Tuesday, July 23, 2024

FAST FIVE Evalyn Adams: A life of service, a heart filled with love

Staff Writer | June 30, 2020 1:09 PM

Evalyn Adams: A life of service, a heart filled with love

Meet Evalyn Adams, a retired former Kootenai County Commissioner and community volunteer. She is an Idaho native and has called Coeur d’Alene home for a total of 30 years …. with a few moves due to career or family changes.


We are sometimes called the Greatest Generation or Traditional Generation. I think I certainly have the main characteristics of a Traditionalist… hard-working, will power, loyal, thrifty, respect authority and tech challenged. I don’t even have a smart phone and don’t text, so the tech challenged really fits!

Career and community involvement

I loved my initial career of teaching first grade students at Hayden and Dalton on a two-year provisional NIC certificate from 1959 to1962. The next few years involved quite a few moves with Albertsons (husband’s employer), but I usually got involved in volunteer work wherever we lived, e.g. PTA president, hospital greeter, recycling chairman, etc. When I decided to get my bachelor’s degree, an adviser noticed all my volunteer work and suggested I apply to CSPA (Community Service and Public Affairs). I was accepted into this special school at the University of Oregon. This degree was a perfect background for my next career choices. My marriage was over, so after graduating in December ‘75, I moved back to Coeur d’Alene with my children.

• 1976 – 1984: Executive officer of North Idaho Building Contractors Association (NIBCA). I worked with volunteer committees to initiate annual projects of Home and Garden Show and Parade of Homes. The One Day House built in 1982 by NIBCA was an exciting project to give a boost to the building industry in tough times because of high interest rates. This home built by NIBCA members in six hours, 55 minutes and 23 seconds was shown on national TV by the show “That’s Incredible.” While working for NIBCA I was active in the Coeur d’Alene Chamber Commodores and while serving as chairwoman, I named the Awesome Auction.

• 1984 – 1991: Elected as first lady Commissioner for Kootenai County and served two terms, or six years. Some of the things I took a lead on in addition to balancing the budget included writing the first policy and procedures manual for the county, establishing a weed advisory committee, expanding public access to parks and waterway facilities, coordinating Idaho State Centennial activities in the county and helping to blaze the Centennial Trail.

Other positions in Spokane – after being unelected I moved to Spokane and worked as a program manager in the lifeskills/women’s department at Community Colleges of Spokane. I coordinated programs to help people: Change point for displaced homemakers, solo strategies for widowed men/women, and home and family workshops to provide low-income people lessons in their neighborhoods to help them gain confidence. After three years some of the grants evaporated, so I obtained a new job as volunteer manager at the Spokane Food Bank (now called Second Harvest). In this position I helped recruit/train volunteers, coordinated food drives, helped with fundraising and established a Planned Giving Advisory Board. In 2002, I was thrilled to move back to Coeur d’Alene into my new dream home above Lake Coeur d’Alene.

After retiring, I continued to help people by volunteering for various agencies in Coeur d’Alene. I rejoined the Tubbs Hill Foundation Board, I served as an ombudsman in the Area Aging Agency five years and did friendly visits with seniors in care homes. I’ve been a volunteer at the Hospice Thrift Store for about 17 years and coordinated style shows for three years to raise money for Lake City Center. I helped with the Thanksgiving dinner at Lake City for several years and then got involved in raising money for the free turkey and holiday food distribution at Thanksgiving. This is the fourth year I have coordinated Turkeys and More.

Parental status

I am blessed to have three children – all born in Coeur d’Alene. My oldest daughter Karen lives with me and my son Chris lives in Reno and Eva lives near Mt. Shasta in California. I have four grandsons ranging in age from 23 to 39. I’m sure hoping to get a great-grandbaby girl one of these years!

1.What is going on with Turkeys and More this time?

I am very concerned about Turkeys and More this year. We got a late start because of the governor’s stay home edict and although we have gotten a few nice donations, we have only been able to raise about $6,000 toward a budget of $40,000. The Community Action Partnership (CAP) agency director informed us we would be unable to use the CAP Food Bank to distribute turkeys this year, as it caused a strain on their budget and resources. I was excited to line up Heart Reach, Inc. as a new sponsor. They are the nonprofit arm of Heart Of The City Church and already had a food and clothing bank.

Carolyn Shewfelt, manager of the CAP Food Bank for eight years, attends Heart of the City Church and she has volunteered to help with the turkey purchase and distribution. It is great to have her help and enthusiasm, but we will need to raise more money. Because of the financial hardships many face with the COVID virus situation, we know even more people will benefit from a Thanksgiving dinner in their home and we are planning to serve 1,800 families … almost 7,000 people when you multiply by four family members. We want to help people fight hunger and feed hope, but need others to contribute to make this cherished holiday possible. We are very thankful for those who have sent in checks so far. If you can assist, please mail checks made out to Heart Reach Inc., to Myndi Sizemore c/o Heart of the City Church, 772 W. Kathleen Ave., Coeur d’Alene, 83815. Write “Turkeys and More” on the purpose line of check. Whatever you can afford to give would be greatly appreciated. For more information, call me at 208-765-5535.

2. What inspires you to share your time and talents with the community the way you do?

I feel so blessed if something I can do will help others in some way. In all my various careers, I always felt best when I was helping others. If we can do something to make a positive difference in people’s lives, it will enrich not only them, but the community as a whole. Mother Teresa said, “Not all of us can do great things, but we can do small things with great love.” What a wonderful world it would be if we could all be more giving. Besides, volunteering is good for your health as it will keep you active and alive!

3. Why should people contribute to causes like Turkeys and More and why does that matter?

When people are facing an extreme financial crisis they can become very stressed if they don’t have enough funds to buy the special holiday foods. By offering them a boost by providing the free Thanksgiving dinner, they feel they live in a caring community and it can make a huge difference to them and their families. Other worthwhile helping programs such as the Press Christmas for All, etc., can also touch people’s lives and help them to know they live in a city with a heart!

4. What is something people would be surprised to learn about you?

In February of this year, at the age of 80, I rode a camel for the first time when I toured the pyramids in Egypt.

5. What is a piece of advice you would impart to others in our community who want to make a positive difference in the world?

I believe if we can remember the Golden Rule and treat others as we would like to be treated, it would eliminate a lot of the negative vibes that can be detrimental to people and to our community. Albert Schweitzer said something I believe is true: “The purpose of human life is to serve and to show compassion and the will to help others.”