Submitted by Chehalis Foundation

The Chehalis Foundation is proud to announce that Jessica Homyack, Director of Environmental Research and Operational support, was named volunteer of the year by Weyerhaeuser. Jessica and her husband Tom Gorman took the leadership role as co-chairs creating and implementing a strategic plan to replace the dearly loved wooden playground structure at Penny Playground.

“Volunteers do not necessarily have the time; they have the heart. Jessica’s leadership, organizational skills and love for this community were evident in her devotion to this project” said Mike and Sue Austin, who led the fundraising effort with the school district.

Jessica formulated a plan of action that included recruiting a steering committee, assisting with playground design and providing public outreach presentations to gain community support and funding. She presented to Chehalis City Council, the Chehalis Foundation, Chehalis and Centralia Rotary, Twin Cities Rotary and more. The result is a 1.3 million dollar state of the art, inclusive and accessible playground.

Lilly Wall, City of Chehalis Recreation Manager nominated Jessica for this prestigious award. The playground is unique in its size and inclusive design. It includes an all-weather play surface and walking paths with great visibility of children at play on ziplines, swings, sensory panels, spinning and climbing equipment, a variety of slides, LED pedestrian paths, fencing for safety and a shade shelter. Lilly said, “Jessica is an outstanding person who works hard for what she believes in.”

Weyerhaeuser was a major contributor to the project and awarded $12,000 to sponsor the Zip-Krooz assisted playground feature with three zip lines including a molded bucket seat and harness to provide stability for children with limited upper body strength. She was also the recipient of an employee Waves grant for 2018 and 2019 totaling $2500. Due to her outstanding volunteerism, the Chehalis Foundation was awarded an additional $5000 to the project for future enhancements and maintenance.

Jessica stated “I chose to be involved in this project because I want to be a good role model for my children and show them what it means to give back to their community. It was an amazing opportunity to grow roots in our chosen hometown and help provide a fun and exciting place for all families.”

Individuals or organizations interested in making a gift to the Chehalis Fund can contact Jenny Collins, Executive Director by emailing

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