ONTARIO — “Anything nice you could say about a person, you could say about Jaime,” said Toni Davila in a recent interview about her friend, who is also the recipient of the Ontario Area Chamber of Commerce’s 2021 Woman of the Year award. The award is part of the chamber’s Distinguished Citizens program.

According to Davila, Jaime Taylor-Blumer is a person who gets things done when she finds out there is a need.

“She sees a need, she fills it — instead of hoping someone else does,” said Davila, who is the recreation programmer for the Ontario Recreation District. “Everybody else says, ‘Oh, that’s too bad — somebody should do something about it.’ Jaime will see something that needs changed and say, ‘Oh, that’s too bad. We should do something about it.’”

In addition to the myriad ways she has given back to the community, Taylor-Blumer recently helped the Recreation District with coaching a volleyball clinic for little kids after seeing a post about help being needed on social media.

Taylor-Blumer was nominated for the chamber’s Distinguished Citizen program by Andrew Maeda, director of the Recreation District. In his nomination, he described her as an “outstanding community member who devotes her days to improving our community in any way possible.

After learning of nominations being sought by the chamber, Maeda and Davila talked together about nominating Taylor-Blumer for the prestigious award.

“In the last couple of years, she has diven full-fledged deep into Ontario. She has put her hand into a lot of pots and is trying to make Ontario better,” Davila said of why they chose Taylor-Blumer for the recognition.

“I don’t know where she finds the time or energy, with being a mom and wife, having a job — and she’s going to school, too,” she said.

Having known Taylor-Blumer since they attended Ontario High School together, Davila said “she was a go-getter then.”

“I can honestly say, she’s always been this person,” she said.

The reason for this could be that Taylor-Blumer got involved with serving her community in grade school.

In an interview on Monday, she said her interest was peaked when she attended Alameda Elementary and she got to help sell tickets for the annual spaghetti feed.

“I remember going and selling tickets — there were cool prizes,” she said. “But I also had an understanding that the money went to help kids and athletic equipment, and that sparked an interest.”

A love of service also came from her parents, who were both teachers in schools.

And in school, Taylor-Blumer was drawn to leadership. She ran for class treasurer in grade school, running on a campaign slogan of “TNT Taylor for Treasurer — a dynamite combination.” This momentum to lead continued into middle and high school where she served as a member of the Associated Student Body, serving as the treasurer for her senior class and doing secretarial work, too. She also joined the Leos, a young adult version of the Lions Club.

Nowadays, rather than sticking with one group, Taylor-Blumer spreads her talents around to various organizations in need, helping out as she is able. These include the Kiwanis Club of Ontario, the Lions Club and the Ontario Feral Cat Project.

She has helped with myriad other projects including donating blankets for Project Linus, different churches and shelters, helping out Angel Wings Network, helping fill Children’s Shoeboxes for that program at Christmas time and countless other endeavors.

In addition to helping the Rec District with coaching volleyball, Taylor-Blumer has also coached basketball through Upward, a program at the Ontario Church of the Nazarene, which she attends. She said she had fun and met new parents while coaching for that program, which included players of all levels of ability in the third through sixth grade.

And sometimes, she says she just gets random ideas and goes with them.

Detailing one of these ideas, Taylor-Blumer spoke of how she is the treasurer for her graduating Class of 1997, which has a fund. She talked her classmates into donating money toward the reopening of the Ontario pool.

“Our class is the best,” Taylor-Blumer said. “We turned ours in and felt good about it.”

Another recent endeavor was a fundraiser for her son, Brady’s, basketball team at Ontario High School, where he is a freshman. Taylor-Blumer organized a fundraiser when she found out the team needed money for uniforms and travel. She raised $1,500 through gift baskets she created, working to sell raffle tickets for a couple of hours a night.

“It never seems like a burden when I’m doing something for a bigger cause,” she said.

Taylor-Blumer’s sense of giving back rubs off on those around her, including her son, who is now regularly volunteering in his community.

“I told him, ‘One, it’s good to do, and two, it helps on college applications,’” she said.

Now, he’s keeping a list and giving her updates on how great it is.

Spending a majority of her career in health-related fields at local facilities such as Saint Alphonsus Medical Center-Ontario, Heart ’n Home Hospice and, most recently, Valley Family Health, Taylor-Blumer said has enjoyed those career paths that are community minded. This has included being able to use her positions to create awareness in the community about such things as hospice and telehealth.

She got into the realm of nursing at Treasure Valley Community College where she earned her CNA while also playing golf, a passion she developed in high school. In fact, Taylor-Blumer was the 8th best student golfer in Oregon when she graduated high school. And she went on to play golf at Albertsons College after TVCC, then went on to Oregon Health and Science University in Oregon to get her nursing degree. She finally came back to the area when her grandparents where in failing health.

Taylor-Blumer says there is always a way to volunteer in one’s community, adding that it’s a challenge for her to see so many opportunities without taking them up or trying to connect people to them. One avenue she uses for the latter is social media.

“I use Facebook to spread positivity and kindness pages,” she said, adding that her’s has become a page that people look at to see what’s going on.

Additionally, as a lot of civic organizations are phasing out due to no new membership, Taylor-Blumer does everything she can to get young people involved. She says as a nurse, she is able to evaluate and dig to find other people’s strengths and pull them in or make suggestions to them that might fit their personalities or skills.

“If you open your eyes and accept the opportunities that come, it’s endless,” Taylor-Blumer said.

She paralleled this statement with a story about a time she had traveled to Egypt and met a young boy who was deaf. He was with other children who were trying to get her attention to give them “five dollars U.S.” After getting the money, they took her to a boat and convinced her to go out on it with them. Her aunt, whom she was traveling with, urged her to go. What happened then was an experience that stuck with Taylor-Blumer forever. They went out on the boat and the deaf boy started making guttural sounds; it wasn’t long before dolphins responded and the children urged her to jumped in the water with them to play with the animals. She later learned that the boy began to “call dolphins” when he would go alone to the ocean and cry at night because of being ostracized by his peers over his disability. He could see things splashing in the water when he was there but it was dark and he couldn’t make them out. One time during the day, he realized it was dolphins. He turned this into an ability to make money for his family, Taylor-Blumer said, noting that $5 could feed his family for a month.

“No matter what the disability, if you look to see opportunity, you never know what you can create,” she said, adding that she still has a photo of herself with the boy and two other girls framed and hanging in her bedroom. “I look at it every day.”

Taylor-Blumer offers up some tips for those who are interested in getting involved in volunteering but don’t know where to start. She says check with any churches one might be involved with and ask what kind of volunteer services they have; check social media for pages on kindness or paying it forward; or look for civic clubs.

“There are endless opportunities,” she said.

Additionally, she offered to help people find their niche. “If they are not sure, they are welcome to get ahold of me on Facebook. I would be happy to help. I can set them up.”

Saying she would enjoy doing motivational speaking if she were good enough, Taylor-Blumer added that while she was working for Saint Alphonsus, she went to Chicago for a big convention for Trinity Health, its parent company. It was well-attended by the top brass, including various CEOs, COOs and CFOs. She gave a speech about the work being done in Ontario, and received a standing ovation for it.

“Knowing they were proud of the work being done in Ontario was meaningful,” she said. “Every year, I get a boost to keep going. I am proud to be from Ontario.”

Saying she understands not everyone will stay in Ontario, she noted that it also makes her sad when people who are so involved move away.

“We need good people who stand up to stay,” she said.

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