Meet Oregon's "Welcome Neighbor Lady"

Published: Sep. 24, 2019 at 9:52 PM CDT
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Moving to a new town can be overwhelming, but for 12 years, Cathy Grender has been making it easier for new residents of Oregon as the "Welcome Neighbor Lady."

One new resident is Stephanie Baertlein. Baertlein moved to Oregon from South Florida in July 2019 to be closer to her husband's family.

"I felt like I was missing out on my nephews growing up," Baertlein said.

Baertlein's sister, who also lives in Oregon, introduced her to Grender.

"She was like, 'When you move here, you're going to have to get a welcome from Cathy,'" Baertlein said.

Tuesday afternoon, Baertlein and Grender met at the Firefly Coffeehouse on Main St.

"I'm just here to welcome you, I'm not here to sell you anything," Grender said to Baertlein as they sat down at a small table.

If someone is new in town, like Baertlein, Grender will sit down with them, armed with a basket full of fliers and pamphlets from local businesses.

Grender introduces people to businesses and restaurants in the area and give them gift cards and discounts to use.

"I really want people to feel safe and comfortable moving here and know that if they need anything, they can contact me," Grender said.

Grender's job does not end after that first meeting. She tells everyone she meets with that they can contact her with any questions down the road.

"I stay in touch with almost everybody that I’ve done visits with," she said.

For Baertlein, this meeting was just what she needed after moving across the country.

"It makes me feel a valuable part of the Oregon community, like kind of we're all in it together," Baertlein said.

For Grender, meeting people like Baertlein is the best part of her job.

"My favorite part is knowing that I helped them get acclimated to the area and feel comfortable and feel at home," she said.

Grender said she will sit down with anyone who lives and works in Oregon, even if they are not new to the area. To contact Grender,