Smith is Citizen of Year

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Hard working, loyal, dedicated, soft-spoken yet friendly and above all, humble.


That’s the way Clallam Conservation District Joe Holtrop sees Gary Smith.


On Tuesday morning, Smith — the soft-spoken, longtime Sequim farmer — had plenty of words for others as he accepted the 2013 Sequim Chamber of Commerce’s Citizen of the Year award.


“Recognition like this doesn’t happen with one person’s effort,” Smith told the luncheon crowd at Sunland Golf & Country Club.


Citizen of the Year finalists didn’t go home empty-handed. Earning a Community Service Award with honor for his multiple volunteer efforts was Al Friess, while Patsy Mattingley was bestowed a Community Service Award.


Leo Shipley, who contributed a more than $200,000 toward the Sequim Senior Activity Center (now known as the Shipley Center) was honored with the chamber’s Humanitarian Award, an honor not given each year but in select cases of significant philanthropy.


Smith owns and operates Maple Valley Farms, an independent dairy operation northeast of

Sequim. A dairyman since 1970, Smith’s community service activities outside of the farm include water and irrigation issues, a PEO chapter providing scholarships for girls, as past president of the Dungeness Agricultural Water Users Association, past president and board member of the Sequim Prairie Dry-Irrigation Company.


Smith also was on the Farm Credit Services Board for 14 years and served as its board president for four years.


Smith and his wife Janice have been married since 1960. On Tuesday, Smith thanked his wife for “raising me and our four children.”


Holtrop praised Smith for his work on the Water Dungeness Rule.


“Gary helped find common ground,” Holtrop said. “In my opinion, he represented the entire community — the present and the future.”


Friess, who was a Citizen of the Year finalist last year, was nominated for various volunteer efforts with Sequim Sunrise Rotary, Sequim Education Foundation, Readers Theatre, the Sunland Water District and more. In thanking the chamber luncheon crowd Tuesday, Friess quoted one of his favorite slogans from his corporate days: “Imagine what we can do together.”


Mattingley, a first-time nominee, is a former preschool teacher and volunteer and was nominated for the first time due to her commitments with the Sequim Centennial Celebration, Sequim City Band, Sequim Education Foundation, Dungeness Health & Wellness Clinic and more.


“This community is so lucky to have as many volunteers as it does,” she said.


Kevin Kennedy, selected last year as the 2012 Citizen of the Year, said sorting through the dozen or so nominations was tough with the varied backgrounds of the candidates.


“It’s hard to look at (just) one year so we looked at their past five or six years,” Kennedy said. “They’re all great.”

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