Three honored for longtime volunteerism

Three volunteers who have made positive and lasting contributions to their communities were honored with Clallam County Community Service Awards at a ceremony at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church.

Mike Dukes, of Sekiu and Clallam Bay, Lloyd Eisenman of Port Angeles and Emily Westcott of Sequim were recognized Thursday evening for their longtime commitment to volunteerism, the many lives they have touched and the positive impact they have made on the quality of life of those around them.

“These are extraordinary people who have improved the lives of the people in Clallam County,” said Peninsula Daily News Executive Editor Leah Leach.

This is the 42nd year of the award, which was begun by the Peninsula Daily News and is now co-sponsored with the Soroptimist International of Port Angeles-Noon Club.

From 1980 to 1990, it was called the Citizen of the Year Award and only one honoree was selected. Art Feiro, a school district biology instructor for whom the marine science center on City Pier is named, was the first winner.

In 1991, it was changed to the Clallam County Community Service Award to highlight the work of community volunteers.

“This is a program that will leave you inspired,” said Cherie Kidd of Soroptimist International of Port Angeles — Noon Club and a 2020 honoree in her introduction.

Danetta Rutten and Kevin Borde introduced Dukes, who has been a volunteer with the Clallam Bay/Sekiu Lions Club since moving to Sekiu nearly 50 years ago.

“The communities of Sekiu and Clallam Bay are a better place to live and raise families because of Mike,” said Borde, a fellow Lion.

That work has included everything from organizing beach cleanups to running a vision testing clinic for children, he said.

“On June 8 1973, I graduated from college, on June 9 I married my wife, Karen, and on June 10 we started out for Seiku and I’ve been here ever since,” Duke said.

“Fellowship and bringing a smile to your neighbor,” were his rewards, Dukes said.

Dukes said it was not just communities that gained from the work of volunteers. Volunteers did as well.

Eisenman volunteers from 50 to 100 hours every month, said Phyllis Darling, who introduced the Noon Kiwanis and former First Federal board member.

Eisenman had been instrumental in Noon Kiwanis raising $330,000 for scholarships for Port Angeles High School graduates and in supporting Camp Beausite NW in Chimacum, which welcomes children with severe disabilities Darling said.

“He has made an impression on every corner of Clallam County and in Jefferson County,” Darling said.

Eisenman said while some people liked to fish and others liked to golf, he got satisfaction from volunteering.

“I love tackling a tough project,” Eisenman said. “And when you’re finished, it benefits the community.”

Captain-Crystal Stout said that anyone who had driven through Sequim had seen Westcott’s impact on the city, from the flower baskets hanging along Washington Street in the summer to the Christmas lights during the holidays. The lawns that had been mowed and public spaces that had been weeded.

“That’s Emily Westcott,” Stout said.

Westcott said belonging to the local merchants association when she owned a restaurant in Sequim was her entry into volunteering more than 30 years ago.

She started the flower basket program in 1996 as a way to beautify the downtown and as a fundraiser for the high school; last year it raised $16,000 — half of which went to the students and the other half to purchasing the Christmas lights that she installs every year.

But it’s her weeding and mowing program that allows individuals to work off their community service commitment in lieu of court costs and fines that she’s most known for.

“We weed from one end of Sequim to the other,” Westcott said. “It’s really worked out to be a good program.”

This was the first in-person community service awards event in two years. Because the 2021 ceremony was hastily switched to an online event due to COVID-19 restrictions, the honorees from that year — Bruce and Kathleen Reiter of Port Angeles, Jim Stoffer of Sequim and Captain-Crystal Stout of Sequim — were given an opportunity to speak Thursday night. (Last year, no event was held at all because of a predicted surge in Covid infections and no awards were given.)

The honorees were selected from eight nominations by a panel of six judges: Marty Brewer, Port Angeles School superintendent; Darling, former executive director of the Olympic Peninsula Chapter of the American Red Cross; Leslie Robertson, Port Angeles Chamber of Commerce events coordinator and a 2019 honoree; Danetta Rutten, Soroptimist International of Port Angeles Jet Set; Stout, Dream Catcher Balloon program and a 2021 honoree; and Kidd, Soroptimist International of Port Angeles Noon Club and a 2020 honoree.