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Volunteer Spotlight: Catherine Sutton and Thomas Kolb

Posted by | Raeann Boero

Catherine Sutton (Cathy) has been volunteering with Catholic Charities of Oregon as our “Development Support Superstar” since June of this year and was joined shortly after by her husband, of fifty years, Thomas Kolb (Tom).

Cathy’s background is in college administration and teaching while Tom spent his career in heating and air conditioning in both the engineering and management side of the business, working for major manufacturers such as Carrier and Trane. After forty years of fulfillment in their chosen careers, Cathy and Tom retired in 2013. In 2020 they moved from Louisville, Kentucky to Portland, Oregon to be closer to their son and his family, including two grandsons ages 10 and 12.

“We arrived in time to spend the last academic year as coaches for our grandsons who were enduring online school. Four days a week we oversaw their online instruction…no one would wish to do it again, although they maintained a good attitude throughout.”-Cathy

When asked how they heard about Catholic Charities of Oregon, Tom shared that he was familiar with the work of Catholic Charities from volunteering back in Louisville with their local Catholic Charities’ ESL program. Intrigued with Catholic Charities of Oregon’s work with Refugee Resettlement, Tom also has experience volunteering with Kentucky Refugee Ministries in assisting one refugee family’s integration into the community and the rebuilding of their life in the United States.

“We feel fortunate to have the opportunity to work with Catholic Charities of Oregon. The Development office is a most professional operation; the degree of donor recognition focused on each individual person who contributes still amazes me.  The staff could not be more organized or sensitive to the priorities of each donor.” -Cathy

Since volunteering with the Development and Communications team, Cathy and Tom have also had the opportunity to assist Omi Strait, our Refugee Services volunteer coordinator. Omi processes the many individuals who have registered online to assist the influx of refugees who will be resettling in Portland through Catholic Charities of Oregon. 

“We assist in communicating with those who wish to volunteer, making sure that each person meets the professional requirements that Catholic Charities sets for various volunteer positions.

This work has been rewarding as we communicate with individuals who are as motivated as we are to share the benefits of their lives with others. Our faith motivates us and draws us on, acknowledging that we can do more to assist those who need our help.  Catholic Charities of Oregon represents everything that we want to espouse in our own lives.”-Tom

Thank you, Cathy, and Tom, for sharing not only your time and talents but also your passion and commitment for this work. We are so grateful to have wonderful volunteers like you supporting our mission of assuring that essential, life-saving services and supports are accessible to the most vulnerable Oregonians.