From left, Don Hatler and Clare Manis Hatler on Tuesday accept their 2018 Sequim Dungeness Valley Citizen of the Year award from Sequim chamber board President Shenna Younger and Judy Reandeau Stipe, award ceremony emcee and the 2017 Citizen of the Year honoree. (Michael Dashiell/Olympic Peninsula News Group)

From left, Don Hatler and Clare Manis Hatler on Tuesday accept their 2018 Sequim Dungeness Valley Citizen of the Year award from Sequim chamber board President Shenna Younger and Judy Reandeau Stipe, award ceremony emcee and the 2017 Citizen of the Year honoree. (Michael Dashiell/Olympic Peninsula News Group)

Couple named Sequim’s Citizens of the Year

Hatlers honored for volunteer work

SEQUIM — Clare Manis Hatler and Don Hatler, a couple with ties to the region’s most documented archaeological find, were honored Tuesday by the Sequim community for their extensive — and appreciated — volunteer efforts throughout the community.

The Hatlers were named as recipients of the 2018 Citizen of the Year award by the Sequim-Dungeness Chamber of Commerce.

The couple and Nicole Lepping — an advocate for individuals with disabilities who started the Sequim Wheelers program — were the two finalists for Sequim’s top civic award. The winners were chosen by a committee of former award winners.

In accepting the honor at the chamber’s annual award luncheon at the Guy Cole Event Center at Carrie Blake Community Park, Clare Manis Hatler said she and her husband enjoy serving the Sequim community, the “last, best place on Earth.

“We’re embarrassed,” she said.

“I don’t know how to thank you. You are all Citizens of the Year.”

In the summer of 1977, Clare and Manny Manis made world headlines when they turned up the skeletal remains of a mastodon in their front yard.

For the next eight years, the Manis family opened the property to people from around the world to visit the site and watch the archaeological work taking place; it became a major U.S. tourist attraction. A recent study of the Manis mastodon provided proof of the oldest human settlement found to date in the Americas.

The mastodon, through the Manis’ generosity, remains in Sequim, partially reconstructed as part of a large exhibit at Sequim Museum & Arts — a key exhibit at the museum’s exhibit center for years.

“They literally put Sequim on the map,” said Annette Hanson, herself a Citizen of the Year award winner (1997) who was one of three locals to nominate the Hatlers.

Clare Manis Hatler’s other community projects since then have included being a charter member of the Dungeness River Audubon Center founding Board and serving as its nonprofit treasurer for many years; a long-time member and officer of the Olympic Peninsula Audubon Society Board, and working with the Washington Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, which resulted in the 1915 Railroad Bridge being placed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Don Hatler praised his wife’s efforts in the community.

“She’s been a tireless advocate for archeology and for the Sequim valley, and for the resources we enjoy,” he said.

Clare Manis Hatler and Don Hatler accept their 2018 Sequim-Dungeness Valley Citizen of the Year award Tuesday. (Michael Dashiell/Olympic Peninsula News Group)

Clare Manis Hatler and Don Hatler accept their 2018 Sequim-Dungeness Valley Citizen of the Year award Tuesday. (Michael Dashiell/Olympic Peninsula News Group)

Clare Manis Hatler also has served in board positions and as long-time members of the Clallam County League of Women Voters and Sequim Museum & Arts.

Widowed in 2000, Clare married Don Hatler in 2001.

Since Don Hatler’s retirement to Sequim in 1997, he has played a major role in helping to manage and an important community resource: water.

He has volunteered on several boards and committees to preserve the Dungeness Watershed, including the Clallam Conservation District’s Board of Supervisors, Puget Sound Anglers North Olympic Peninsula Chapter, and the Dungeness River Management Team representing sports fisheries.

He also served on the Clallam County Marine Resources Committee.

“Both Clare and Don have been very dedicated to our community,” Hanson said.

Before retiring and moving to Sequim, Don was involved in real estate, was a business broker, and owned a marina and sailboat dealership.

Lepping is a former special education teacher who worked with mobility challenged children.

At the end of 2017 she saw a video demonstrating use of a specially designed wheelchair bicycle used to provide a way for any mobility challenged individuals to be given a ride in a bicycle.

Recognizing Sequim was an ideal location for such a service — with its demographic of older individuals and the widely-used Olympic Discovery Trail for bikes — she applied for and was granted nonprofit status for Sequim Wheelers.

Since then, the program has grown — adding a board of directors, the purchase of its first wheelchair bicycle and a second on its way — and it launched the first week of July 2018. During the following 15 weeks, Sequim Wheelers volunteers provided 90 wheelchair bicycle rides to individuals in Sequim — some from local assisted living facilities.

Paul Muncey who, along with his wife Susan Hedding, is a board member with the Sequim Wheelers program, spoke for Lepping, who was on vacation and was unable to attend Tuesday’s awards luncheon.

“I know if she was here she’d say she is simply honored to be nominated,” Muncey said.

Muncey and James Castell nominated Lepping for the honor.

________

Michael Dashiell is the editor of the Sequim Gazette of the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which also is composed of other Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News and Forks Forum. Reach him at [email protected].

More in News

Carole Scholl of Port Angeles shows her support for women’s rights during a rally Saturday following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. For more on the rallies in Port Angeles, Sequim and Port Townsend, see Monday’s print and online editions. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)
Supporting women’s rights

Carole Scholl of Port Angeles shows her support for women’s rights during… Continue reading

Pat Woolman
Project Lifesaver client found after search

Project Lifesaver equipment helped deputies find a man who… Continue reading

Large response seen to Center Road fire

No one was hurt during a fire that burned down… Continue reading

Burn planned on Protection Island

A prescribed burn is planned on Protection Island National Wildlife… Continue reading

Myron Teterud, a longtime Sequim schools and community supporter, gives the crowd a salute after being honored as “Fan of the Century” at Sequim High School’s centennial celebration in January 2011. Sequim School Board directors agreed to name the SHS athletic field in honor of Teterud, along with naming the stadium stáʔčəŋ, a S’Klallam word meaning “wolf." (Michael Dashiell/Olympic Peninsula News Group file)
Names OK’d for Sequim stadium, field

Tribe, Teterud honored at athletic facility

Ammonia leak reported at paper mill

An ammonia leak from a tank at McKinley Paper… Continue reading

Matthew Nash/ Olympic Peninsula News Grup

The Sequim Police Department continues to investigate an early morning burglary on Friday at Coastal Farm Ranch.
Sequim business burglarized, police investigating

Coastal Farm & Ranch was burglarized early Friday morning. How… Continue reading

Abortion ruling leaves access unaffected in state

Peninsula healthcare providers respond

OMC vows full ER staff on July 1

PESI to dissolve as new group takes over

Most Read