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2016 Walk of Faith Honoree: Chris Ping

Philanthropy Family care givers have a challenging job that runs 24/7. Respite care—allowing the care giver an opportunity to step away from their ongoing duties for some personal time—is so important in helping people with chronic health challenges remain independent and in their own home for as long as possible. That’s why each year Faith in Action honors an individual or family that has experienced the challenges and rewards of care giving. 

This year at the annual Walk of Faith, Chris Ping was honored for her many years of service as both a Faith in Action volunteer as well as nurse with Wellspring respite day center. On September 18, Chris graciously received the recognition and then waved cheerfully from the lead car as walkers and their dogs covered the 1.3 mile loop to raise awareness and funds for respite care. View photos from this year's event.

Carolyn Betlinski, Wellspring nurse shared, “What a gift Chris has been to Wellspring all these years! Her caring and compassion for each of our guests was beyond comparison. We miss her so very much now that she has had to pull back from active volunteering for Faith in Action.” 

Nursing and caring for others has been a calling for Chris her whole life. She moved to Tillamook and began working at Tillamook Hospital in 1976 as a licensed practical nurse. Over the years, she worked in every nursing department except for Surgery. While working the night shift, she also opened the first gift shop at the hospital and launched the volunteer program. Later, seeing a need for teen volunteers—then called “candy stripers”—she recruited students from local high schools for the program. 

An active member of Redeemer Lutheran Church and its ministries, when Faith in Action started up in 1998, Chris saw another opportunity to serve her community. She was a member of the Faith in Action Advisory Committee and has been a key supporter through Thrivent for the Walk of Faith fundraiser. 

When Wellspring respite day center received grant funding to start at its first location in the Tillamook United Methodist Church in November 2001, Chris was right there as the program’s first licensed nurse. She provided care for Wellspring guests until she retired from nursing in October 2004. Chris then continued with Wellspring as a Faith in Action volunteer, caring for others by preparing delicious meals and snacks for the guests and volunteers, while keeping a close eye on the food budget. 

When you talk to Chris about her life of service, she smiles and says, “Volunteering is my way of life!” 

Linda Heyne, Tillamook Regional Medical Center director of volunteer services, said: “Chris is an inspiration to us all; she never lets any challenges stop her from reaching out to help others.” 

Faith in Action volunteers offer hope, support, and friendship to people of all ages who battle chronic illness, mental illness, and disabilities through in-home respite care, friendly visiting, house work, yard work, and minor home repairs. Faith in Action also operates Wellspring, an adult respite day care center that offers an affordable “day away” for caregivers 4 days per month. For information about Faith in Action, call (503)-815-2272.