For 13-plus years, Stephen Rosales, 63, has been a fixture at the Sequim Food Bank.
He’s helped expand its offerings, service hours, and volunteer base. He’s been on-call around-the-clock, given rides on holidays, and found a way to help anyone in-need.
Now, Rosales’ name will live on at the food bank, alongside one of the buildings in which he’s worked hard to serve those in need.
Food bank executive director Andra Smith and Mark Ozias, Clallam County Commissioner and former food bank director, revealed a sign to name the food bank’s bread and meat building after Rosales as the Stephen Rosales Building on Saturday, June 15.
“I couldn’t think of a greater honor,” Rosales, the food bank board president, told a crowd of about 30 people.
Smith and other volunteers coordinated a “Salute to Stephen” work party at the food bank, and afterward surprised Rosales with the sign.
“We’ve seen a slow, steady progression and expansion of the work we’re able to do here,” Ozias said. “He’s engendered the love and support of the most incredible volunteer support here in Sequim in a meaningful way here at the food bank. He’s helped create something amazingly special.”
Smith said she and others have been considering a way to honor Rosales for about a year, since he told fellow board members he planned to step down from the position as president he’s held for 11 years.
“A service day seemed most appropriate for Stephen,” Smith said. “We knew he’d like it.”
Rosales, a retired State of Texas employee, said he plans to remain a volunteer with the board and at the food bank.
“He’s the heart and soul of the food bank,” new board president Stephanie Price said.
In his words
Two weeks after moving to Sequim in August 2005, Rosales found himself volunteering.
Rosales said his father-in-law Bryce Fish told him about a Day of Caring at the food bank and that he “should get down there.”
Rosales’ first stint at the food bank turned into three days of sanding floors in the main building.
“Little did I realize what it’d turn into,” he told the crowd.
Rosales said he bonded with then director Nina Fatherson and began volunteering and joined the board of directors.
Rosales led efforts to name the main building after Nina and her husband Bill Fatherson, and another building after longtime volunteer Cliff Vining. All four (including Rosales) have been named Sequim Citizen of the Year for their volunteer efforts.
During Rosales’ years of service, the food bank has grown in many capacities. Some of his favorite accomplishments, he said, are bringing in children to lead Saturday service days, creating an assembly line for handing out food to help people receive faster assistance, and expanding the number of businesses they shop with to stretch dollars and buy more necessary items.
Rosales said he’s been blessed to work with a lot of people and organizations, such as the Rotary clubs, Sequim-Dungeness Valley Chamber of Commerce, Emily Westcott, and his family — wife Kim and daughters Ashley and Elizabeth.
“When I didn’t have enough volunteers, they’d always step up,” Rosales said of his family.
“This food bank is going to be tremendous for what it’s done and going to be doing for the community,” he said.
Ozias told the crowd he hopes the sign “serves as a small testament” to the impact Rosales has had in Sequim.
“I think what the food bank becomes from here on out is really going to be testament to the vision Stephen has brought to us and this organization over the course of time,” Ozias said.
“Stephen has a bigger heart than any person I have ever met. He’s selfless and generous beyond imagination.”
Along with his time at the food bank, Rosales volunteers across Sequim driving the bus for the Sequim Boys & Girls club, announcing Sequim High School sports games, mowing the Sequim Little League fields and much more.
The Sequim Food Bank, 144 W. Alder St., is open 1-4 p.m. Mondays, and 9 a.m.-noon Fridays and Saturdays.
For more information about the Sequim Food Bank, visit www.sequimfoodbank.org or call 360-683-1205 or 360-461-6038.
Reach Matthew Nash at firstname.lastname@example.org.