My name is Wes Aasness, I live here in Mt Vernon with my wife Terry. I am the Chaplain for the Blue Mountain Hospice. This is a part time position and I also have a window cleaning business. I was born here at Blue Mountain Hospital in 1961. 

I enjoy time with family, especially the grandchildren. I have a passion for music. I play the guitar and have been playing on the worship team at Living Word Christian Center for the past 35 years. I enjoy dogs, cats, and especially people.

Walking alongside those in times of significant loss is something I feel that I can be helpful with and I really do enjoy getting to know people.


My name is Sarah Brown and I grew up here in Grant County. I went out into the world for many years and returned home in 2020 with my two kids, Helly and Pepper. I work for Community Counseling Solutions and love the opportunity to help others in my professional life. I spend my spare time running, biking, building bike trails, backpacking, camping, skiing, working on my house, dabbling in about everything else, and volunteering. I’m very passionate about being outdoors and wellness.

I found myself as a volunteer at Thadd’s Place because I had nine friends die over a 3-year period. While very few of these people were close friends, I continually found myself being the go-to for support for people who were struggling more than myself. I was honored that so many people let me into their lives during their darkest hour. When I heard about Thadd’s Place I was eager to be involved and get training on how to better support those moving through the grief process.

   Working with people experiencing grief is now a passion of mine and every time I meet with someone grieving I learn something about myself. I get back everything that I put in and I’m helping others at the same time. The kindness and hope that I experience at Thadd’s Place is nothing short of amazing. I’m honored to be a part of the volunteer team and grateful for all that I have learned from the training and experience.


 My name is Christine, and in June 2009, a few years after I retired from a long career as an administrative assistant, my husband and I moved here from the Columbia Gorge area. It was an easy decision because not only did we want to live near our daughter, son-in-Law and two amazing granddaughters, but we’ve also loved Grant County since the early 1970s! We attend a local church filled with wonderful people who have become a second family to us. Dave and I celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary on September 24, 2021 and still enjoy an active life together–Traveling, hiking, geocaching and exploring miles and miles of our national forest roads. We especially have a passion for the abundance of wildflowers, birds and wildlife here! When we travel, you will mostly find us pursuing the same interests somewhere warmer!

I have experienced the death of extended family members throughout my nearly 70 years, but my first profound loss was in 2013 when my 82 year old father unexpectedly committed suicide. I was close to Dad, and his abrupt death changed my life. And, because he ended his life during my mom’s first bout with lung cancer, my grief was complicated by feelings of abandonment, anger, guilt and more. I was thankful for my deep faith not only for the strength to go on, but also to help my mom through her remaining treatments. But I really didn’t know how to grieve, especially a loss like this. I stuffed my feelings, became the “strong one” for Mom and pushed on. It took two years before I could cry for my loss. Then, in October 2016 my oldest brother who lived in Arizona succumbed to lung cancer. A few weeks later, we learned that Mom’s cancer had returned and was stage four. I was blessed to help care for her until her death on January 12, 2017. After returning home, I joined Michelle’s first grief support group to learn to experience my grief in a healthy way this time. While my husband was great at giving me space to grieve, enduring three huge losses within a few short years was truly overwhelming. In grief support, I learned that grief is not linear. It is important to acknowledge our losses and express our feelings. This and working through loss together with others changed my view of grieving. 

Helping others in grief and accepting help for my own showed me that grieving is not meant to be done in isolation. I knew then I wanted to continue to help others in their grief journeys. When someone we love dies, our grief never ends. But we can learn to live with the love they have left behind. I now know how precious it is to share your story with someone else who truly listens and understands loss. As a Thadd’s Place volunteer, I would be honored to companion you in your bereavement and reconciliation, through any type of loss you’re experiencing.


    Hi, my name is Linda McClellan I live in Mount Vernon with my husband Jerry and our 6 dogs. We came to Grant County 45 years ago. We have two children LeAnn and Ryan. We also have 3 grandchildren.

    I enjoy cooking, sewing, golfing, fishing and spending time with my family. The reason I became interested in a cancer support group is that I was diagnosed with a rare cancer in 2012. I found out in March 2021 that my cancer was back for the 3rd time. I have friends that are fighting the same battle with other forms of cancer. We keep a close eye on each other. I feel there are other cancer patients out there that either don’t know where to turn for support help or need some place to go for support. 


My name is Robyn Miller and I feel honored to be a part of Thadd’s Place.  I am a third grade teacher at Humbolt Elementary School in Canyon City.  My husband is a teacher at Grant Union Jr/Sr High School.  We have lived in John Day for 14 years and have two children.  Our daughter is a junior at the University of Oregon in Eugene, studying Accounting.  Our son is a senior at Grant Union Jr/Sr High School.  

Cancer has greatly impacted myself and my immediate family.  Because of this, I hope that I can be a support to and help others that are experiencing cancer and grief.  In 2016, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer.  In 2017, I was diagnosed with breast cancer.  In 2018, my nephew was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer.  In 2019, my sister-in-law was diagnosed with breast cancer.  In 2020, my dad was diagnosed with melanoma and my mom was diagnosed with lymphoma.  Throughout these past 5 years, I have gained a great deal of strength and support from my friends and family.  As one of my friends told me, “No one should ever have to do cancer alone.”  

I love my job and I love spending my days with a bunch of fun 3rd graders.  When I am not working, I enjoy spending time with family and friends, walking, hiking, camping, gardening, traveling, reading, knitting, and watching football and movies.   


My name is Johnni Patt, I live in Mt Vernon with my husband Bob and our 4 dogs. I work in the kitchen at Blue Mountain Hospital. My hobbies include camping, fishing, being with friends and family, and just relaxing with my fur babies.

My grief story began in 2004 with the loss of dad due to heart disease. In 2005, I lost my brother to suicide, and I lost my daughter just three short months later. 

I want to be a grief companion because I would like to provide comfort and reassurance to others that they are not alone in their grief journey.


My name is Dawnna Reed, I live here in John Day with my husband and 3 dogs. I work as a CNA for Home Health and Hospice and am the Volunteer Coordinator at Thadd’s Place. I am originally from Boring, but moved to Portland after meeting my husband. We moved to John Day about 6 years ago to get out of the city and be closer to Galena, where his grandfather had left him a little piece of property. 

My story is full of loss and grief starting from my childhood. I spent most of my childhood in and out of foster care losing friends and family all along the way. After losing my daughter in 1991, I found the Dougy Center to help my older daughter, who was only 3 at the time, learn to cope with the loss.  Although I felt like I would never survive that loss, they helped me find the support that I needed too.  Without that support, I don’t think I ever would have made it to this point in my life. I now have 3 grown children, and 5 wonderful grandchildren. I love music, baking, and being outdoors. 

I want to be a grief companion because I want to help others by making sure that they never feel alone in their grief journey. I want to give the support that I received because I know what a difference that it can make.