Sequim Education Foundation volunteer named town’s Citizen of the Year

SEQUIM — Dick Hughes, Sequim Education Foundation president, received the Sequim-Dungeness Valley Chamber of Commerce 2011 Citizen of the Year award Tuesday.

The two other finalists for the awards — Donna Tidrick, Sequim Community Aid president and a leader with the group since 1983, and Cynthia Martin, Parenting Matters Foundation president and First Teacher program executive director — were honored with Community Service awards.

The awards were presented Tuesday during the Sequim-Dungeness Valley Chamber of Commerce’s annual awards luncheon at SunLand Golf & Country Club, attended by about 100 people.

“It’s a real honor and a real humbling experience,” said Hughes, calling himself “an old preacher” as he accepted the award from 2010 Citizen of the Year recipient Jim Pickett.

Hughes thanked his wife, Chris, who he said has been supportively by his side for about 30 years.

Patsene Dashiell, who nominated Hughes, said he is never one to waste time when it comes to helping people.

“I think Dick inspires excellence in everyone he comes in contact with,” she said.

Hughes was nominated for his dedication and involvement in the Sequim Education Foundation and the numerous programs SEF supports.

Hughes also is active in Sequim Noon Rotary, Sequim Wolf Pack Youth Football, the Sequim Middle School Interact Club and the Dungeness Valley Health & Wellness Clinic, as well as other volunteer efforts.

Hughes, who manages a trust and endowment fund that provide Sequim High School graduates with college and technical school scholarships, also helps provide clothing and school supplies to needy children. He also has been involved in a high school film festival that awards scholarships to student filmmakers.

The Sequim Education Foundation has established more than $50,000 in grants to teachers to help thousands of students.

The organization has supported the Engineering Challenge, open to students of all ages, which encourages math and science problem-solving and awards scholarships to students.

Myrna Ford, a Sequim Community Aid board member, said Tidrick, who almost 30 years ago joined the group, which helps needy families and individuals who are behind on their power and water bills, is “a woman I truly love.”

“She’s been a foster parent to 41 children over the years,” Ford said of Tidrick.

A nonprofit, all-volunteer group, Sequim Community Aid has helped hundreds within the Sequim School District since 1947, Tidrick said.

Ford said Tidrick spends much of her time seeking funding for the group and is always on the lookout for toys for the annual Christmas drive.

“Sequim Community Aid helps people in a crisis survive, and we could not operate without this kind of support,” Tidrick said.

“It’s an honor just to be among this group of three,” she said.

When she nominated Martin for the award, Nicole Brewer said Martin was “hands-down an advocate for early child education,” adding, “Her passion empowers others.”

“I am a better parent because of Dr. Cynthia Martin,” Brewer said.

Martin, who has a doctorate in human behavior, has been a major grant writer for the Parenting Matters Foundation and First Teacher. She also was responsible for the playground adjacent to Sequim Community School on Alder Street, Brewer said.

Through those grants, the foundation and First Teacher have been able to provide quality parenting programs, Brewer said.

Martin is involved in Prevention Works, the ­Clallam County Literary Council and United Way of Clallam County, as well.

“It’s so neat to have early childhood education being recognized as being important,” she said.

Martin specializes in adoption work while working as a psychologist. She and her husband, David, have eight children, seven of whom are adopted.

She has received the Public Health Hero of ­Clallam County Award, Clallam County Citizen of the Year Award, the Soroptimist International Rain Forest Education Award, the Community Drug Prevention Award, the Washington Association of School Administrators Community Leadership Award, the Clallam County Community Service Award, Rhododendron Citizen of the Year and the Soroptimist Education Award in Sequim and Port Angeles.

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Dungeness Valley Editor Jeff Chew can be reached at 360-681-2391 or at [email protected]

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