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Festival at Mount Si parade honors North Bend food bank heroes
Running the Mount Si Helping Hand Food Bank takes an entire community’s worth of support.
That’s why it was only appropriate for the organizers of the Festival at Mount Si to honor not one but two grand marshals to represent the non-profit at this weekend’s festivities.
Food bank Treasurer Gail Gergasko and Manager Heidi Dukich are honored for the hard work that they and fellow volunteers put in to help others.
“They’re the best,” said Art Hobbs, a food bank volunteer for the past four years. “They’re real conscientious, and they bend over backward for anybody who comes in here.”
Festival parade chairwoman Tina Brandon said she wanted to choose “somebody that means something to people, not just someone who’s a celebrity.”
Gergasko is a former director of the food bank, and remains involved on the board. Dukich started volunteering four years ago and became manager last year.
Dukich got involved after discovering how much she enjoyed community service and giving back to locals.
“Having recognition for the food bank is great,” she said. “I’m humbled by the fact that we serve food to over 1,200 hungry neighbors every week.”
As grand marshals, Gergasko and Dukich will be riding in the grand parade, waving to those who appreciate what they do for the community.
“I’m looking forward to the energy and enthusiasm of the day, and the community coming together,” Gergasko said.
Appreciated by many customers, Gergasko and Dukich have dedicated much time and energy to the food bank. Volunteer David Shea said the duo spends a lot of time away from families, without pay, working hard.
Many people know the women, and will be excited to see them at the parade, said Sandy Conway, a food bank worker for 17 years.
Dukich stressed that the food bank’s success depends on many supporters in the Valley at large.
“No one should face the tragedy of being without food in a nation like ours, that is so blessed with abundance,” she said. “It’s a responsibility for all of us to take care of our community and challenge each other to get involved and make a positive difference.”
• The Festival at Mount Si grand parade begins at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 14, on East North Bend Way. Following the festival, live music and family activities continue Saturday and Sunday at Si View Community Center and Park.