January 6, 2017
COTTONWOOD – Some individuals seek the limelight. They are driven by drama, and seek to acquire accolades.
My daughter calls them divas.
Then there are others who fly under the radar. They work tirelessly behind the scenes, making sure activities run smoothly and events pull together unhitched. They devote their time back to their community, giving to causes bigger than themselves.
I call them selfless.
In Cottonwood, a quiet community of just more than 900 individuals, you will find one of those selfless individuals. Actually, you will probably find many, but today I will focus on just one - Tara Rowland.
Rowland is a mother of three young girls, all in elementary school between first and sixth grade. She and husband, Brent, moved to Cottonwood five years ago from Nampa.
Brent's family operates the Cottonwood Livestock Auction and on Friday sale days Tara works in the office. But saying she is a stay-at-home mom would be inaccurate. Tara is a General Education Development (GED) teacher for Lewis-Clark State College and teaches classes at the Grangeville Adult Learning Center on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
She also is a Pampered Chef consultant. Through this business, Tara is able to assist with the annual senior class graduation party fundraising efforts. She works with other parents to coordinate sales and donates her commission. The event offers a drug-free party for students to commemorate their final year of high school.
As if those tasks aren’t enough to keep her busy, Tara has served as a school board member for Cottonwood Joint School District since April 2015. She also leads the Cottonwood Saddliers 4-H Club. Aside from the 128 regular activities throughout the year, the 4-H club also organizes the annual Cottonwood Lighted Christmas Parade.
This past summer, Tara assumed responsibility for the Cottonwood youth soccer program. Later in the year, Tara helped Mandy Crea and Megan Rambo organize the Cottonwood Buy Local event in November.
As she said, "we go from the fair to soccer to Buy Local to parade to 4-H."
That commitment to an endless stream of activities is part remnant from her childhood and part desire to remain connected to community.
"I did grow up with my family involved with 4-H and church," she said.
And after her move to Cottonwood, she struggled to cope with the transition. Moving from the Boise area she struggled with depression and felt disconnected from community activities.
"After the first year, I realized I needed to change my attitude and get out and meet people. I enjoy helping people and being involved."
Mandy Crea said “[Tara's] seriously one of the sweetest, kindest people I have met.”
Tara shrugs off the compliment as if it was meant for someone else. She states she wouldn't be able to be as involved without the assistance of the other parents, coaches and 4-H leaders who work alongside her.
"I'm continually impressed by this community," Tara said. "We feel blessed to be here. There are so many activities here and the community supports all the activities. We're extremely fortunate."
And so is Cottonwood.
Laurie Chapman writes about the people, places and events bringing the prairie to life in the weekly blog, Prairie Pulse. If you have suggestion, contact Laurie by email at email@example.com or by phone at 208-983-1200.