Bob and Pam Zielinski

Bob and Pam Zielinski are farmers. They place things in the ground, feed them, water them, otherwise nurture them, and watch them grow. Like most Americans who rely on the land for their livelihood, they also bring values of hard work and community involvement to their daily lives. They are people who get things done. The Zielinskis have brought all these same values to McNary High School and the city of Keizer over decades of community involvement. While others have done the planting, over the years “Bob and Pam Z” have certainly helped nurture a wide swath of folks – especially young people - in the Salem-Keizer area. They jump in when there's a need. Like the plants they sow, many, many of these young people have grown to their full potential and are now living lives better for having the Zielinskis touch theirs. This explains why Bob and Pam Zielinski were nominated as “Beacons of excellence and leadership though athletics” by the athletic department and administration at McNary High School.

After meeting in the strawberry fields as teenagers, attending Serra Catholic High School and Merritt Davis Business College together, and marrying in 1965, this hard working duo has become quite the can-do couple. Bob and Pam have been married for 54 years and own and operate a large family farm in Gervais, north of Keizer. They started their business in 1970 and together have raised 5 children, four daughters - Tori, Tanya, Tina, Twynann - and one son Brian. Their business keeps them busy year round whether it be in planting, growing, and harvesting their diverse crops or producing and selling wine. Despite their busy schedule, they are thrilled to continue traveling to local sporting events to support their 17 grandchildren (not to mention their great grandchild).

The Zielinski's years of experience and generosity put toward civic projects has always been a team effort. They have built a legacy of giving back to the communities that surround them. Bob and Pam have never turned down an opportunity to put their years of experience and hard working attitude into projects that benefit local youth. They believe in the old saying “where there's a will, there's a way”, even when that “will” sometimes occurred when they were knee deep in harvest. The Zielinskis never stipulated they would only give back when it was convenient.

Bob could always be found working the chain gang at the Celtic home football games and Pam wasn’t far away, grilling hamburgers rain or shine to raise money for the McNary Athletic Booster Club. This, long after their children had graduated from McNary. Both helped with McNary's football breakfasts, serving dozens of eggs and pancakes to the team when they were in the playoffs. When McNary needed to install its artificial turf field – which not only was a boon to the high school but the community itself – the Zielinskis were there as donors and helpers. They also stepped up, helping the kids and community of northeast Salem, when McKay High School installed their turf field. And the “big kids” were not the only ones benefitting from Bob and Pam's generosity. They also donated time and equipment to help build and renovate both Keizer Little League Fields and Keizer Soccer Fields.

Bob and Pam have been Rotary International members for 44 years, serving since 1975, with Bob serving as President twice. Bob and Pam are both Rotary “Paul Harris Fellows” - a designation for Rotarians who contribute $1000 or more each year to The Rotary Foundation of Rotary International. Bob served as the President of the Keizer Chamber of Commerce and have continued to be active supporters of Keizer Fest. He was honored as Keizer's “First Citizen” in 2011.

Bob has also served on the St. Edward Catholic Church Building Committee as well a a number of advisory committees benefitting his community including the Marion County Soil & Water Conservation Executive Board, the Marion County Planning Commission, the Claggett Creek Watershed Council, and the Marion County Fair Foundation.

In addition to supporting Bob in all of his endeavors and her volunteerism at McNary, Pam has volunteered her time for local youth through years of time spent serving on the boards of Distinguished Young Women (formerly known as Oregon Junior Miss), the Oregon Ag Fest, and the Marion County Fair.

And no one should forget the countless McNary, Keizer, and Marion County youth they have employed on the family farm throughout the years, giving young people the chance to learn and observe the same values of hard work and accomplishment that have led to their standing in our Salem-Keizer community.

Bob and Pam Zielinski have applied the same values that have made them highly successful farmers in the Mid-Willamette Valley to the kids and communities that surround them. As those kids and communities grow and flourish Bob and Pam can rest easy that they have left their mark. It's doubtful, however, that “resting easy” is anywhere in the near future. It's just not what farmers do!