First one alert. Then a second. Soon Angie Harris’s phone was inundated with messages congratulating her, but in that moment, she didn’t know what all the fuss was about.
“The first message was from (Communications Director) Felicia Heaton with a picture saying ‘Look who I just saw on TV!’” Angie Harris said. “I didn’t get a heads- up on when I would be recognized.”
Harris, who works as a Senior Administrative Specialist with Maintenance & Construction, was honored during a Portland Trail Blazers broadcast as the “Hometown Hero” of the game for her extensive volunteer work in the community. Harris’s most prominent work in the community is tied to the “Good in the Hood Music and Food Festival.” She’s president of the annual event that brings thousands of Black Portlanders together. The importance of giving back was instilled in Harris at a young age.
“There was this woman at church, Ms. Bedford, and she would always say you need to give back, good things will come back to you when you give back,” Harris said. “I tried to do the same thing with my kids. They’re grown now, but they still volunteer like crazy. They naturally have that volunteerism in their body because of my influence.”
When the good comes back
Harris has worked extensively for two decades with the Leisure Hour Junior Golf Program, which aims to eliminate barriers and increase access to golfing for young Portlanders. While it originally started with just twelve members, it’s now serves ten times as many kids.
“I work there to make sure the kids are staying productive and to help organize any travel or fundraisers,” Harris said. “It started to get so we could get more Black kids involved in golf, to help have their playing fees paid for, but we got so good at fundraising we were able to increase access for everyone.”
Harris has worked to equip the kids with golf clubs. She then sets up training sessions and finds tournaments for kids to play in. Besides teaching the kids a new skill and getting them out on the course, a handful of the program participants have earned college scholarships, including Sadena Parks, who went on to golf at the University of Washington and became the fifth Black woman on the Ladies Professional Golf Association tour.
“And when there was a tournament in Oregon, guess what she did?” Harris asked with excitement in her voice. “She gave us a call, asked where our program was for the week and she stopped by to see us. To see someone go off and do big things and come back, that meant a lot.”