Six to be honored with Community Service awards

Free event Thursday at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Port Angeles

PORT ANGELES — Six Clallam County residents will receive five 2024 Community Service Awards on Thursday.

The winners are Betsy Reed Schultz of Port Angeles, Gordon Taylor of Port Angeles, Stephanie Ellyas and Carolyn Fiveash of Sequim, Carol Labbe of Sequim and Don Zanon of Port Angeles.

The free ceremony will be at the Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, 301 E. Lopez Ave. in Port Angeles. The evening will begin with a reception at 6:30 p.m. and the program will follow at 7 p.m.

The awards, presented by Peninsula Daily News and the Soroptimist International of Port Angeles-Noon Club, recognize individuals who have made significant contributions to the Clallam County community.

“The Clallam County Community Service Awards are designed to honor the longstanding efforts and dedication of those individuals who generously contribute their time, energy and resources to strengthen our community,” said Eran Kennedy, publisher of the Peninsula Daily News. “These awards are an opportunity for our community to celebrate and recognize those who make a positive impact in the lives of others.”



Betsy Reed Schultz

Schultz is the founder of Captain Joseph House, a bed and breakfast turned weeklong home for Gold Star families.

Following the death of her son, Capt. Joseph Schultz, in combat in Afghanistan, Schultz turned her grief into building a place for personal healing for families who had lost someone in the military.

“She donated the bed and breakfast house and property as the first model of what should become a national resource for grieving families,” said Karen Powell, an original board member of the Captain Joseph House Foundation, in a letter of recommendation. “Then she proceeded to raise untold funds to change, adapt and rebuild the building and grounds to host healing families from all over our nation.”

The building now has separate living areas for three families, said Gary Velie, who also recommended Schultz for the award.

“Betsy has sought out support and donations to allow the travel and transportation of the guests from wherever they reside to Captain Joseph House, excursions while they are here and return to their homes,” Velie said. “Their stay includes all food, travel and excursions to the many beautiful areas of the North Olympic Peninsula during their one-week stay.”

Schultz also has been a member of the Port Angeles Downtown Association and the Port Angeles Business Association, and she served as president, vice president, treasurer and immediate past president of the Port Angeles Regional Chamber of Commerce during her tenure, said Claire Rausch, who nominated Schultz.

“As residents of Clallam County, we should be honored that our beautiful region is the setting to welcome Gold Star families from across the country to let them know we care,” Rausch said. “It would not have been possible without the commitment of hundreds of volunteers and Betsy’s leadership, passion and vision to guide the way.”



Gordon Taylor

Taylor is known for his volunteer work with the Peninsula Trails Coalition to support the Olympic Discovery Trail, said nominators Cari and Erik Rohrer.

“Gordon was instrumental in initiating the PTC’s system of Eco-Counters that monitor trail usage and activity,” the Rohrers wrote. “His research and recommendations combined with his multi-jurisdictional coordination has resulted in useful data that can be applied in a variety of ways.”

Steve Gray, deputy director of Clallam County’s public works department, listed many ways in which Taylor works behind the scenes.

“He is always working individually or with other volunteers, performing trail maintenance on the ODT route from east to west across Clallam County throughout the year,” Gray wrote in a letter of recommendation. “He is a key reason for the success of the Peninsula Trails Coalition Adopt-a-Trail Program.”

Taylor organizes work parties, clears downed trees, installs and maintains wayfinding signs and information kiosks, and he responds to public questions online and via social media, Gray said.

Corey Delikat, the parks and recreation director for the city of Port Angeles, said he meets Taylor at least once a month to focus on trail maintenance.

“He has truly helped the city in so many ways that you can’t put a price on the amount of countless volunteer hours prepping for projects, managing volunteers and providing his own volunteer labor,” Delikat said.

Lynn Fiveash (left) and Steph Ellyas (KEITH THORPE/PENINSULA DAILY NEWS)

Lynn Fiveash (left) and Steph Ellyas (KEITH THORPE/PENINSULA DAILY NEWS)

Ellyas and Fiveash

Ellyas leads the effort to provide a Veterans Clothing Closet in Clallam County, and Fiveash has been a staff member for three years.

“Four years ago, the local veterans stand-down discontinued offering clothing,” said Judy Tordini of the Michael Trebert Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, in her nomination letter. “Steph stepped up as a way to say ‘thank you’ to the veterans. She found an accessible building to organize and created a free store for veterans, families and the only women’s veterans room on the Peninsula.”

Fiveash comes from a long line of past and current military family members, Tordini said.

“The veterans have access to needed seasonal clothing, coats, canned foods, toiletries, shoes, boots and waterproof sleeping bags,” said Tordini, who added the team averages 400 veteran visits per year.

“Without them, we would not have reached the level of assistance we can now provide,” said Levi Douglas, administrator for the Northwest Veterans Resource Center in Port Angeles. “They have instituted a system that will last years to come and help countless veterans feel appreciated in our community no matter their circumstances.”



Carol Labbe

Labbe currently serves as president for the Sequim Guild for Seattle Children’s Hospital, which provides funds for research and uncompensated care for children and families who need financial assistance, said Sue Clary, vice president of the guild who nominated Labbe.

Labbe also worked as a secretary for many years at Helen Haller and Greywolf elementary schools in Sequim, Clary said.

“Carol epitomizes what it means to be an outstanding community member,” Clary wrote in her nomination letter. “She is constantly giving back to Clallam County’s kids.”

During the last 10 years, the Sequim guild has raised more than $320,000 for Seattle Children’s Hospital, Clary said.

Labbe has organized a number of fundraising events over the years, Galin Dowling wrote in a letter of recommendation.

“For 16 years, Carol has given over her garage and property to the annual garage and plant sale,” Downing said. “For weeks in advance, she works late into many evenings, organizing and displaying the hundreds of items donated for the event. She arranges for many guild members to assist with setup, event staffing and cleanup for this huge two-day affair at her home, to which she selflessly welcomes the public of Clallam County.”

Labbe also leads the two-day Christmas Cottage event in early December, Clary said.

“Carol is driven to raise money for ‘the kids’ and sponsors a silent auction four times per year,” Clary said. “During the COVID-19 (pandemic), Carol took our silent auctions online and we sold all of the items on each occasion.

“Each year, Carol makes 50-plus pies for sales, hundreds of batches of cookies and candies as well. She seeks out other venues where our guild can sell baked goods, jams and jellies.”



Don Zanon

Zanon has volunteered for a variety of organizations, including the North Olympic Library System board, a founding board member for Habitat for Humanity in Clallam County, the Kiwanis Community Foundation board and the Port Angeles Symphony Orchestra board.

He’s perhaps most well-known for his service with the American Red Cross, for which he’s volunteered since 2006, said Jean Pratschner, a Red Cross volunteer who nominated Zanon.

Zanon became a member of the Disaster Action Team, responding to local, countywide and national disasters where he trained others to assist hundreds of people who had suffered fires, floods, tornadoes, landslides and storms, and he often deployed to large-scale operations across the country, Pratschner said.

“Don is always the person to help encourage, teach and stimulate others to work for Red Cross and to serve in many capacities in that organization,” Pratschner said. “He has supervised and utilized the Americorp Workers over several years, giving their work for Red Cross a high visibility and reward.”

Zanon, who retired as the executive director at Peninsula Behavioral Health in 2006, works as a Red Cross mental health counselor, Pratschner said.

“Don himself was on call multiple times at all hours of the day and night when Red Cross volunteers were called by the local fire department in Forks, La Push, Clallam Bay and Neah Bay to respond in support of victims who were displaced from their homes,” said Bill Plumley, a Red Cross associate in Forks. “On many occasions, Don approved vouchers by telephone to help victims get a motel room for the night and an additional couple nights while the victims regrouped.”

The six recipients were chosen from 12 nominations by the judges, who were Danetta Rutten, Jet Set Soroptimist; Nancy Sievers; Anthony Sanders of Edward Jones; Drew Schwab, a Port Angeles City Council member; and Cherie Kidd, Soroptimist International of Port Angeles – Noon Club and a former award winner.

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