PORT ANGELES — The volunteer work of four Clallam County residents has been recognized with three 2021 Community Service Awards.
Bruce and Kathleen Reiter, Jim Stoffer, and Captain-Crystal Stout were honored as the winners of the 41st annual awards.
“We are here tonight to recognize these four individuals who have been nominated by their neighbors for their dedication to community service,” said Peninsula Daily News Publisher Terry Ward, as he presented the honors in a virtual ceremony on Thursday.
The annual award, which was begun by the PDN and is now co-sponsored by Soroptimist International of Port Angeles-Noon Club, was created to recognize the dedication, sacrifices, and accomplishments of Clallam County people who do extraordinary things for their neighbors, their community, or the environment.
Nominations are made by members of the community to the Peninsula Daily News. The recipients are selected from those nominations by a blue-ribbon judging committee that includes at least one former Community Service Award honoree.
Bruce and Kathleen Reiter
Bruce and Kathleen Reiter, who shared an award, are best known for their service with the Emergency Operations Center, where they have given more than 1,000 hours of service as amateur radio operators.
Both are members of Clallam County Amateur Radio Emergency Services group, which is part of Clallam County Emergency Management, said nominator Joe Wright, who described them as “the perfect example of dedicated volunteers.”
Bruce is a previous emergency coordinator and Kathleen is the training officer for the group.
”We were really kind of surprised at the folks who nominated us and that was very nice of them,” Kathleen said Thursday.
“We’ve been working with them for several years now and it was very nice of them to think of us that way.
“We just feel we are just being good citizens of the community and if you can do something to help somebody, you are pretty well obligated to do that.”
Kathleen was also honored for her organizational work arranging vaccination clinics in Port Angeles.
Jim Stoffer has lived a life of service, beginning with his service in the Coast Guard.
After retiring in 2010, Stoffer jumped into community service and has served the community of Sequim and greater Clallam County in a variety of ways, from service on the Sequim School Board for the last two terms, to working with the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Olympic Peninsula lunch program, nominators said.
“I’m always looking for opportunities to help and that’s always been part of me, from both my faith and service,” Stoffer said Thursday.
”My faith is about doing all the good you can by all the means you can and all the ways you can and all the places you can and all the times you can as long as you can,” Stoffer said.
“Our ethos in the Coast Guard is about being a model citizen in the community in which you live and always do good.
“So taking those to things my faith and my work is really how I carry myself.”
During the pandemic, Stoffer’s dedication to service, especially food distribution, was kicked into high gear, said nominator Patricia McCauley.
“This program distributed food to around 400 cars, twice each week for at least six months at the Sequim Methodist Church. Jim was always busy working the event but also getting the word out through social media to all those in the area who might need help,” McCauley said.
Stoffer said he was surprised he received the service award.
“I was like wow, I wasn’t expecting it,” he said.
”I don’t do this for the recognition. I just do it because it’s the right thing to do for our community.”
Stout — along with her therapy dog, Lucee-Light — runs the nonprofit Dream Catcher Balloon Program in Sequim which provides hot air balloon rides to veterans, those who are wheelchair-bound and any who otherwise would not be able to experience the opportunity.
Stout has flown over 3,000 people in a hot air balloon, including 35 children from Shiners Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah.
“I’m so thrilled, excited, and surprised to be one of the recipients,” Stout said.
”There are so many people out there who have done so much for our community and to be honored this way, it touches my heart.”
Stout also thanked her team that helps run the hot air balloon program.
“We do a lot of stuff for our community with the balloon crew,” she said.
“We put the Christmas lights up in Sequim. We also do the dream catcher balloon which gives so many people a chance to fly and I can’t do this without my team behind me,” Stout said.
Reporter Ken Park can be reached at [email protected].