On Monday, January 14th, the Portland Area Chamber of Commerce named Evelyn Walkington-Jensen as the winner of the association’s Citizen of the Year Award for 2019.
When asked if she was a Portland native, Walkington-Jensen proudly told the Beacon, “Yes, I’m the 7th generation (out of nine generations) having lived in Ionia County area, with six generations who resided in Portland, Michigan.”
Before graduating from the Portland High School in 1991, Walkington-Jensen start a student co-op position at Tri County Electric. She said, “Over seven years it developed into full-time while I commuted nights/weekends to obtain my Associates Degree in Business at Davenport College.”
The next step in her career was a 10-year run with the State of Michigan where she went from an entry level position to earning a supervisor role over clerical staff overseeing multimillion-dollar contracts. Today, she works as a property manager while raising her family.
Walkington-Jensen has given her time and talents to several area organizations over the years. She was recently appointed to the Planning Commission of Portland Township. This school year she began volunteering as Host Parent via International Cultural Exchange Services. She is currently in her third year of volunteering with Portland Tackle Football Association (Junior Raiders), starting out as Cheerleading Coach and the beings selected as Cheer Coordinator for the last two years. For the past four years she volunteered as the State of Michigan’s Ionia County Election Inspector at both the City of Portland and Portland Township poll locations.
Walkington-Jensen has been involved with the Portland Community Fund Association for 10 years, having served as the Executive Board Secretary for two years and currently serving as Vice President since 2012.
She also said, “Since my oldest daughter began school eight years ago, I have substituted and volunteered at all the area Portland Public Schools.”
After winning the Citizen of the Year Award, Walkington-Jensen received a signed and state sealed tribute plaque from State of Michigan 87th District Representative, Julie Calley, which mentions “The requirements for the Citizen of the Year Award are demanding, require commitment, determination, discipline, and selflessness.”
A handwritten note from Calley said, “The extent of your dedication to the community service is both inspiring and incredible—the award was well deserved.” Walkington-Jensen said, “I was honored to have moved even someone in her role status, by me just being me.”
Walkington-Jensen also told the Beacon, “I was pleasantly surprised by the Citizen of the Year Award Monday night. I enjoyed this time of reflecting, and thank you to everyone that voted—as it has been fun interacting with friends, family and the community! I’m someone who likes to have fun while enjoying life and it’s been sometimes too much fun, to work and volunteer with so many awesome people over my lifetime.”