Grand Forks, ND - William "Bill" Rossig, a member of the Wiyot Tribe, has been selected as a receipient of the National Native Elder HERO Award. Recipients were chosen from across the United States for their dedication to helping Native elders solve local problems, share cultural traditions, and build stronger communities.
Bill is a dedicated volunteer in local Indian Communities and the Greater Humboldt County Community. Ever since Bill was a young man, he has been a philanthropist. He has been a great coach for generations of youth sporting teams in the Eureka area. Bill has always been there for the community and regularly helps-out family, friends, and neighbors with household chores and yard work. Bill has been a volunteer for the Blue Lake Rancheria Elder Nutrition Program for over 15 years. Bill packages at least 220 meals a week, bringing his total meal contribution to ten of thousands! He also volunteers every year at the Annual Elders' Christmas Luncheon in Blue Lake. This year he has volunteered to help out again and the Rancheria has happily accepted his offer.
In addition to volunteering for the Blue Lake Rancheria, Bill has served on the Wiyot Tribal Council for five years and sits on two United Indian Health Services, In. boards. He and other Elders oversee the Tabacco Sacred Use/Not abuse Board and the Diabetes Prevention Board. He meets twice a month at the United Indian Health Service, Inc. Potawot Health Clinic and volunteers extra hours, as needed. He also volunteers at the Moose Lodge (Cutten, CA), and keeps the grounds clean by cutting the grass, brush, and other odd jobs. Bill regularly volunteers to cook, set-up, or clean up at the Humboldt Grange Dinners. Bill has volunteered to help build two of the houses on the Table Bluff Reservation and set up the children's playground. He is Santa for the Wiyot Tribe Youth Christmas Program every year and volunteers at the Family Fun Day. On top of that, Bill started his own Elder Wood Program. He acquires scrap wood from different venders and delivers it to Indian Elders on the Wiyot Reservation.
Bill received his Hero Award at the Blue Lake Rancheria Elder Programs Luncheon which was on Wednesday, December 10th, 2009, at the Blue Lake Casino Sapphire Palace in Blue Lake.
The Hero Project
The Hero Project was conceived by the late Dr. Alan Allery and developed through the NRCNAA (National Resource Center for Native American Aging) at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences in Grand Forks, North Dakota, and the Administration on Aging. The NRCNAA strives to identify and increase awareness of evolving Native elder Health and social issues and empower Native people to develop community-based solutions.