By Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News
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The Heart of Service recognizes outstanding community work that has made a difference — and that has made Jefferson County a better place.
This year's recipients will be announced in the Peninsula Daily News on Sunday, May 12.
Nominations for the Heart of Service are made annually to the PDN, and the recipients are selected from those nominations by a blue-ribbon judging committee that includes leaders of the three Jefferson County Rotary Clubs.
The award ceremonies — open to the public — begin at noon Tuesday, May 21, in the Maritime Meeting Room at the Northwest Maritime Center, 431 Water St. in downtown Port Townsend.
Peninsula Daily News
The award recipients are:
■ Leo Campbell, a retired Marine Corps major who has led Port Angeles High School's NJROTC — Navy Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps — by example since 2003 and has poured thousands of service hours into the Port Angeles community, both as an individual and through inspiring the students of the NJROTC unit.
■ Thelma McCoy, an accomplished pianist who has given not only her talents to the North Olympic Peninsula's musical community but also her skill and passion as a teacher to hundreds of aspiring musicians.
■ Venay Money, a spirited and dedicated advocate for veterans across Clallam County who has spent the past 25 years making sure those who have served our country in war are respected, honored and thanked.
■ Chuck Preble, tireless organizer, engineer and “boots on the ground” dynamo who has for years led efforts to build and extend the Olympic Discovery Trail.
■ Shawnna and Dan Rigg, dynamic duo in Sequim whose passion for lending a hand compels them into myriad arenas of community service.
■ Janet Young, whose dogged enthusiasm and tenacity took her all the way to Olympia to secure money to build the Peninsula's first fully functional Americans With Disabilities Act-compliant playground in Shane Park, named for her son who died of injuries suffered there when it was being constructed in 1973.
The Clallam County Community Service Award honors the “dedication, sacrifice and accomplishments” of community leaders and volunteers “who have made a difference in Clallam County, who have made our communities a better place by doing extraordinary things for their neighbors, their community or the environment.”
This is the 34th year of the award, begun by the Peninsula Daily News and now co-sponsored by Soroptimist International of Port Angeles-Noon Club.
The seven recipients of the 2013 Community Service Award will receive framed award certificates at a reception in the downstairs meeting room at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, 301 E. Lopez Ave., Port Angeles, that begins at 6:30 p.m. Thursday.
The reception is open to the public and will include coffee and desserts.
Admission is free.
A judging committee that included past Community Service Award recipients selected the seven from 32 people nominated by individuals, clubs, churches, businesses and other organizations.
“These are truly local heroes, working to make community life stronger, tighter, happier, richer — busy people who unselfishly give their time and energy to help others, who always seem to be able to make time to offer a hand or a shoulder,” said John Brewer, PDN publisher and editor.
Corey Delikat, Port Angeles Parks and Recreation director, wrote that he first read of Young's idea for Shane Park in a letter she had written to the Peninsula Daily News in 2010.
“Janet was timid and shy at first, but then her passion and 'can-do attitude' took over and inspired everyone that was there to help,” Delikat wrote.
“If I had to guess, I would say that Janet volunteered around 4,000 hours by herself over a three-year period.”
D Bellamente, director of the Port Angeles Senior Center where Young often volunteers, wrote:
“Janet's ability to identify and pull together volunteers possessing the skills this project needed was nothing short of awesome.
“Janet's willingness to step outside her comfort zone to spur a grassroots effort has made Port Angeles a better place.”
Delikat continued in his letter:
“Janet was once quoted in the [Peninsula Daily News] by saying, 'I don't want this to be about me. I want it to be about the park.'
“Well, I disagree. We were all there because of Janet and her drive, determination, passion and heart were contagious.
“This $300,000 project would never have happened without her.”
Shawnna and Dan Rigg
“They are perhaps the most dynamic couple in terms of community service in Sequim,” wrote Stephen T. Rosales, president and director of the Sequim Food Bank. He nominated the couple.
Rosales, himself a 2011 recipient of the Community Service Award, noted that the Riggs are heavily involved in numerous community events and efforts throughout Sequim, including Shawnna's work to turn the Sequim Youth Baseball League from the brink of collapse and the creation of a new softball field for the girls league.
“They took the ball and literally ran with it, and within one year, they built a new field without any government help,” Rosales wrote.
The Riggs' passion for service also has led them to key organizational roles in the Sequim Irrigation Festival, according to Rosales, in addition to helping however they can at the Sequim Food Bank and Boys & Girls Club.
“They never seek attention but are always looking for ways to make Sequim the best place to live and raise a family in our great nation,” Rosales wrote.
Eleven detail-filled letters nominated Preble, vice president for Clallam County of the Peninsula Trails Coalition.
Volunteers and government officials from jurisdictions the Olympic Discovery Trail crosses in Clallam and Jefferson counties praised Preble for his skill in working on multiple trail issues with “phenomenal mental and physical energy.”
“Among his many accomplishments is the central role he has played over the years working with several of these jurisdictions to develop and present multiple grant proposals, totaling $500,000, which were awarded and successfully implemented,” wrote Chris Gutmacher and Andy Stevenson, co-presidents of the Peninsula Trails Coalition.
Gutmacher and Stevenson also lauded Preble for currently running two to three work parties weekly to finish the shoulders of the newest piece of trail from 10th Street and Milwaukee Drive to Kaycee Way in Port Angeles.
Wrote Carol Brown, manager of community development for the Lower Elwha Klallam tribe:
“We raise our hands to Chuck Preble, his work with the Peninsula Trails Coalition and the honorable manner that work is completed with respect for the land and people along trail projects of the Olympic Peninsula.”
Port Angeles Public Works Director Glenn Cutler wrote that he worked with Preble for the past 10 years on the portion of the Olympic Discovery Trail that stretches from Morse Creek to the Elwha River.
“[Preble] has been a key driver in the success of envisioning, designing and constructing this beautiful section of trail,” Cutler wrote.
“Chuck is an individual who will not take no for answer.”
“I've worked with Venay at the Voices for Veterans Stand Downs in Big Momma's General Store section where military veterans can get new and used supplies,” wrote Port Angeles resident Tony Cook, director for Voices for Veterans and himself a disabled vet, in a letter nominating Money for the Community Service Award.
“Venay showed an uncanny ability to calm disgruntled 'customers' and a passion to help distribute the limited supplies in a fair manner to needy people, either military veterans or non-veterans.”
Money's husband is a disabled veteran of the Vietnam War.
She is the president of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Ladies Auxiliary in Port Angeles and serves as secretary of both the Clallam County Veterans Center and Voices for Veterans in Port Angeles.
She was one of eight recipients of the 2012 Outstanding Service to Veterans Award from the state.
Money is also a lead coordinator in the Disabled American Veterans Transportation Network, where she works to organize veterans' trips to and from medical facilities in Seattle.
“Venay has been instrumental in increasing the Disabled American Veterans van volunteer drivers from three to 11 in her community, providing transportation for local veterans to the VA Facility in Seattle,” wrote Tammy Sullenger, Clallam County veterans' coordinator, in a letter supporting Money's nomination.
McCoy is a 47-year veteran of teaching music on the Peninsula and 20 years in other cities across the United States.
“One cannot think of music in the Port Angeles area without acknowledging Thelma and her wonderful influence on many young people,” wrote Port Angeles resident Joan Quigley, who met MCoy at a 1992 meeting of the Music Teachers National Association in Port Angeles.
McCoy and her late husband, Dick, started teaching music on the Peninsula in the 1950s.
McCoy would go on to form the local Peninsula chapter of the Washington State Music Teachers Association and founded the Monday Musicale program with Rosemary Brauninger in 1968 to raise scholarship money for outstanding local graduating high school music students who were headed to college.
McCoy also has been active in many roles with the Port Angeles Symphony Orchestra.
“It amazed me that in spite of her heavy teaching load, she could and did find the time to practice and play with me,” Brauninger wrote in a nomination letter.
McCoy, who would often teach lessons for little or no charge and offered free musical accompaniment to various community events and get-togethers, was inducted into the Washington State Music Teachers Hall of Fame in 2010.
“[McCoy] and her piano students have made outstanding contributions in performances and accompaniments for countless instrumentalists and singers here and around the country,” wrote Loran Olsen, professor emeritus of music at Washington State University.
Maj. Leo Campbell
Eight letters came in from colleagues, friends and students extolling Campbell's virtues as a selfless teacher, always willing to give.
“Major has been an active member of our community, giving thousands of hours not only in community service, but being a positive mentor for children in our community,” wrote Leslie Perrizo, a parent of one of the students serving in Campbell's unit.
“It's his natural leadership abilities and personal compassion that has helped to shape future citizens of our community,” wrote retired Navy Master Chief Petty Officer Jeff Perry, Campbell's second in command.
Campbell also was lauded for the improvements he brought to the high school's NJROTC unit, a position he took up in 2003 and will retire from this year.
“He has truly done a tremendous job turning the program around and mentoring the students to achieve some incredible group and individual accomplishments,” wrote Garry Cameron, principal of Port Angeles High School.
Wrote Warren and Marissa Taylor, neighbors of Campbell's:
“I have witnessed Leo on several occasions giving of his personal time to help a student in need and making sure they are moving in the right direction.”
Reporter Jeremy Schwartz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5074, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.