Gordon Bolar

Gordon Bolar

LCC's 2019 Transforming Lives Award winner

Gordon Bolar Receives 2019 Transforming Lives Award

Gordon Bolar lost his father to alcoholism at an early age, which triggered a series of bad choices that persisted into adulthood. Along the way, Gordon held a series of different jobs and suffered a traumatic brain injury. He fathered two little girls with a woman who disappeared shortly after their second child was born. For nearly a year, he cared for his infants alone while trying to scrape a living together. Things came to a traumatic end when Gordon was arrested for possession of drugs and stolen property. His sentence came in a ten years, and his parental rights were suspended.

While incarcerated, Gordon was given the option to participate in drug court and live in transitional housing. His program included parenting classes, anger management, and both mental health and addiction treatment. He decided to go back to school when his public assistance started to run out. His inspiration was his mother, Donna Bell, a graduate of LCC’s nursing program.

“I watched my single mother go from welfare to being a nurse, able to provide for her household that included four children.”

-Gordon Bolar

Like his mom, Gordon came to LCC ready to change his life. In spite of juggling parenting, homework, treatment, counseling, childcare, appointments and NA meetings, he managed to excel in his studies. He choose the Diesel and Heavy Equipment Technology program, in the hopes of becoming a diesel mechanic. He impressed his instructors, who were able to offer him a work-study position in the department thanks to the TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) program.

“We gave Gordon the opportunity to work in our department and it worked out great. Gordon was a hard worker and very reliable. He became a model student, helping to mentor and coach several other students with similar struggles during his time at LCC.”

-Jim Dillinger, Diesel and Heavy Equipment Technology Faculty

Gordon was grateful for the opportunity to work for the college. The wages he earned from his work-study position allowed him to move out of transitional housing and provide a stable home for his children. When his instructor Jim Dillinger got a call from CDID (Consolidated Diking and Improvement District) asking for help finding summer workers, Jim suggested Gordon. After some initial hesitation due to Gordon’s past, CDID decided to give him a chance.

“Gordon is a motivated and enthusiastic person. The skills he learned at LCC are really valuable. His love of learning makes him a great employee. When we had an opportunity to hire Gordon for a full-time position at the end of the summer, our board fully supported the decision.”

-Judy Strayer, General Manager, Consolidated Diking and Improvement District

Gordon received a $500 gift from the Lower Columbia College Foundation to celebrate his nomination, and was honored at an awards banquet in Olympia.

Student Stories Contact:

 Wendy Hall, Vice President, Effectiveness & College Relations, Lower Columbia College

  (360) 442-2491