PORT ANGELES — A gathering of heroes who quietly worked behind the scenes will be in the spotlight Thursday during the reception for the Clallam County Community Service Awards for Public Service reception.
Volunteers, all of whom have stepped up in diverse ways, will be given framed award certificates at the reception in the downstairs meeting room at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, 301 E. Lopez Ave., Port Angeles, that begins at 6:30 p.m., with the program beginning at 7 p.m.
The reception is free and open to the public.
The award honors community 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 year’s recipients are:
• Tammy Sullenger, who was nominated by six people for her for long-standing and dedicated service to veterans.
• Dianna Cross of Sequim, a longtime volunteer in the Clallam County office of the American Red Cross.
• Jo Oliver of Sequim, a retired registered nurse who has volunteered at the Red Cross office since 1998.
• Mary Sherwood of Port Angeles, who volunteers her registered nursing services at Volunteers in Medicine of the Olympics, and even makes house calls.
• Charles Devoney, Jim Walsh, Gary Marler and Bob Agee, Port Angeles Police Department volunteers who have together donated an estimated 20,000 hours of service to the department.
This is the 38th year of the Clallam County Community Service Award, begun by the Peninsula Daily News and now co-sponsored by Soroptimist International of Port Angeles-Noon Club.
A blue-ribbon judging committee selected the honorees from nominations made by individuals, clubs, churches, businesses and other organizations.
“The quality of outstanding nominees made it difficult for the judges to narrow down the field to a handful recipients,” said Terry R. Ward, Peninsula Daily News publisher.
“Clallam County should be proud to have so many dedicated community volunteers giving their time, effort and energy to make our community better each day.”
Here is more information about this year’s recipients.
Sullenger, once the Clallam County veterans coordinator — who reorganized policy in a way that has been “copied and implemented by other counties in the state,” continued working for veterans after moving to another county position and “has retained much of the work of her former paid position, now doing it in her ‘spare time,’ ” said County Administrator Jim Jones, one of those who nominated her for the award.
“Even after changing roles, she has continued to serve veterans and their families as a volunteer during her off time,” said Jeff Reyes, administrator of the Northwest Veterans Resource Center.
In her volunteer roles as secretary of the Clallam County Veterans Association and Green Alliance for Veterans board member, she is an essential part of organizing such events as the annual Veterans Day ceremony at the Port Angeles Coast Guard station, the monthly bell-ringing ceremonies at Veterans Park, the Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans ceremony and the annual Stand Down for veterans, nominators said.
“Never in all of these years have I ever met someone like Tammy, who willingly sacrifices so much of her personal time to help so many others,” Reyes said, his sentiments echoed by Gary Velie, president of the Clallam County Veterans Association; Cheri Tinker, president and executive director of Sarge’s Place in Forks; Clallam County Commissioner Randy Johnson; and Norman Goodin, service officer with the American Legion Post 29.
“She has always been there for veterans in need,” Goodin said.
Cross, who is 91, has volunteered with the American Red Cross for more than 30 years and been deployed to scenes of disaster seven times, said Jamie Goodwin, R.N., who nominated Cross for the award.
“While the years may have slowed Dianna down, somewhat, she does not allow much to stop her,” Goodwin said.
On Mondays, Cross helps with paperwork at the Captain Joseph House in Port Angeles. Tuesdays she works as a staff member at the Red Cross office in Carlsborg. Twice a year, she works booths for a local grange bazaar, and she is part of a group at Queen of Angels Church that puts together baskets and clothing for people in need.
A fellow American Red Cross volunteer, Oliver was the senior RN in the agency’s Carlsborg office from ’98 until about 2012, said Goodwin in her nomination.
“She worked tirelessly helping victims of house fires and other devastating events, “Goodwin said. “Her background in emergency nursing fueled with great compassion expedited the recovery efforts for many families.”
Oliver has trained many Disaster Action Team volunteers, who are on call to help with those in emergencies.
Both Oliver and Cross were honored in March by the Clallam County commissioners for their long service with the Red Cross.
“You would think that at an age somewhere a bit north of the mid-70s and impaired ambulation, Mary would slow down a bit. Well, think again, as many of us would be hard-pressed to keep up with her myriad activities,” said Dr. Edward A. Hopfner, who nominated Sherwood for the award.
As an RN volunteering at the free VIMO clinic, Sherwood developed a wound care clinic, Hopfner said.
“However, Mary goes far beyond caring for patients in the clinic by making house calls — sometimes far out of Port Angeles — bringing dressing changes, medical food and sometimes, just plain food,” the doctor said, adding that she also drives patients to appointments.
Sherwood also provides respite care for Volunteer Hospice of Clallam County and serves on the agency’s board, chairing its personnel committee. She gives rescue dogs a home and has served as a guardian ad litem.
“Mary is an incredibly caring person” who is “remarkable in dealing with patients in a crisis,” said Joseph N. Cress, who serves with Sherwood on the Volunteer Hospice committee.
Police department volunteers
Gary Marler and Charlie Devoney have served for 19 years as volunteers with the Port Angeles Police Department. Bob Agee has volunteered for 15 years and Jim Walsh for 14 years, said Chief Brian Smith, who nominated the men for the award.
“All four of these gentlemen have at different times taken leadership roles in our volunteer program,” Smith said.
“And the four can be credited for the strength of the program we have today and our diverse group of 29 active volunteers.”
City Manager Dan McKeen praised the four volunteers’ dedication, loyalty and commitment in a letter of support, saying they provide “a valuable and noble service to the community.”
The four volunteers are “truly the heart and soul of the PAPD volunteer program,” said retired Chief Terry Gallagher in a letter of support.