Friday, April 16, 2010

Reporter's Notebook

Paul Leonard can be reached at

A generation, for better and for worse

They are a rapidly disappearing group of men and women, all of a certain age, survivors of world war, a Great Depression and numerous U.S. engagements and economic downturns.

They witnessed. Many of them, in some small way, participated. And a good number, like businessman and philanthropist Ray Hickey, who passed away Wednesday, moved well beyond the years of boom-and-bust, peace and war, leaving their corner of the world a slightly-better place.

When academicians, politicians and citizens call men like Hickey part of the “Greatest Generation,” one could say the judgment of history on subsequent generations is a foregone conclusion.

Faced with our own Great Recession, our own time of economic and political turbulence, what will be our mark on history? Are men like Hickey, fellow philanthropist and recently-departed Tony Bacon and dare I say, former Vancouver Mayor Royce Pollard (who is very, very much alive), part of some last vanguard of American greatness?

It should be said that many of Hickey’s good works were ones performed later in life. But not having known Hickey, it nonetheless seems this sense of giving back to the community for riches given was an intrinsic part of his life story from the beginning.

Don’t get me wrong: there are plenty of people younger than myself who give back to their communities, whether it’s helping restore the Salmon Creek watershed or helping those less fortunate at any number of Clark County nonprofits.

But I say, let’s goad on this pioneering generation of volunteers by letting them know that their generation can also be “great” – or perhaps even the “greatest,” since time will be the ultimate judge. We should also warn that greatness doesn’t come easy, that it takes courage of conviction, intelligence and above all, lots of hard work.

2010 BGA finalists, delivered

On Wednesday, VBJ Business Manager Steve McDonagh wrote about the surprising number of BGA entries demonstrating solid growth during a tough 2009, causing more than a few Just Business readers to wonder, “Who made the cut?”

So without further ado, here’s the list of finalists (remember to scroll down the page first) for VBJ’s 6th Annual Business Growth Awards.

And for those looking to register for the event, which will be held Thursday, April 29 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Hilton Vancouver Washington, the reservation webpage can be found here.