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‘Awesome’ grant winner will share serious message


Thanks to the group “Awesome Bend,” five local organizations got the opportunity to pitch their ideas to a panel of trustees Tuesday evening at an event called “Pitch Night.”

At stake: a $1,000 grant to help jump-start their awesome idea on how to make bend a better place.

“Awesome is in the mind of the beholder, so every person has their own definition of awesome,” said Pam Stevenson, the so-called “dean of awesomeness.”

“It will be up to the trustees to vote and decide which of the proposals they want to fund tonight,” she said before the presentations.

The $1,000 prize went to “We Are Remembering-Not Just A Number,” an organization started by Tracy Miller, who has been publicly reading the names of lost service men and women lost in Afghanistan or Iraq at an event on every Memorial Day since 2008.

“It resonates with so many people,” Miller said. “We’ve had so many volunteer readers that haven’t directly lost someone in either the war in Iraq or Afghanistan.”

They were able to win the grant because of 10 trustees who donated $100 each from their own pockets.

“I couldn’t think of a more awesome place,” Kerie Raymond said of Bend. “I think of it as paradise, and so what better thing to contribute than something that would make it even more awesome?”

The money will allow miller to expand their Memorial Day reading to a larger audience, online.

“We’re really excited because any place in the country, anyone who has Internet is going to be able to see this in its entirety, which is pretty amazing for us,” Miller said.

“It means a lot, because we’ve had a lot of volunteers who work really hard,” she added. “It touches them. I think it surprises all of us how it touches us.”

And now, this Memorial Day reading will touch people from around the world.

Miller said they’re working on getting a Web address for this year’s reading. But if you’d like to be there in person, it’s going to be at Troy Field in downtown Bend starting at 8 a.m. on Memorial Day.

And if you have a great idea, visit for more information on how you can be involved in the next “Pitch Night.”

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