by Rhett Lawrence
How do I even begin to list the ways we’re going miss departing Board member Betty Patton? Ever since I joined the RA Board 14 years ago, Betty has been a steadfast and inspiring presence. It is not a stretch to call her the heart of Recycling Advocates, and how do you survive without your heart?
When I joined the Board of Directors in 2004, Betty was just returning for her second term of service on the Board. She’d previously been involved in some of the early efforts of the organization before stepping away for a number of years to focus on her career. But the lure of Recycling Advocates’ important work proved too strong and she dove back in with gusto!
Betty did some amazing work in her time on the Board, including multiple stints as the President. I was proud to have been on the Board with her when the Legislature passed the major expansion of the Bottle Bill in 2007. Betty had a major hand in our work on that campaign, as well as on our efforts to pass the plastic bag ban in Portland in 2011. She also served on more advisory councils and taskforces than I can count, putting her encyclopedic knowledge of solid waste and recycling issues to good use.
And no offense to my fellow Board members, but no one could host a Board meeting or volunteer get-together like Betty Patton! Betty and her husband Richard Lee-Berman (whose many years of service to Recycling Advocates are also appreciated!) opened up their home so many times and were always gracious and welcoming to everyone.
While Betty would no doubt be entitled to rest on her laurels and use more of her free time to go off on another of those marvelous vacations she and Richard always take, that’s not her style. She’s actually stepping away from Recycling Advocates to devote more of her time to another of the issues that mean so much to her. Betty will be focusing on the local and statewide efforts of the Humane Society of the United States to increase animal protection and conservation in Oregon. And as someone who is proud to work with HSUS on occasion in my day job, I am excited to continue to cross paths with her in that important work.
But alas, we can’t help but be sad as we send Betty off to her next crusade. Her contributions to Recycling Advocates and to Oregon are so appreciated and we can’t thank her enough for all she’s done. We’ll soldier on without you, Betty, but with a little bit of our heart missing. Take care, my friend!