SEQUIM — “You wouldn’t believe how good this feels,” said Mark Powless, standing in front of his Sequim home.
The retired Costco worker watched as about 20 volunteers with Habitat for Humanity’s Care-A-Vanners program filled a dumpster, sorted appliances, bicycles and more while replacing a fence and painting a new coat of Seahawks’ colors on his home Tuesday. Their efforts’ in the city of Sequim helped start the two-week event of Sequim’s Service Fest running through Friday, June 15.
The event kicked off Monday night with author Peter Kageyama speaking in the Guy Cole Event Center followed by a special event Tuesday, at which staff and volunteers with Habitat for Humanity provided free paint for residents to decorate mailboxes, doors and other items.
They encouraged residents to use the hashtag #Sequimservicefest and post a picture of their projects on social media accounts.
Powless’ home on the 200 block of West Hammond Street was the first of four in the city to see large teams receive support from volunteers with Habitat for Humanity and the city of Sequim.
Andrea Putnam of Princeton, N.J., said this was her first cleanup effort through Habitat and that it “feels pretty satisfying” to help.
She was one of 20 Care-A-Vanners to travel to Sequim to help with projects. Some, like Putnam, have traveled cross-country while others drove from Bremerton and Bellingham to support the two-week event.
Rick and Paula Huls, full-time RVers, served as team leaders on Powless’ home. Rick Huls said they’ve previously helped with 47 other Care-A-Vanners programs with most of those building single-family homes.
Most of the volunteers learned trades from their time volunteering, Rick Huls said.
The couple, who has been on the road since 2010, said they plan to move to Sequim soon after 10 years on the road.
“For us, it’s our backyard,” Rick Huls said on why they wanted to help here.
Powless, who has owned the home with his wife, Margaret, since 2000, said a family member of his “used to bring in anything and everything home” and since he lost his left leg to diabetes it’s become harder to manage the debris.
He was prompted to sign up for help when he saw an announcement for Service Fest in his city utility bill and figured he’d apply.
Powless’ home was the first of two projects with the second home this week at the corner of Fourth Avenue and Spruce Street.
Through Friday this week and then from Monday through June 15, volunteers will work on neighborhood revitalization projects and potentially some public projects. Sign-ups begin daily at 8 a.m. at the Guy Cole Event Center in Carrie Blake Community Park.
Service Fest will end with a closing ceremony at 5:30 p.m. Friday, June 15, at the James Center for the Performing Arts followed by a concert by Black Diamond Junction.
Joy in Mudville performed for the festival Wednesday.
For more information or to volunteer for Service Fest, contact Assistant City Manager Joe Irvin at 360-582-2457 or [email protected] wa.gov or Habitat for Humanity of Clallam County at [email protected] clallam.org, 360-775-3742 or by visiting www.habitat clallam.org.
Matthew Nash is a reporter with the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which is composed of Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News, Sequim Gazette and Forks Forum. Reach him at [email protected].