Tigard American Legion Post 158 has a long and proud annual tradition of honoring a Police Officer of the Year and a Firefighter of the Year, and after an interruption due to Covid, the post held its Americanism dinner on Feb. 21 to honor first-responders again this year.
Also, the American Legion Post 158 Auxiliary sponsors incoming high school seniors each summer, sending them to Boys State and Girls State, and they also were honored at the Americanism dinner. This past summer the week-long programs were combined into one at Oregon State University but still focused on providing hands-on experiences in how Oregon government works.
Following dinner, Post Commander Allyson Kropf kicked off the evening by crediting Patsy Nestor with starting the program that honors Tigard first-responders. Nestor, who served in the Women’s Army Corps from 1951 to 1954, has held numerous positions at the Post, including department commander.
Tigard Police Commander Jamey McDonald, who said he was pleased to be representing Police Chief Kathy McAlpine who was not able to attend, introduced Officer Tyler Sanford as the Police Officer of the Year.
“It is an honor to be invited here,” McDonald said. “We appreciate you honoring a Police Officer of the Year.
“Tyler grew up in this area and was a Police cadet 14 years ago. It’s exciting to see Tyler grow up and become a police officer. Tyler has been with the department for seven years. He is a field training officer and is our lead drone operator.”
Auxiliary President Nancy Scott introduced Phoebe Yang, a Lincoln High School student who attended Girls State, who thanked the auxiliary for sponsoring her.
“My parents are both immigrants from China who fled the Cultural Revolution, and I am so grateful to a lot of people who have made sacrifices for me,” she said. “I dreamed of attending a service academy and found out about Boys and Girls State, which would help me get into West Point (Military Academy). During the program, I learned a lot about government. I barely passed the (mock) bar exam and became a lawyer. In the (mock) legislative session, we proposed and passed bills.
“And I got to meet a lot of people from all over Oregon. The best part was meeting the (American Legion) veterans who ran the program, and I am humbled and reminded how lucky I am. I have found out I am officially attending West Point, so thank you, veterans. Go, Army!”
The American Legion’s Ed Stern introduced Lake Oswego High School senior Sam Bohn, who not only had an outstanding week at Boys State but also was elected to represent Oregon at Boys Nation in Washington, D.C.
“The veterans are a strong example of service,” Bohn said. “I met people from all different backgrounds, but we were united by our love of country. The relationships I built will last a lifetime. I can proudly say I have a friend in every corner of every state. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
Tualatin High School senior Logan Johnson was the other student sent to Boys State. He said he passed the (mock) bar exam with one of the highest scores, which earned him a spot on the (mock) state Supreme Court.
“We had mock trials and mock legislative debates,” added Johnson, who is an Eagle Scout and is hoping to get into either the Air Force or Naval academy. “I learned a lot. I’m glad you sent me. It was a great honor and a great opportunity.”
The Firefighter of the Year did not attend the event.