A heartwarming column seems appropriate for the month of February, so I’m going to share a story of inspiration, connection and community in which a big-hearted family has teamed up for the love of the land and wildlife.
People often think of philanthropists as those who make large donations. However, the term “philanthropy” actually comes from the ancient Greek and is a combination of the words: “philos,” meaning “love,” in the sense of caring for, nourishing, developing and enhancing; and “anthropos,” meaning “human being,” in the sense of our common humanity.
A philanthropist is a person who expresses love of humanity through charitable efforts, regardless of the size or the form of the gifts.
Throughout the year, the Jefferson Land Trust’s Save the Land business partners donate a portion of their profits to support our work. For years, The Resort at Port Ludlow, Finnriver Farm & Cidery, Chimacum Corner Farmstand and the Food Co-Op have been giving back to our community in this substantial and meaningful way.
In early March 2018, at the age of 14, Aloura Remy became our youngest business partner. An artist with a love of wildlife, she was inspired by her chosen grandfather, Gabriel Ornelas, who passed away in early 2017. Extremely civic-minded, Gabe, as he was known throughout the community, was a longtime supporter of the Land Trust. Through his actions and values, he taught Aloura the importance of giving back by supporting something she cares about.
Last year, Aloura dedicated many of her Saturdays to creatively fundraise for the Land Trust. She and her mother (and sometimes her father, too) would wake up early, pack their car and head over to the Food Co-Op in Port Townsend. Once there, they’d set up a table and sell Aloura’s beautiful, wildlife-inspired artwork.
Because Aloura wants to make a difference for her community and nature, she donates 50 percent of each sale to the Land Trust — on sales made in person at the Food Co-Op as well as sales made on her website, Alourasart.com.
In addition to selling Aloura’s artwork, this outgoing and community-oriented family also acted as unofficial Land Trust ambassadors, sharing our brochures and spreading the word about the latest happenings.
Inspired by their daughter, Aloura’s parents, Adelita Jorquera and Doug Remy, decided to join her in supporting the Land Trust and honoring Gabe’s memory. A real estate broker with her own business, Better Properties Tri-Counties LLC, Adelita has begun to donate a portion of her commission on every real estate transaction in which she’s involved. Doug, a loan officer with Fairway Independent Mortgage, also is making a donation each time one of his loans closes.
The couple works as a team, serving the real estate markets of Jefferson, Mason and Kitsap counties from their offices in Poulsbo and Shelton. With Adelita fluent in Spanish and Doug an ex-Marine, they specialize in serving local Hispanic families and veterans.
Having lived on the Olympic Peninsula for 10 years, Aloura, Adelita and Doug spend a lot of time outdoors. They’ve enjoyed hiking at Hurricane Ridge, around Lake Crescent and in the Hoh Rain Forest. Having lived next to Fort Worden for three years before they moved to Silverdale, the family also logged a lot of miles on the trails at Fort Worden and at North Beach.
Adelita believes that’s where Aloura developed her love of nature and wildlife. The birds and mammals of North Beach feature prominently in Aloura’s art.
For a chance to see her work in person, visit Elevated Ice Cream, where her framed original art is on display throughout February. In keeping with her generosity and warm heart, Aloura plans to donate 50 percent of all proceeds from every painting sold during the art show to Jefferson Land Trust.
Just like the origins of the word, philanthropy begins in the heart. Aloura, Adelita and Doug have found a way to use their creative and career talents to support the outdoors and wildlife they value in a way that also honors the memory of someone they all loved.
I’m so thankful to work with Aloura and her family, as they’ve inspired me and the whole Land Trust team. And they’re not alone.
Our community is full of philanthropists who demonstrate their loving spirits in ways that make this place stronger and more resilient. And they all express that love in different ways, whether it’s financially or by sharing their time, knowledge and talents.
We are so grateful for their generous hearts.
Sarah Zablocki-Axling is the development manager for Jefferson Land Trust, www.saveland.org. She’s spent her career connecting youth and the young at heart to caring for the land. Jefferson Land Trust’s column relating local stories of the land appears monthly in The Leader.