Strength of Seaside community is source of pride.

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Permission to print granted by Jon Rahl.

Published March 4, 2016 Seaside Signal seasidenalsignal.com

Side Rail by Jon Rahl

Shortly after I arrived in Seaside during the summer of 2010, it became evident that this was a tightly woven community. Business leaders, shop keepers and residents alike all welcomed me and my family to the area with open arms. People were happy to converse, discuss life and especially tourism in the Seaside I was just starting to learn so much about. But there was something about Seaside that stood out six years ago that still stands out today; the strength of community and a generous, giving attitude present in nearly everyone I come into contact with.

It stood to reason that the tragic event that took the life of Seaside Police Sergeant Jason Goodding on the evening of Feb. 5 might test the resolve of this community. At times over the ensuing week, I’m sure we all felt tested. How could this happen? Why would this happen? This shouldn’t happen. Yet, the underlying tone throughout Seaside in the days and now weeks that have followed is unwavering support of the Goodding family, Seaside Police Department and each other.

What I learned the week leading up to Sgt. Goodding’s memorial service is that this “small” town has a heart of gold and the ability to rally in a way that is almost indescribable. From pitching in and wanting to help, to raising all kinds of money to assist Jason’s family, to simply being there to love a fellow neighbor and give a hug, I cannot say enough positive things about the week that grew out of a horrific moment in time.

It’s very sad that it takes tragedy to bring us together in ways like this. It’s easy to take little moments for granted. It’s easy to turn to our devices. It’s easy to not engage with our family, friends and community members. But it feels much better to avoid doing those things. So I encourage us to start engaging more. Don’t be afraid to give a hug, say I love you, or simply say hi to a stranger. I’m pretty sure – especially after listening to the way friends and coworkers described Jason – that Sgt. Goodding would have done just that.

I don’t work directly in law enforcement, but I’m proud to be a Seaside city employee that at times gets to work alongside these fine men and women as the public information officer for the city, police and fire department. And serving alongside law enforcement members from across the state to help plan and get word out about Sgt. Goodding’s memorial the week of Feb. 5-12 was a true privilege — an honor I’ll never forget.

The Oregon Fallen Badge Foundation — the organization that rallied to bring many of these law enforcement officials to Seaside — is an organization I’d never heard of prior to February 5, but what I’ve learned since then is that they are a group we can all be thankful for. They work with the families of fallen officers, police agencies and cities in Oregon to help ensure that these incredibly difficult moments are handled in a most exceptional way. I hope we can all agree, these wonderful men and women did just that. I took a month off of writing about tourism because I felt this message was important to convey. Seaside will continue to heal from this tragedy and we’ll do it in a way that shows the strength and pride of our incredible little town.

Have a thought or a question about tourism in Seaside, or maybe an idea for a future column? Drop me an email at jrahl@cityofSeaside.us. Jon Rahl is the director of tourism for the Seaside Visitors Bureau and assistant general manager of the Seaside Civic & Convention Center.­­­

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