"We cannot all do great things, but we can do small things with great love."
Who Was Vina Moses?
Vina Moses moved to Corvallis in 1905 and up until her death in 1971 she left an indelible imprint on the community of Corvallis with her compassion, generosity, dedication, patriotism, and higher sense of purpose to all those lives she touched over the years. From her initial efforts at helping families in her community the center was born, which continues her important work now and into the future.
Vina had organized recreational and service opportunities for at risk young boys. During the first world war Vina had organized clothing for servicemen. Using the excess clothing donated by the community, Vina started a Community Welfare Center which operated out of her house with the help of volunteers. Vina ran the center with the help of volunteers, mainly out of her house, for the next 54 years responding to community needs by helping victims recover from house fires and by communicating and soliciting aid from the community, with which she had an uncanny ability to inspire generosity and goodness. Her tireless efforts at helping those in need were remarkable, often helping newly arriving families find lodging and ensuring they had enough to eat before sleeping for the night.
Vina had a marked sense of patriotism and duty. She started the precursor to the Boy Scouts for 14 years, organized fireproof clothing for soldiers during WWI, and also served as the bomb shelter coordinator and as a volunteer on the emergency food ration committee. In WWII she was instrumental in getting the community to equip a recreation room for the multitudes of soldiers training at Camp Adair. In addition, she was able to get a recreation program organized for the soldiers, particularly the soldiers of color, which at that time was quite remarkable. Through it all she had a no- nonsense demeanor, a wonderful sense of humor and a geniality that endeared her to people instantly.
Vina's tireless efforts didn't go unnoticed by the community. Her humanitarian awards were numerous: 1949 Woman of Achievement by the Corvallis Chapter of Theta Sigma Phi, 1955 Benton County Citizen of the Year, and 1969 Oregon Good Samaritan by the Oregon Welfare Association.
After Vina's death, her lifetime's work was continued by her dedicated volunteers and the community. The center moved to several locations before finally arriving at its present location in 1986. While Vina may have gone in person, her spirit lives in the center that bears her name, and instills our community with a special sense of gentility, unique to Corvallis.