Nick Vandehey, 2014 Child Advocacy Hall of Fame Inductee

Nick Vandehey

The Child Advocacy Hall of Fame publicly announces  Western Washington County Oregon resident, Nicholas "Nick" Charles Vandehey has been inducted into the Child Advocacy Hall of Fame in 2014.

 "Nick" as he was known to many touched the lives of literally hundreds of thousands of children and helped sculpt, mature and guide children into lives as thriving adults. Nick worked countless hours volunteering to help his church, the community and time being an excellent father to his children and their goals and future. He was a faithful and loving Husband to his wife Joan whom he met at the Oregon State Fair back in 1973. The year he met Joan, some very talented tractor drivers showed-up from around the state, especially from the Willamette Valley vicinity to try their hand at the statewide tractor driving competition. According to the presiding Judges, not a one of those gifted young men could match Nick in the "mastery-of-the-machine" Nick demonstrated that year ending up the winner of not only the tractor driving contest, but the hand and heart of his future wife Joan.

 Nick Vandehey was a resident of the Banks and Forest Grove area of Western Washington County Oregon. As a youngster, Nick participated in 4-H and Future Farmers of America (FFA) graduating from Banks High School in 1974. After graduation, Nick went to Oregon State University and studied crop sciences. By his early twenties, Nick started his own farm in Banks, eventually expanding to several acres of strawberries.

   From the onset, Nick Vandehey gave an overwhelming amount of volunteer time and support to the children in his Washington County communities. A lot of Nicks service and participation consisted of "behind the scenes" efforts that hugely contributed to making life better for children. Nick served as Assistant Scout Master with troop 581 and gave hundreds and hundreds of hours to the Forest Grove FFA. Nick artfully placed the Christmas decorations in the Banks community for decades and wired the football fields and welded the soccer goals. Nick Vandehey was a hands-on guy who liked to build and get things done. This attitude gained him a reputation in Banks and Forest Grove as someone you wanted on your project. 

 While in his late twenties in the early 1980's, Nick became a  "heavy-hitter" strawberry producer of Western Washington County with a seasonal employment force of hundreds of teenagers and about a dozen adult supervisors. His organization caught the attention and respect of the community and established older local farmers. Many hundreds of kids first experience with money and employment was with Nick Vandehey. Nick had a program where he withheld a small percentage of every kids earnings and then sent it in the mail during Mid-December to the joy of each kid. Nick was very well loved by his young employees, staff and family.

  Nick Vandehey was a legendary Master Electrical Journeymen with the IBEW local 48 who won first place at a Fairbanks Alaska National Journeyman Electrical Workers Championship. Nick became a respected knowledgable teacher of new apprentices at the Union for many years. Nick used his skills as an electrician to help the children in his community develop athletically and intellectually.  The Sunset Park Baseball Barn exists because Nick built it along with co-founding the Banks Youth Soccer Association and being a long time board member of the Banks Baseball Association. Nick Vandehey was a fixture at local scout camps where he volunteered for decades. His level of participation rose to achieve Vigil status in the Boy Scouts Order of the Arrow. Nick wired virtually every building at Boy Scout Camp Meriwether at the Oregon Coast.

 Nick Vandehey always had a smile and a joke, he was a true gentleman who did not cuss and lead by example for his children and those around him. Nick was both the City of Forest Grove Hometown Hero and the City of Banks Volunteer of the Year yet shunned recognition and never sought reimbursement for his hours of giving to the community. Wealth, status and power were not the goals of Nick Vandehey. Nicks name was submitted to the Hall of Fame twice, and one individual who nominated Nick happened to see him at the end of the Banks Barbecue in 2013. It had been years since he last saw Nick and engaged him in a conversation regarding his days raising Strawberries. Time was good to Nick and he looked as he did back in his earlier days, signature smile ever present. Nick explained his transition to the electrical trade from farming and was friendly and cordial.

 Nick,.... you gave of yourself on a monumental level to the children in your community and were a fantastic role model to your children and thousands of others. Thank you dear Brother !  You taught many life lessons enriching the safety, health and wellbeing of hundreds of thousands of children for little recognition and no reimbursement for your time and that is why you are the Child Advocacy Hall of Fame Inductee for 2014.

Congratulations on a job well done !