Oregon's Top Mom
Sheridan mother of 13 named Oregon’s Mother of the Year
By Marguerite Alexander
Correspondent, The Sun
As people across the nation prepare to celebrate Mother’s Day, Oregon Mother of the Year Bobbie Jager of Sheridan is on a quest to encourage local women and share the importance of honoring mothers all year long.
Mother’s Day has been observed nationally on the second Sunday in May since 1914. It’s good to have a day to recognize mothers, Jager said, but it shouldn’t stop there.
“I feel like a Christmas ornament,” she said.
Motherhood isn’t limited to a standard workweek. You can’t just punch off the clock at the end of the day, Jager noted. It’s 24/7 all year long. That’s why this mother of 13 feels it’s important to honor moms, both working and stay-at-home, continually.
Over the past three months Jager has had the opportunity to speak out about the role of being a mother. She was named Mother of the Year by the Oregon Association of American Mothers on Feb. 17. The following week she was asked to speak before the Oregon House of Representatives.
“It was pretty scary,” Jager said. But she found the state representatives to be very welcoming. “They were so kind,” she added.
Last week Jager attended the American Mothers, Inc. (AMI) convention in Washington, D.C. She was one of 21 nominees for the national title representing 19 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. The 2012 nominees included educators, musicians, full-time moms, entrepreneurs, social workers, a doctor and the First Lady of Atlantic City.
The convention, held at the historic Mayflower Hotel, provided opportunity to meet national congressional leaders, tour Washington D.C. and listen to a panel discussion on preventing violence against women. The Mother of the Year nominees gave speeches on May 4.
Although Jager has had the opportunity to speak at the state—and now the national level—her goal is to work with and recognize mothers locally. “This is my community. If I start it here, it can spread,” she said.
Jager wants to encourage mothers—to warm hearts—she explained. The words “You’re doing a good job” can mean so much, she said.
With the troubled economy adding additional stress, some families are falling apart. “The world’s not easy right now,” Jager said.
Coming alongside someone who is feeling overwhelmed can make a difference. Jager plans to offer her friendship and mentor young mothers—especially those who are at high risk—to help each woman find her true self and grow dreams.
“I just really want to make a difference,” she said.
As Jager chopped colorful bell peppers and sprinkled them onto the entrée for dinner she quoted a verse from the Bible. “Where there is no vision, the people perish.”
Women today need to see that their children have greatness, she said. Each mother needs to see that she has greatness.
Jager, who came from a family with two children, started dreaming big when she was young. “I always wanted a big family,” she said. Bobbie and husband Mike decided 14 would be the perfect number. “We got 13,” she added.
Serving healthy meals—complete with homemade bread made with freshly ground wheat—is important to Jager. But mealtime goes beyond meeting nutritional needs. Some of Jager’s most cherished moments are when the whole family gathers around the kitchen table to laugh and talk about the old times and family traditions.
Family meals continue to be an important part of the day for the Jager family—Bobbie, husband Mike and six of their children, four of whom are in school, one that is home from college and an older son who is relocating.
It used to be that people looked to families when they had problems, Jager said. Now with the use of cell phones and social networking, people communicate faster with their friends than with their families.
“We’ve lost a connection. That’s really sad,” Jager said. Families need to unify, she added.
The Sheridan woman was very surprised when she was named the Oregon Mother of the Year. “I almost passed out,” she said. Jager was humbled to be chosen from a field of great candidates from throughout the state. “All were amazing,” she said.
AMI, an interfaith, non-political, non-profit organization has been recognizing outstanding mothers since 1935. “For nearly 80 years American Mothers has recognized moms who are courageous, bold, innovative and creative,” said a press release announcing the two women given this year’s highest honor by the organization on May 5.
Dr. Ruby Graves Cheves of George was named the 2012 National Mother of the Year and Carrie Keating Leonard, a lawyer from Oklahoma who is currently a stay-at-home mother of four, was recognized as the National Young Mother of the Year.
According to American Mothers, many outstanding individuals throughout America have served the organization as officers, leaders, members and supporters including Sarah Delano Roosevelt, J.C. Penny, Mamie Eisenhower, Phyllis Marriott, Lindy Boggs and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, the 1984 Arkansas Young Mother of the Year.
2012 Oregon Mother of the Year
Place of birth: Salt Lake City, Utah
Husband: Mike Jager, retired Air Force Captain and maintenance and construction supervisor of the Housing Authority of Yamhill County.
Children: Brandon, 33; Jared, 31; Johnna, 29; Donna, 27; Robert, 25; Korrie, 24; Scott, 23; Thomas, 20; Sara, 18; Joseph, 17; Zachary, 14; Matthew, 12; Emma, 10.
Residence: After globetrotting with the USAF, the family settled in rural Sheridan 19 years ago.
Interests: Good nutrition and exercise. Bobbie completed a sprint triathlon last year.
Community Involvement: Woman’s Relief Society President in her church; LDS church representative in the Children’s and Young Woman’s Presidencies for nine regional congregations; Cub Scout volunteer and ASPIRE Coordinator at Sheridan Japanese School