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Hip, hip hooray for beloved Oak Harbor cheerleader

Oak Harbor Mayor Jim Slowik presents Helen Chatfield-Weeks with a plaque signifying her new status as the city’s official cheerleader before the city council and a supportive audience last week. - Justin Burnett / Whidbey News-Times
Oak Harbor Mayor Jim Slowik presents Helen Chatfield-Weeks with a plaque signifying her new status as the city’s official cheerleader before the city council and a supportive audience last week.
— image credit: Justin Burnett / Whidbey News-Times

Oak Harbor elected officials turned the tables on the city’s biggest cheerleader this week with a hip, hip hooray just for her.

During the City Council’s regular Tuesday meeting, Mayor Jim Slowik presented Helen Chatfield-Weeks with a plaque signifying her new status as the city’s official cheerleader. In a later interview, the energetic 86-year-old said the recognition was not only a pleasant surprise but humbling as well.

“What a thrill to be recognized by the mayor and city council,” Chatfield-Weeks said. “It was really special.”

Chatfield-Weeks is well known throughout the community. She’s a regular at government meetings and social groups, serves as the chairwoman of the city’s park board, and can always be counted on to weigh in on important community issues.

But the former 1940s college cheerleader, who later worked as a news reporter for the Skagit Valley Herald, is most famous for her “hip, hip hooray” cheers. They have earned her the endearment of many, including a host of city officials.

This past October, City Councilman Jim Campbell made a motion to name her Oak Harbor’s official cheerleader. It was eagerly seconded by nearly every other city council member at the meeting.

When asked why she does them, Chatfield-Weeks said it’s not about attracting attention to herself but about making others feel good.

“Sometimes people just need a cheer,” she said.

 

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