Carol Curtis moved to Sequim knowing no one. She’s since found a warm community of friends.
                                (Diane Urbani de la Paz/for Peninsula Daily News)

Carol Curtis moved to Sequim knowing no one. She’s since found a warm community of friends. (Diane Urbani de la Paz/for Peninsula Daily News)

Home Fund helps senior with repairs

By Diane Urbani de la Paz

For Peninsula Daily News

SEQUIM — Wearing an impish smile, Carol Curtis will tell you: “I lived a semi-wild life in Seattle.”

A girl from a big, religious family in Kennewick, she lit out for the big city. Made a bunch of friends, ran an answering service business, worked a lot. On her own she raised a son and a daughter, and when they’d grown up, Curtis was ready for another big change.

In 1992, at age 51, she moved to a little town on the prairie.

“I had never been on the [North Olympic] Peninsula in my life. I didn’t know anybody,” Curtis recalled.

Unfazed, she rented a place in Happy Valley and found several part-time jobs. A woman who knows how to put together a sharp ensemble, she worked at a high-end clothing boutique near the Sunshine Cafe downtown.

Then Curtis became an Avon lady, calling on clients in their homes, spending time discussing skin care products, makeup and life.

“I loved it. I worked every day. I met so many people,” many of whom became her friends.

Curtis was as free a spirit as ever, but in Sequim, she found a home. She began attending Eastern Hills Community Church, where the congregation showed her a warmth she hadn’t felt before. These folks became her chosen family.

Moving here was the right decision.

“I think it was a God thing,” she said. “God picked me up and put my feet down here.”

One day Curtis walked by a little house a few blocks from downtown.

It was the kind of place she could picture herself in.

Her beloved big brother, Ardell, a land developer with money to invest, bought the house.

“He always had my back,” Curtis said.

In 1995 she moved in and transformed the bare yard into a flower garden: heirloom roses and dahlias in pink, purple, yellow.

“I never have enough flowers,” she said.

When he died in 2010, Ardell left the place to his sister.

Curtis was able to retire and live on her Social Security — yet owning her home didn’t mean she could afford to make improvements.

The house had plumbing problems and lacked good insulation, but her monthly check wasn’t going to stretch that far.

Through the Senior Information & Assistance Center, 411 W. Washington St., in Sequim, Curtis learned of the Olympic Community Action Programs (OlyCAP) and the possibility of help.

With the Peninsula Home Fund, a 29-year-old tradition on the North Olympic Peninsula, OlyCAP provides people such as Curtis with a hand up with the most essential of home repairs.

A voucher from OlyCAP paid for plumbing repairs; Curtis also received help with her heating and insulation.

Curtis now has a highly efficient, warm ductless heat pump. Her place also has new insulation, top to bottom.

The weatherization process took three days, she said; through it all the work crew was gracious, clean and careful.

This holiday season, Curtis is staying warm. She’s looking forward to the new year in her little house.

At 77, Curtis is emerging from some health problems.

She lost about 80 pounds, “not on purpose,” and then gained back 30.

She needs new clothes, so she shops the consignment stores in Sequim.

Curtis was brought up, after all, to dress up for church every Sunday.

“I’m a trendsetter,” she said, that smile flashing anew.

Peninsula’s safety net

The Peninsula Home Fund — a safety net for local residents when they suddenly face an emergency situation and can’t find help elsewhere — is seeking contributions for its annual holiday season fundraising campaign.

From Port Townsend to Forks, from Quilcene and Brinnon to Sequim and La Push, money from the fund is used for hot meals for seniors; warm winter coats for kids; home repairs for a low-income family; needed prescription drugs; dental work; safe, drug-free temporary housing; eyeglasses — the list goes on and on.

• The average amount of help this year has been $129 per person.

• All instances of help are designed to get an individual or family through a crisis — and back on the path to self-sufficiency.

Home Fund case managers often work with each individual or family to develop a plan to become financially stable — and avoid a recurrence of the emergency that prompted aid from the fund.

As needed, Peninsula Home Fund contributions are often used in conjunction with money from churches, service clubs and other donors, enabling OlyCAP to stretch the value of the contribution.

The goal again: “a hand up, not a handout.”

• No money is deducted by the Peninsula Daily News for administration fees or any other overhead.

Every penny goes to OlyCAP.

The money goes to help the most vulnerable members of our community, from infants to families to seniors.

Please note: Because of heavy community demands, the loss of grants because of the economy and recent cuts in government funding, OlyCAP beginning in 2012 was permitted to use 10 percent — 10 cents of every dollar donated — to pay for the vital programs and services for Home Fund clients. (Previously there were no deductions.)

• All contributions are IRS tax-deductible to the fullest extent of the law for the year in which the check is written.

Your personal information is kept confidential.

PDN and OlyCAP do not rent, sell, give or otherwise share your address or other information with anyone or make any other use of it.

Since its beginning in 1989, the fund has relied on the support of Jefferson and Clallam residents.

Using the $218,004 contributed to the Peninsula Home Fund in 2017, OlyCAP had helped 1,087 people from Jan. 1 to Sept. 30.

The remaining funding of f $64,611 will continue to help your friends and neighbors on the Peninsula through the middle of January — when 2018 donations will begin to offer a lifeline in 2019.

Apply for a grant

To apply for a Peninsula Home Fund grant, contact one of the three OlyCAP offices:

• OlyCAP’s Port Angeles office is at 228 W. First St., Suite J (Armory Square Mall); 360-452-4726. For Port Angeles- and Sequim-area residents.

• Its Port Townsend office is at 823 Commerce Loop; 360-385-2571. For Jefferson County residents.

• The Forks office is at 421 Fifth Ave.; 360-374-6193. For West End ­residents.

Leave a message in the voice mail box at any of the three numbers, and a Home Fund caseworker will phone you back.

OlyCAP’s website: www.olycap.org; email: [email protected]

Contributions so far

A number of generous individuals and organizations have been donating money to the Peninsula Home Fund since the first of the year.

While most of the money is raised between Thanksgiving and Dec. 31, the fund itself never closes.

Donations of any amount are always welcome.

To donate online by credit card, click on www.olycap.org/peninsula-home-fund.

Here is a list of the most recent donors whose Home Fund contributions were processed up to Tuesday last week.

Name and AmountPaul and Bertha Cooper, Sequim, $250.

Marjorie Whitmore, Sequim, $100. In honor of Dart Whitmore.

William and Jeanne Manzer, Sequim, $200.

Paul Howard, Port Angeles, $100.

Marie Cauvel, Port Angeles, $300. In memory of Dianne (2012) and Sylvia (2018) Durrwachter, with gratitude for our 50-year friendship.

Xi Iota Chapter of Beta Sigma Phi, Port Angeles, $500.

Terry and Patty Barlow, Port Angeles, $100.

Charles Williams, Port Angeles, $100.

Gary and Elaine Nelson, Port Townsend, $50.

John and Nancy Dolansky, Sequim, $125.

Ed and Cheryl Merrill, Port Townsend, $200.

Lorna Konopaski, Port Angeles, $100. In memory of Warren, Marty and Karen.

Rita Heywood, Sequim, $100.

Elizabeth Heisler, Port Angeles, $50.

League of British Women, Sequim, $100.

Stanley Johann, Sequim, $500. In honor of Mary Lou Johann.

Al and Kathy Cox, Sequim, $100.

April Kilgore and Monroe Stringham, Port Angeles, $25.

Don Allen, Port Townsend, $200. In memory of my precious wife, Kay Allen, whose concern for those in need was unmatched.

Stephen D. Murphy, Port Townsend, $100.

Name OnlyThe Marx Family, Port Angeles. In memory of Earl and Maxine Clark.

Greg and Vicki Sensiba, Sequim.

David and Marcia Chance, Port Angeles.

Paul Schwabe, Carlsborg. In loving memory of my friends that have passed.

Jerry Fisch, Sequim.

Bill and Sarah Tozier, Port Angeles.

Kerry and Marilyn Perkins, Port Angeles. In memory of Jeannie Seresun Rawley.

Rosemarie Jack, Sequim. In honor of Charles O. Jack.

Chris and Valerie Mohr, Sekiu.

Patricia Vautier, Port Angeles. In memory of Dan Vautier.

Veli Kallio, Joyce.

Hazel Vail, Port Angeles. In memory of Carol Chapman.

Dick and Donna Halsaver, Sequim.

Bonnie Dyrness, Sequim. In memory of “My Bill.”

Ed Robinson, Port Ludlow.

Charles W. Byrd, Sequim. In memory of Karen.

Maura and Roger Oakes, Port Angeles.

Pat Ferris, Port Angeles.

Carol Philpott, Port Angeles. In memory of Bob Philpott.

Robert and Sheila Becker, Port Angeles.

Doug and Sherri Smith, Sequim.

George and Jolie Will, Sequim

Jacqueline Hill, Port Angeles. In memory of Phil Hill.

Ed and Phyllis Hopfner, Port Angeles.

Bill and Marge Pieratt, Port Angeles.

Donna and Eric Miner, Sequim. In honor of all single-parent dads.

Leslie Campbell, Port Angeles.

Jean Epps, Sequim.

Jean Iroine, Port Angeles. In memory of my husband, James Saarinen.

M. J. Klay, Sequim.

Rich and Claudia Fox, Sequim. In memory of Danny Holmquist.

Zoe Bayton, Port Angeles. In memory of Ron Bayton.

Robert and Sheila Gregg, Port Angeles.

Mark and Stephenie Redlin, Port Angeles.

Robert Walthers and Nancy Johnson, Port Townsend.

Anne and Vincent Murray, Port Angeles.

John and Susan Bertholl, Sequim.

Richard and Karen Grennan, Sequim. In memory of all our loved ones who remain in our hearts.

Del and Kris Cadwallader, Port Angeles. In memory of friends Bob “Del” Delikat, Tim Marvin and John Pritchard. In honor of all current military and veterans. Thank you! God bless.

Bill and Robin Bains, Port Angeles.

Erwin and Diane Jones, Sequim.

Chapter 22 RPEC, Port Townsend.

Irma Stennes, Port Angeles.

James and Helen Karr, Sequim.

Laverne Dixon, Port Angeles.

Olympic Springs Inc., Carlsborg.

Carol Young and Glenn Browning Fund, Sequim.

Charles W. Byrd, Sequim. In memory of Karen.

Patsene and Mike Dashiell, Sequim.

Judy and Jerry Mann, Sequim.

Connie Clark, Sequim.

Kathi and Bob Pressley, Port Angeles. In honor of Florence Swanson.

Ray and Jane Erickson, Port Hadlock.

Steve and Karen Anderson, Port Angeles.

Bette Wood, Port Angeles.

Hazel M. Blake, Sequim.

Lee and Irene Wyman, Port Angeles. In memory of Erika Bird.

Dennis and Diane Isaac, Sequim. In honor of Karen and Dean Conklin.

Ellen A. Pryga, Port Angeles.

Demaris Juliussen, Sequim.

Ester and Elton Homan Community Fund, Hudson, Ohio.

Howard L. Bowen, Milwaukee, Wis.

Joanne Eagan, Port Angeles. In memory of Ruth Eagan.

Elizabeth Ann and Jackson L. Williams, Sequim.

Louis and Susan Kalmar, Sequim. In honor of Fire District 3 EMS.

Susan and Wayne Roberts, Port Angeles.

Cheryl and Jim Coulter, Sequim.

Kevin and Connee Foster, Port Angeles.

Jack and Janet Real, Sequim. In memory of Chuck Gustin and Carol Goodman.

Lillian Mowe, Port Angeles. In memory of Martin Risch.

Joe Twogood, Port Angeles.

Elizabeth Geddes, Port Angeles.

Donna M. Campbell, Sequim.

Dennis A. Duncan, Port Angeles. In memory of Dorothy C. Duncan.

Barbara Baker, Sequim. In memory of Cy Oden.

Jerry Macomber, Sequim.

Ellen and Barry Lerich, Nordland.

Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Klein, Sequim.

Mark and Pat Lewis, Sequim.

Nada Johnson, Port Angeles.

Brad and Nancy Anseth, Sequim.

Larry Martin, Sequim. In memory of Janet Martin.

V.A. Maxwell and Rennie Shannon, Port Angeles.

Robin Ornelas, Port Townsend. In memory of Gabriel Ornelas.

Ed Curington, Sequim.

Don W. Stoneman, Port Angeles. In honor of Helen Stoneman.

Diane Weyermann, Port Angeles.

David and Laurie Reeve, Port Angeles. In honor of Clallam County veterans.

AnonymousSequim, $100.

Port Angeles, $200.

Port Angeles, $500. In honor of Vince Bettger.

Sequim, $500.

Port Angeles, $125.

Port Angeles, $125. In honor of my parents.

Port Angeles, $50. In honor of Port Angeles Senior Center volunteers. Thank you for making a difference in our community.

Port Angeles, $50. In memory of Eleanor Tschimperle.

Sequim, $25.

Port Angeles, $100.

Port Angeles, $200. In memory of Michael W.

Port Townsend, $100.

Port Angeles, $25.

Sequim, $500

Sequim, $100.

Port Angeles, $500.

Sequim, $200.

Port Angeles, $100.

Sequim, $500. In memory of L.W. Roth.

Port Townsend, $100.

Port Angeles, $100.

Sequim, $100.

Port Angeles, $200.

Sequim, $500.

Sequim, $1,000.

Sequim, $65.

Sequim, $10.

Sequim, $100.

Fairbanks, Alaska, $1,000. In honor of Emil and Judy Moilanen.

Port Angeles, $200.

Sequim, $500.

Sequim, $100.

Sequim, $120. In memory of our parents.

Sequim, $200.

Sequim, $100.

Sequim, $100.

Port Townsend, $200. In memory of Kenneth.

Port Angeles, $250.

Sequim, $100.

Sequim, $100.

Port Angeles, $1,000. In memory of the Jones and Owen families.

Sequim, $100.

Sequim, $100.

Port Angeles, $250.

Sequim, $170.

Port Angeles, $100.

Port Angeles, $100.

Sequim, $50.

Sequim, $50.

Sequim, $100.

Port Angeles, $100.

Port Angeles, $600.

Port Townsend, $250.

Sequim, $1,000.

Port Angeles, $100.

Sequim, $500. In loving memory of Sally, a valiant lady.

Sequim, $1,000.

________

Diane Urbani de la Paz, a former features editor for the Peninsula Daily News, is a freelance writer living in Port Townsend.

Roses thrive in Carol Curtis’ Sequim yard. (Diane Urbani de la Paz/for Peninsula Daily News)

Roses thrive in Carol Curtis’ Sequim yard. (Diane Urbani de la Paz/for Peninsula Daily News)

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