Donna Bleth was at the grocery store when she got the phone call notifying her that she had been named a 2010 Woman of Achievement. The setting was perfect since Donna was preparing to buy groceries for the homeless – just one of the many volunteer activities cited by her nominators.
One wrote, “Donna is a vibrant, golden thread that weaves her magic throughout our community, making a beautiful quilt of many smiling faces and grateful hearts.” Another noted, “Donna believes that, by working together, communities grow stronger and, by opening our hearts to others, we grow stronger.”
Born in Arkansas, Donna and her twin brother were the youngest of seven siblings. When their father died, Donna and her siblings realized that their mother had Alzheimer’s disease. Donna took responsibility and moved her mother to Vancouver, supervising her care for 10 years.
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Today, Donna is a wife, mother, and grandmother whose free time is spent with grandsons Bryce and Reed. She is also a passionate community volunteer.
Professionally, as a nail technician at Sole Purpose in Vancouver, Donna cares “for our physical and mental well-being when she manicures our hands and pedicures our feet, soothing our soles,” said one nominator. “She also massages our hearts and souls with her good ideas and actions for our community.”
Donna says she saw an opportunity for her industry “to be an advocate in the first step of restoring self-esteem for the women in Safe Choice [shelter].” Donna and her colleagues held a “Day of Beauty” to give the women complete makeovers. “It had such a positive impact – not just on their appearance – but on their attitude and self-worth,” she said.
Donna believes that everyone has something to give. “It doesn’t have to be money,” she says. “It can be anything. When you get to see that smile on the faces of people whose lives you have changed, you search for the opportunity to do it again.”
Donna also understands that there are individuals who want to make a difference but aren’t sure how to begin. “Of course, it takes a broad community to accomplish big changes for those things that really need to be changed,” she says. “But it only takes one person to get them started.”
The list of community organizations that Donna has supported is impressive: Pink Power (in support of the Kearney Breast Center at Southwest Washington Medical Center), Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, Southwest Washington Humane Society, Open House Ministries, the Share House, Free Clinic of Southwest Washington, the Hough Foundation, Friends of the Clinic, Fort Vancouver Regional Library Foundation, the Curt Warner Autism Foundation, and the Clark County Rotary.
Donna received the Greater Clark County “Rotarian of the Year” award for 2006-2007. She takes special pride in the Rotary’s adoption of the Highland Terrace Nursing home in Camas. “It has brought so much happiness to the residents there as well as the members of our rotary,” she says.
Donna says her motivation comes from seeing the volunteer efforts of others and the impact of their service. “We all have the power within our hearts to make a difference,” she says. “I see it every day and am truly proud to live in Clark County and be a part of that.”
One of her nominators wrote that children and adults of all ages and abilities “have been woven into Donna’s world.” Another noted, “Donna has a fierce amount of energy that just won’t quit. She never gives up on helping the people in this community.”