PORT TOWNSEND — Robert Reasoner retired 28 years ago. He worked in public education and spent 18 years as a schools superintendent in San Jose, Calif., where he pushed for science, technology, engineering and math.
Now 90 and living in Port Ludlow, Reasoner is still a STEM advocate, and he works at local, county and state levels to network with adults who are interested in the process.
Reasoner was one of eight community volunteers honored Tuesday during the Heart of Service awards luncheon at the Northwest Maritime Center in Port Townsend.
The 14th annual event was sponsored by the Peninsula Daily News, the Rotary Club of Port Townsend, the Port Townsend Sunrise Rotary Club and the East Jefferson Rotary Club.
Along with Reasoner, the adult winners were Randy Rosens, Kelly Liske and Jamie Bima. The youth winners were Sarah Lee, Ella Ashford and twins Eugenia and Viola Phillips-Frank.
The honorees were selected from nomination forms based on their dedication, sacrifice and accomplishments and for the extraordinary things they do for their neighbors, their community or the environment.
“It seems like I’ve been volunteering forever,” said Reasoner, who is considered an international expert on self-esteem programs.
“I want to thank you for volunteering,” he told members of the assembled Rotary clubs. “This is a proper organization.”
Rosens volunteers for about 150 hours per month at the Port Townsend Food Bank in addition to his work at Hamilton House, a home for adults with special needs.
During the First Saturday Art Walk, he offers ceramic cups for wine tasting for a minimum $10 donation, said Chuck Henry, who introduced Rosens on Tuesday.
“I don’t think he sleeps a lot because I’ve made a list of all the things he does,” Henry said.
Liske was raised in Jefferson County and graduated from Port Townsend High School in 1994. After she graduated from Western Washington University in Bellingham in 1999, she returned to the area with her husband, Tony, a fourth-generation Jefferson County resident.
Marianne Walters and Nancy Leeds introduced Liske, partially with her husband’s words.
“She’s just an outdoors girl at heart, a dyed-in-the-wool hot rod girl and a motorcycle mama,” Walters said, quoting Tony Liske.
Kelly Liske is the chief banking officer for First Federal in Port Townsend and is the president of Christmas for Children, a nonprofit started by Tony Liske’s family in 1974. The Liskes have two daughters, Abby, 13, and Emily, 10.
“Kelly spends November and December trying to make things better for more than 590 needy children,” Leeds said.
She’s also a Girl Scout leader whose troop sold the most cookies in the county this year, and she’s building support for a new track at Chimacum Schools to replace the current dirt surface.
“That effort landed her yet another board position for a nonprofit,” Leeds said. “Now she is both vice president and treasurer of Big Blue Boosters of Chimacum for which she has already begun friend and fundraising.”
Bima wasn’t able to attend Tuesday because she was attending the college graduation of her first connection in the Big Sister program.
“Being recognized by a community that has so many outstanding volunteers doing so many good things is truly amazing,” Bima said in a statement provided by Barbara Berthiaume, who nominated Bima.
“My own life has been enriched by the experiences and interactions I have had and the people I have met while volunteering.”
Each of the youths honored were in attendance.
Lee and Ashford are both seniors at Port Townsend High School, and Eugenia and Viola Phillips-Frank are freshmen at Chimacum High School.
Lee, who has been part of the Interact Club’s leadership team since she was a sophomore, plans to stay in Jefferson County to get an associate of arts degree in pre-law.
She participated in mock trial for four years and attended the international mock trial in San Francisco.
Ashford is the CEO, pilot and electrical and software engineer for the Sea Dragons, an underwater robotics team, which recently was recognized by the Environmental Protection Agency for its work with the Port of Brownsville.
The Sea Dragons volunteered to conduct a video survey that will be submitted into public record.
Ashford would like to study biomedical engineering and marine robotics with a continued focus on the environment.
“It really only takes one person to make a difference in a child’s life,” Ashford said as she encouraged others to volunteer. “Take a moment out of your day, get in contact with students, especially in this county, and make a difference in their lives.”
The Phillips-Frank sisters both are in Interact Club and participate in knowledge bowl.
“There is a long list of activities and events these girls have participated in,” said Brown, who nominated them.
“They have served their community with compassion and an eagerness to touch those lives that need that special attention to provide some brightness and hope.”
Jefferson County Managing Editor Brian McLean can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 6, or at [email protected].