Leadership Hermiston got a boost in funds after Two Rivers Correctional Institution inmates chose to fundraise for the program that tours TRCI each year.
The Greater Hermiston Area Chamber of Commerce was presented with a $4,321 check Thursday. The chamber offers Leadership Hermiston to a class of about 20 people who live or work in Hermiston each year, to learn about the city and get involved in a group service project of the class’s choosing.
Public Safety Day includes a tour of the “city within a city” that is the prison.
“It’s a great opportunity for folks in our region to see what you do out here,” chamber director Debbie Pedro told superintendent Troy Bowser. “It’s one of the best things we do.”
Brad Wayland, who was in the Leadership Hermiston cohort that graduated in June and now serves on the steering committee, said the prison tour was one of his favorite events the group did that year.
TRCI allows inmates to create fundraisers internally to help local groups. And after the Leadership Hermiston tour, some of them decided they wanted to help the program.
Matt Vester, food service manager for TRCI, said many of the forms giving permission for money to be drawn from their accounts included a thank-you note for allowing them the opportunity to contribute to a good cause.
“At the core of our mission is rehabilitation, and a lot of them want to do that,” he said. “A lot of them want to give back.”
Pedro said the steering committee would meet soon to discuss how the funds would be used to improve the program.
The chamber is now taking applications for the next Leadership Hermiston cycle, which begins Sept. 11 and ends in June 2019. Classes — which include themes such as Media Day, Agriculture Day and Education Day — are the second Tuesday of each month and include tours and presentations on the topic from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. April’s class will include an overnight trip to Salem to learn about state government.
To apply for a spot, download the application at hermistonchamber.com, email email@example.com or call 541-567-6151. Tuition is $700 for chamber members and $850 for non-Chamber members, due upon notification of selection.