the luncheon itself. Fisher said the figures came in pretty close to last year’s, “which was incredible, given the economy.”