Tammy Ready, second from right, was presented with a clock for her service at the Keizer First Citizen banquet in January (KEIZERTIMES/ Eric A. Howald).
If you're at event that has anything to do with McNary High School, it's likely that Tammy Ready will also be in attendance.
Whether it's working countless hours at a concession stand during a McNary sporting event with her husband, Dave, speaking at the school's College and Career Center or being present during a new production at Ken Collins Theater, Ready loves being there for kids.
“We just love supporting kids. We loving seeing the people we know and the people's kids we know succeed, fail, learn and grow. There's nothing better than that,” Ready said.
It's because of that mindset, as well as a multitude of other reasons, that Ready was the recipient of the Service to Education Award at the 59th annual Keizer First Citizen & Awards Banquet on Saturday, Jan. 18.
When Ready received the award, she was overcome with emotion.
“There wasn't a whole lot of dry eyes. I had no clue. But that's not why we do what we do. You don't go into things like that thinking, 'ooh I might get recognized.' There are so many people that do so much in our community. There are so many people that are so deserving,” Ready said.
Ready first started getting really involved in the Keizer community five years ago when she was asked to help at an event by Danielle Bethell, the executive director of the Keizer Chamber of Commerce.
“Danielle grabbed hold of me and asked me to come help at an event. It was then I realized how much I loved it. I think it opened my eyes to what the needs were,” Ready said. “She really honed in on saying yes and doing the right thing, even when it wasn't popular and she made that apparent to me. She has an ability to make you want to help.”
Bethell, who was on the selection committee for this award, has been able to witness Ready's commitment to the city of Keizer firsthand over the past few years.
“I was moved the night of the banquet by her reaction, I knew she would be surprised and I expected her to have a sense of humor about her emotion because she really doesn’t seek the limelight. Tammy is a do-er, she shows up when asked, asks to show up when she sees a need and she gets the job done,” Bethell said. “She is someone I admire greatly and I am proud to know she received a small show of gratitude from the community she serves so open-heartedly.”
During the day, Ready works at the Oregon Employment Department as an executive assistant. When she's not at her occupation, it's likely Ready is serving her community in some capacity.
Ready has organized numerous fundraisers for the McNary baseball program — her son, Logan, was on the freshman team last season. She also has recently served at the Simonka Place for Women and Children through the Union Gospel Mission and organized a fundraiser for the Liberty House in Salem.
Additionally, Ready volunteered at the McNary Holiday Bazaar in November and is an active member of the McNary Athletic Booster Club.
Most recently, Ready helped hold a pancake fundraiser at Applebee's on Saturday, Feb. 1 for a local woman who is battling cancer — Ready will helping with another fundraiser for the same woman at The Human Bean on Saturday, Feb. 21.
It's not that Ready has a hard time saying no to someone for asks for her assistance, she just loves to help people.
“I look at it as I get to say yes. I have the ability to say yes. I have people asking me all the time why I do what I do and take time away from family, and my response to them is 'why don't you'?” Ready said.
Ready acknowledged that part of the reason for her servant's heart is that she grew up poor eating “oatmeal and potatoes for breakfast lunch and dinner for weeks on end.”
“Tammy is a passionate servant. Her childhood had some bumps and I believe due to that she gets great joy in working to prevent those same bumps for children today,” Bethell said. “I would say her soul is deeply filled through her efforts of putting others first. She deserves this award because she would never have wanted it. People like Tammy don’t do the many things they do for awards, they do it out of love and because it's who they are.”
Ready also credits having an understanding family and an ability to handle many things at once for her willingness to serve in so many different capacities.
“I have a really good husband. I'm super lucky with that. He just gets me. I'm a pretty good juggler, and if I'm doing something, I try and bring people with me. It's true that many hands make light work,” Ready said. “You have to figure out what is important to you, and this is important to me.”
“I love our Keizer community. I love the businesses and the people in it. Everyone is doing something, and when there is a need, everyone does more,” Ready said.