Community Volunteering

SERVING PORTLAND OR | VANCOUVER WA

America’s Phone Guys employees regularly volunteer their time, skills, and creative insights to help those in need. Whether helping in simple ways or seeking solutions to global challenges, America’s Phone Guys employees help make a meaningful difference in the lives of others. They have an enduring impact on the Vancouver, WA, and Portland, OR communities where they live and work. We are members of the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB), for which Lois is the Vice-Chair of the Leadership Council for Washington State. Lois is also a member of the WA State Department of Revenue’s Business Advisory Council. Additionally, she is serving on the Health Care Cost Transparency Board for Washington State, appointed by the Governor in 2020 as the representative for Small Business interests.

Small Business and Government Over-Regulation

During an employment law challenge, America’s Phone Guys got the chance to be in a mini documentary. Both Oregon and Washington claimed an APG team member was under their jurisdiction. The team member lived in Oregon and worked most of their time there. However, Washington State specified that dispatching and hiring from Vancouver made them a Washington-based employee. Neither state would concede, and Phone Guys had to follow conflicting regulations for both states.

APG found that to get a definitive answer, they would need to fight the issue in court. Going to court is the last thing any small business wants to do. They were seeking help and reached out to the legal office of the NFIB (National Federation of Independent Business). Their involvement with NFIB led Lois to participate during rulemaking for the Initiative with the problematic regulations. As a result, the rules, when published, identified an example mirroring theirs as the exception to the new regulations and specified people in this situation as definitively Oregon-based employees.

Caleb and Lois were told that in order to get a definitive answer they would need to fight the issue in court. Going to court is the last thing any small business wants to do, let alone pay for. Seeking help they reached out to the legal office of the NFIB (National Federation of Independent Business). In the end, their involvement with this organization led Lois to participate with the Department of Labor and Industries during rule making for Initiative 1433. As a result, the rules when published will identify an example mirroring theirs as the exception to the new rules and specify people in this situation as definitively Oregon based employees.

*Inquiries will be answered within business hours. All quote requests made after business hours will be responded the following business day.

Children's Cancer Association

In February 2008, a friend of Lois’ was diagnosed with stage 4 Pancreatic cancer. The friend was Korean (born & raised) and at times had some difficulty with English communication, though Lois and her friend were always able to communicate easily. Lois asked if she would like her to attend doctor’s appointments to make sure she understood everything & that doctors understood her as well. The friend was happy to have Lois as her advocate, and through that process, Lois learned a lot about cancer and cancer doctors. The friend passed away in July 2008. During these few months, Lois kept feeling she was preparing for something.

In May 2009, Caleb was diagnosed with stage 4 base of tongue cancer. Lois went to every doctor’s appointment with him and believed she was a much calmer sense of support for him because she had been through cancer with her friend the year before. Throughout his treatment, they would often talk about how they couldn’t imagine a child having to go through cancer. How would a kid deal with all the poking and treatments and the absolute horror of it? Once Caleb was through his treatment regimen and on his way back to good health, they talked about Lois volunteering for the CCA. But she would have to find the time. When running a business with your husband, that’s not easy.

Almost three years later, Lois decided there would never be enough time, and she needed to figure out a way to make it happen. She had to make it a priority. Lois didn’t know if she would make a good Chemo Pal but figured the folks at the CCA would determine that. If not, she would volunteer in other ways. Lois is an emotional person and wasn’t sure if she could be strong and supportive enough if times got tough. She loves kids, though, and never had one herself (other than her beautiful stepdaughter), so she wanted to give it a shot.

She quickly was so happy she did! Lois was “matched” with a three & a half-year-old boy in December of 2012 and went to his appointments at Doernbecher every week with him. They played cars and Legos and watched videos and had such a good time. He cried every time he had his port accessed or de-accessed until she figured out things to help keep his mind occupied when that was happening. Lois felt like she made a difference in his life that day! And all the days after that when he didn’t even fuss were amazing to her! As a Chemo Pal Mentor, Lois’s goal was to bring JOY to children with cancer or other life-threatening diseases. Mentors believe joy can help heal, and Lois does too. Her first Pal “graduated” in September 2013 and is doing very well.

Lois was “matched” with her next Chemo Pal in April 2014 at Randall Children’s Hospital. He was better at facing doctors at four years old than she is in her 50’s. This kid was a trooper! According to his mom, he looked forward to the visits when he knew Lois would be there. Whenever he found her in the waiting room, he always ran over to see what was in her “bag of tricks” for their visit. Their favorite thing to do together was playing with rocket balloons. She blew them up, and he loved to shoot them and catch them as well as let the air out into her face and making her laugh. He called his port his Iron Man button because it was toward the middle of his chest. This Pal “graduated” in December 2015 and is also doing very well. Lois continued going to follow-up appointments with him for several years after he finished treatment.

In May 2016, Lois was “matched” with her third Chemo Pal, again at Randall Children’s Hospital. This time her pal was a 3-year-old boy who calls her Louie and says she is his best friend. According to his parents, having Lois at his appointments made all the difference, and he stopped crying when it was time to go for treatments. He was always excited to see Louie again! He liked his time with her so much that he would tell others when they were together that she was there for him and everyone else should leave her alone! They loved doing puzzles together, playing with trucks, building Lego towers, and making cakes with play dough. His treatments lasted more than three years, and Lois was there with him every step of the way, as well as afterward.

Sometimes Lois feels she gets more out of her visits than her pals do. It’s such a great feeling when you know you’ve made a difference. And Lois has much empathy for anyone going through a severe illness. She has even surprised herself by being able to be strong for her pals when she needs to.

Lois highly recommends volunteering at CCA to anyone who feels like they would be interested. They are especially always looking for men and folks who speak Spanish. You can find out how here. Sadly, due to Covid, the Chemo Pal program is on hold and the future uncertain. Lois is hoping and praying she can someday soon be a Chemo Pal again.

Here’s a link to a CCA video featuring kids, doctors, nurses & parents that is just so Happy! It’s great anytime you need to be cheered up or inspired to help…

Community Volunteering in Portland OR and Vancouver WA

SERVING CLIENTS IN PORTLAND OR - OREGON COAST:

PORTLAND | GRESHAM | TROUTDALE | SANDY | BORING | DAMASCUS | CLACKAMAS | OREGON CITY | WEST LINN | LAKE OSWEGO | TUALATIN | SALEM | NEWBERG | MCMINNVILLE | BEAVERTON | HILLSBORO | SEASIDE | ASTORIA | LINCOLN CITY

VANCOUVER | BATTLE GROUND | CAMAS | WASHOUGAL | LA CENTER | RIDGEFIELD | ORCHARDS | BRUSH PRAIRIE | WOODLAND | KELSO | KALAMA | LONGVIEW | LONG BEACH