PORT ANGELES — Four local heroes will be given Clallam County Community Service Awards on Thursday.
The reception will begin at 6:30 p.m. with the program starting at 7 p.m. at the Holy Trinity Lutheran Church at 301 E. Lopez Ave., in Port Angeles.
Nine community volunteers were nominated for the 2019 version — its 40th year — of the annual award sponsored by Soroptimist International of Port Angeles-Noon Club and the Peninsula Daily News.
The judges selected four award recipients. All are Port Angeles residents.
• Tim Crowley.
• Judy Hendrickson.
• Edna Petersen.
• Leslie Robertson.
For 25 years, Crowley — a member of the Olympic Kiwanis — has organized the annual Community Tuna Fish Drive, challenging other service clubs to a friendly competition in collecting cans of tuna fish for the Port Angeles Food Bank — or any other food bank the donor designates.
Crowley “has shown over the years his dedication to help others in his quiet, gentle manner,” said nominator Gwyn Callis of the Soroptimist International of Port Angeles, who also mentioned his work on the annual Kids Fest and other projects.
Jessica Hernandez, former executive director of the food bank, last year penned a letter of support for Crowley’s nomination for the 2018 award, saying he had served on the food bank board in a variety of leadership positions for 25 years and had been, along with other Kiwanis Club members, a “driving force for feeding hungry kids and families” through the annual Tuna Drive.
“Mr. Crowley has the heart of a volunteer: humble, patient, kind — and his ability to give is boundless,” Hernandez said.
Tuna fish was chosen as the food to focus upon because it is high in protein, easy to store and is one of the staples the food bank issues to families.
Thousands of cans are donated each year through the Tuna Drive. The goal for this year’s drive, which ended Monday, was 25,000 cans.
Hendrickson is the “community information switchboard ” for the Mount Pleasant neighborhood, said nominator Michael Mallinger.
She has taken a lead role in the Mount Pleasant Community Association, formerly the Mount Pleasant Grange, and oversees several committees that manage the community hall, said nominator Diane Wheeler.
Hendrickson organizes neighborhood emergency response and shelter-in-place training, writes a monthly newsletter, reports weather alerts and suspicious activity and even keeps track of everyone’s pets.
“During the recent February snowstorm, Judy sent out numerous emails to ask folks if they were okay and put together a list of several people who plow in our area,” Wheeler said. “She was our ‘situation status’ unit.”
Wheeler concluded: “She truly cares about this community and spends hundreds of hours each year to support the residents.”
Jamye Wisecup, program coordinator and trainer with the Clallam County Emergency Management Department, praised Hendrickson’s efforts to prepare the community for emergencies and said that her “critical assessments and creative problem-solving skills benefit all of Clallam County.”
Her work proves “how much one person can reach out and make a huge difference in life safety issues as well as growing a neighborhood that defines the meaning of a community where neighbors take care of neighbors,” Wisecup said.
“Without a doubt, Edna has made Port Angeles better than it was, so much better than it would have been without her,” said nominator John Brewer, former publisher and editor of the Peninsula Daily News, presently an at-large board member of the Port Angeles Business Association and recipient of a Community Service Award in 2018.
She was the driving force behind the Winter Ice Village and ice skating rink that surpassed all expectations for revenue and for drawing visitors to the downtown between November and January.
Petersen helped to expand the annual Fourth of July celebration into a daylong waterfront festival.
In 2017, she received The Gratitude Award from Healthy Families of Clallam County’s executive director, Becky Korby, after having donated since 2011 more than $8,000 in tips from the coffee bar at her gift shop, Necessities & Temptations, which she is closing this year.
In 1993, Petersen was the co-leader of a drive to make the YMCA debt-free and helped burn the $600,000 mortgage on the Y’s new building.
Petersen served a term on the Port Angeles City Council and multiple terms on the boards of the city’s chamber of commerce, Olympic Medical Center Foundation and Port Angeles Business Association — where she was elected president in 2015.
She created downtown sales events, worked to bring cruise ships to Port Angeles and has volunteered at myriad charitable events. In 2009, Petersen was one of three people who coordinated the massive Paint the Town campaign in which 45 buildings and storefronts were cleaned, painted or repaired.
She mentored new business owners and new residents, Brewer said, counting himself as one of those.
“Her ideas, her comments and yes, her criticisms, helped me do a better job as PDN publisher and editor,” Brewer said in his nomination letter.
The founder of the Revitalize Port Angeles Facebook group, Robertson “has been an amazing advocate for Port Angeles and she has been an incredible force for positivity in our beautiful town,” said nominator Carol Sinton, recipient of a Community Service Award in 2018.
“Since 2014,” when Robertson founded Revitalize Port Angeles, the town “has undergone a transformation to a far more positive attitude and sense of itself,” said Richard Schneider in his letter of support for Robertson’s nomination.
“It is no exaggeration to say that Leslie Robertson has been and continues to be a prime mover and a major player in this turnaround,” he said.
Several mentioned Robertson’s efforts in Outside’s Best Towns online contest in 2015, when she rallied the community to a second-place win in a national contest.
Many also mentioned her compassion in organizing condolence banners for the first-place winner, Chattanooga, Tenn., after a mass shooting there and delivering them to the city.
She volunteered at the ice skating rink this winter and has worked with children to develop artwork for fencing at Front and Lincoln streets and elsewhere in the downtown area.
“She has been a tireless community advocate for the city of Port Angeles, volunteering much of her time to make our area better,” said teacher Sarah Schaefermeyer in her letter of support.
Robertson serves as a board member for the food bank and for Girl Scouts, organizes apple pie eating contests during the Fourth of July celebration, helped with Light Up the Lincoln fundraising, helped to welcome the Lefties and served as an Arts and Draughts festival volunteer, among many other roles.
She has cleaned up and spiffed up portions of the Olympic Discovery Trail, the Laurel Street Fountain mural and the Port Angeles welcome sign.
“I can’t imagine what Port Angeles would be like without Leslie Kidwell Robertson,” said Iris Winslow in her letter of support.
“Her community spirit and positive energy make us all want to jump on her bandwagon and make good things happen.”
Serving as judges were Donna and Jim Buck, who were awarded a 2018 Community Service Award; county Commissioner Bill Peach; Elisa Simonsen, manager of First Security Bank; Betsy Reed Schultz, executive director of the Captain Joseph House Foundation, and Jim Hallett, a 2018 Community Service Award recipient.
Executive Editor Leah Leach can be reached at 360-417-3530 or at [email protected]insuladailynews.com.