Tom Sargent Honored At Doernbecher Childrens Hospital

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PORTLAND, Ore. – The Tom Sargent Safety Center officially opened its doors in the lobby of the Doernbecher Childrens Hospital here on Wednesday.

The center – which offers a variety of items related to keeping kids safe, from bike helmets to covers for electrical outlets – is named for the recently retired president and CEO of First Tech CU, headquartered in nearby Beaverton.

Kasey Rockwell, director of credit union development for the CU Association of Oregon and program coordinator for Credit Unions for Kids, said Sargent has been “instrumental” in getting Oregon and southwest Washington credit unions more involved, making Credit Unions for Kids their designated charity. “Early on, Tom really stepped up and made this an important charity for credit unions to participate in, so this is to thank him,” she said.

Doernbecher Childrens Hospital has had a safety center on its Credit Unions for Kids floor for several years now, but wanted to move it to the lobby to increase visibility. Sue Nicol, executive director, of the Doernbecher Children’s Hospital Foundation, said Sargent “has been an inspiration for more than a decade.”

“We are very excited about naming the safety center after him,” she said prior to the grand opening. “He served on the Foundation board of directors in the 1990s, and at that time we became more involved in Credit Unions for Kids. He was instrumental in encouraging his fellow CEOs and other credit union leaders to become more involved with Doernbecher Childrens Hospital and other Children’s Miracle Network hospitals.”

According to Nicol, Sargent has marshaled a group that puts on wine auctions, golf tournaments, motorcycle rides and other fundraisers designed to deliver money to Doernbecher and two other area hospitals that have pediatric beds. “Tom is the wind beneath the wings of the spirit of Credit Unions for Kids,” she declared. “He and his fellow CEOs have so much fun doing this and they have raised $10 million. We are excited about honoring him because he has been very connected with Doernbecher for two decades. What Tom and several others have done is raise the bar in what credit unions can do. His first granddaughter was born at another hospital and then treated at Doernbecher four years ago, which made it very personal.”

After the Center opened, Nicol said Sargent was “thrilled” to be honored. “When they pulled the sheet off the 4-inch letters saying Tom Sargent Safety Center, he was really emotional.”

CUs Raise $225,000

Nicol said she received a telephone call from Carolyn Strong, chairman of the board of First Tech CU, wanting to honor Sargent not only for his charity work, but for what he has done nationally as an advocate of credit unions. The board at First Tech CU, along with Credit Union Miracle Day, Inc., and PSCU Financial Services got together and raised $225,000 to honor him.

“The timing was perfect, because we were ready to put in a new safety center,” said Nicol. “We remodeled the welcome area of the lobby so when people enter the front door there will be folks there ready to help parents. The donation will cover operations of the safety center for four years.”

The Tom Sargent Safety Center will feature items such as knee pads, bike helmets, safety locks for doors and cabinets, safety covers on door knobs, electric outlet covers, gateways for stairs, and “anything related to children being out and about,” Nicol said. “The money pays for the staff person who runs the center and makes sure it is well stocked. We get reduced or donated items so we can offer them to parents for a nominal fee compared to stores.”

Yuri Valdov, chair of Credit Union Miracle Day, Inc., which raises money for Children’s Miracle Network by sponsoring the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Run in Washington, D.C. each spring, said he has worked with Sargent for two decades and was pleased to be able to honor him.

“We have been sponsoring the race for 10 years now. Our main focus has always been to raise money for Children’s Miracle Network and 170 children’s hospital across the country. Doernbecher is one of those hospitals. Our board wanted to make a special effort to honor Tom. For all his efforts for the children, this safety center is being dedicated in his name.”

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