Chamber selects Hatlers, Lepping for Citizen of Year finalists

  • Thursday, February 21, 2019 2:08pm
  • News
Chamber selects Hatlers, Lepping for Citizen of Year finalists

A couple with ties to the region’s most documented archaeological find and an advocate for individuals with disabilities are finalists for Sequim’s top civic award.

A committee of former award winners have nominated two finalists for the Sequim-Dungeness Valley Chamber of Commerce’s 2018 Citizen of the Year award: Clare Manis Hatler and Don Hatler (as a joint nomination), and Nicole Lepping.

The nominees will be honored at the chamber’s annual award luncheon, set for 11:45 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 26, at at the Guy Cole Event Center at Carrie Blake Park, 202 N. Blake Ave.

The community is invited to the event. Cost for lunch is $22 for chamber members, $25 for non-members, or $5 for coffee/tea only.

A lunch RSVP is required by noon Friday, Feb. 22; call 360-682-6197 or email to, or register online at sequimchamberwa.cham tration/register/7594.

About the nominees

In the summer of 1977, Clare and Manny Manis made world headlines and “put Sequim on the world map” when they turned up the skeletal remains of a mastodon in their backyard. For the next eight years, the Manis family opened the property to people from around the world to visit the site and watch the archaeological work taking place; it became a major U.S. tourist attraction. A recent study of the Manis mastodon provided proof of the oldest human settlement found to date in the Americas.

The mastodon, through the Manis’ generosity, remains in Sequim, partially reconstructed as part of a large exhibit at Sequim Museum & Arts — a cornerstone exhibit at the museum’s exhibit center for years.

Clare’s other community projects since then have included: participation as a charter member of the Dungeness River Audubon Center founding Board, serving as its nonprofit treasurer for many years; a long-time member and officer of the Olympic Peninsula Audubon Society Board, and working with the Washington Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, which resulted in the 1915 Railroad Bridge being placed in the National Register of Historic Places.

She has also served in board positions and as long-time members of the Clallam County League of Women Voters and Sequim Museum & Arts. Before worked as a tool designer and graphic artist. After Manny passed away, Clare married Don Hatler in 2001.

Since Don’s retirement to Sequim in 1997, he has played a major role in helping to manage and an important community resource: water. Don has volunteered on several boards and committees to preserve the Dungeness Watershed, including the Clallam Conservation District’s Board of Supervisors, Puget Sound Anglers North Olympic Peninsula Chapter, and the Dungeness River Management Team (DRMT) representing sports fisheries. He also served on the Clallam County Marine Resources Committee.

Before retiring and moving to Sequim, Don was involved in real estate, was a business broker, and owned a marina and sailboat dealership.

Lepping is a former special education teacher who worked with mobility challenged children. At the end of 2017 she saw a video demonstrating use of a specially designed wheelchair bicycle used to provide a way for any mobility challenged individuals to be given a ride in a bicycle. Recognizing Sequim was an ideal location for such a service — with its demographic of older individuals and the widely-used Olympic Discovery Trail for bikes — she applied for and was granted nonprofit status for Sequim Wheelers.

In February and March, Lepping began contacting and meeting with individuals and groups in the community to raise funds to buy a wheelchair bicycle. She saw an outpouring of support from both individuals and community groups to purchase the $9,000 bike, sufficient to purchase the first bike with delivery in April.

Lepping set up a board of directors for the nonprofit. She and another board member traveled (at their own expense) to meet with the Portland Wheelers, in Portland, Me., for training and an exchange of ideas.

Determined that the Sequim program would be free-of-charge to all who wanted a ride, Lepping began seeking volunteer riders and by late spring training on the bike and safety training for riders began.

The official program launched the first week of July 2018, and during the following 15 weeks the Sequim Wheelers provided 90 wheelchair bicycle rides to individuals in Sequim — some from local assisted living facilities. More than 25 volunteers gave rides during the summer season.

Through continuing contributions, grants and a large donation from one individual to the Sequim Wheelers program, a second wheelchair bike has been ordered for use in 2019.

Sequim Citizens of the Year

1968 — Peter Black

1969 — Carl Klint

1970 — Virginia Keeting

1971 — Virginia Peterson

1972 — Tom Groat

1973 — None

1974 — Katie & Bill Merrill

1975 — Jerry Angiuli

1976 — Chuck Southern, Howard Wood, Lorna McInnes

1977 — Nellie Tetrude

1978 — Marcia Welch

1979 — Ruby Trotter

1980 — Iris Marshall

1981 — Howard Herrett

1982 — Guy Shephard

1983 — Don & Vivian Swanson

1984 — Bill & Shirley Keeler

1985 — Ed & Marcia Beggs

1986 — Ruby Mantle

1987 — Jeff Shold

1988 — Annette Kuss

1989 — Jim Haynes

1990 — Bill & Judy Rowland

1991 — Nina Fatherson

1992 — Bud Knapp

1993 — Paul Higgins

1994 — Rand Thomas

1995 — Rochelle McHugh

1996 — Esther Nelson

1997 — Annette Hanson

1998 — Jim & Cathy Carl

1999 — Bill Fatherson

2000 — Robert Clark

2001 — Don Knapp

2002 — Gil Oldenkamp

2003 — John Beitzel

2004 — Emily Westcott

2005 — Lee Lawrence

2006 — Bob & Elaine Caldwell

2007 — Stephen Rosales

2008 — Walt & Sherry Schubert

2009 — Tom Schaafsma

2010 — Jim Pickett

2011 — Dick Hughes

2012 — Kevin Kennedy

2013 — Gary Smith

2014 — Cliff Vining

2015 — Louie Rychlik

2016 — Dave Bekkevar

2017 — Judy Reandeau Stipe

Humanitarian Award recipients

2007 — Bill & Esther Littlejohn

2008 — Brown & Sarah Maloney

2014 — R. Leo Shipley

2016 — Dave & Patsy Mattingley

More in News

North Olympic Peninsula health officers to provide update Monday

The North Olympic Peninsula got a short reprieve with a relatively quiet… Continue reading

Long-term care facility reaches 22 COVID-19 cases; peninsula hospitals restricting visitors

The number of COVID-19 cases on the North Olympic Peninsula continued to… Continue reading

Officials: Avoid gathering with non-household members for holiday

North Olympic Peninsula health officials are urging residents to not gather and… Continue reading

Man in Carlsborg collision earlier this month dies

A driver who was in a three-car wreck on U.S. Highway 101… Continue reading

Lighting up the season

A group of volunteers were busy this past weekend adorning Sequim with… Continue reading

Sequim schools to close buildings, revert to remote learning

Students in the Sequim School District will return to all remote learning… Continue reading

Peninsula COVID-19 case numbers continue to rise as Clallam adds 58 since Nov. 19

Clallam and Jefferson counties added 13 COVID-19 cases combined as the North… Continue reading

Decision on MAT hearing expected by Dec. 18

Update editor’s note: The hearing for the medication-assisted treatment (MAT) clinic closed… Continue reading

Sequim chamber, city partner to provide more small business relief funds

The City of Sequim and the Sequim-Dungeness Valley Chamber of Commerce are… Continue reading

Most Read