Cheryl Ramberg-Ford admitted she was almost late for the Thursday evening event. Don Bailey said he wondered why he’d been invited, because he’s usually left at home to look after the sheep.
Both longtime Roseburg area residents turned out to be thankful they attended the Roseburg Area Chamber of Commerce’s 59th annual First Citizens Banquet.
They both admitted shock and surprise when their names were announced as the 2012 Female First Citizen and Male First Citizen.
“I had no idea,” said Ramberg-Ford, a 1962 Roseburg High School graduate. “I’m always late, so I’m glad I made it.
“It means people appreciate me and that makes me feel good,” she said of receiving the honor that recognizes community service. “It feels good to know the community is behind you.”
Bailey, 86, was quick to point out that he is the first veterinarian to be a Roseburg First Citizen, and he was happy to represent the profession.
“I can’t believe this happened,” he said to the crowd of about 600 gathered in Douglas Hall at the Douglas County Fairgrounds.
“I could tell animal stories until dawn,” added the laughing Bailey, who is commonly called “Doctor Don” or “Doc.”
Ramberg-Ford, who will turn 68 in two weeks and is married to Roseburg Forest Products CEO Allyn Ford, has been a board member or volunteer with numerous groups, including the chamber, Rotary, Optimists, United Way, Wildlife Safari, Mercy Medical Center, Relay for Life, Umpqua Valley Arts Association and the University of Oregon Foundation. She’s a 1966 graduate of UO.
In introducing Ramberg-Ford, last year’s female winner, Evelyn Badger-Nores, said, “She is known as a person with a big heart who never passes up the opportunity to help someone. This woman is described by others as one who gives selflessly of her time, energy and resources.”
Ramberg-Ford credited her parents, Emil and Janet Ramberg, with showing her how important it is to give back to your community.
“My mom and dad were both very passionate about giving and donating their time,” she said. “They taught me to do the right thing and that you’ll know it’s right. It’s important to help those who are less fortunate.”
Ramberg-Ford was once a cheerleader at Roseburg High, and friend Toby Notenboom described her as “still the cheerleader for Roseburg ... always working for a better community.”
Bailey has been a Roseburg resident since moving to the area in 1950 after graduating from the Colorado State University College of Veterinary Medicine. He and his wife, Betty, started Bailey Veterinary Clinic at its present location on Garden Valley Boulevard in Roseburg. The doctor visited most of the farms and ranches in Douglas County, caring for livestock during his 41 years of practice.
He estimated he traveled 87,000 miles in one year to care for livestock in the hundred valleys of the Umpqua. He was the first veterinarian to treat animals at Wildlife Safari in Winston. He was president of the Oregon Veterinary Medical Association in 1975 and was president of the Oregon Sheep Growers Association in 1982. He helped establish the School of Veterinary Medicine at Oregon State University.
His community service included Roseburg’s planning commission, the Kiwanis Club, the Douglas County Livestock Association and the local chapter of the Oregon Farm Bureau. He helped establish the Douglas County Animal Shelter. He also contributed to youth programs such as FFA and 4-H. He and Betty hosted hundreds of students from Hucrest Elementary and Cobb Street schools on their ranch during lambing season, providing a hands-on educational experience for kids.
“It’s an obligation you owe to your community,” he said of volunteering. “It’s very important.”
Ray Sims of Roseburg, a friend of Bailey’s since 1955, said the doctor through the years has “graciously been a friend to man.”
“He takes time to show compassion to all those he meets, generously giving them personal service and counsel,” Sims said.
Ramberg-Ford and Bailey posed for photos toward the end of Thursday’s banquet. They said they appreciated the recognition and hoped such events would inspire people to continue to volunteer their time to community service.
“It’s a great place to live,” Ramberg-Ford said. “There are beautiful, beautiful people here who are very giving.”
• News-Review reporter Craig Reed can be reached by calling 541-957-4210 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.