SEQUIM — On four yellow pieces of notebook paper, Louie Rychlik had penned his acceptance speech.
It featured one sentence: “I don’t walk on water.”
Clearly, he is a man who prefers action to words.
On Tuesday, the Sequim-Dungeness Valley Chamber of Commerce honored Rychlik, a longtime businessman and volunteer, with its 2015 Citizen of the Year award.
Owner of Louie’s Well Drilling of Port Angeles, Rychlik gained kudos from the organization thanks to his philanthropic and volunteer endeavors throughout the community.
He aided the Sequim Museum & Arts Center addition of an elevator at the Dungeness Schoolhouse, the city of Sequim’s Music in the Park series, local Sequim festivals, construction of a BMX track and various other community efforts.
It’s the Veterans Monument that Rychlik said is his favorite.
Featuring a cavalcade of flags and inscribed tiles recognizing veterans of all U.S. military branches, the monument is at 544 N. Sequim-Dungeness Way across from the Sequim High School campus.
“That’s special,” Rychlik said. “I thought, ‘I have to do more for the veterans.’ ”
Judy Reandeau Stipe, volunteer director of the MAC, nominated Rychlik.
“He’s the one person we think about when we need something done,” she said.
“He doesn’t stop giving for any reason.
“He has no expectation for anything,” she added. “He’s just absolutely amazing.”
Rychlik, who serves as treasurer for the MAC, was quick to deflect praise to his helpers, particularly John Dickinson and Dan Smith.
“If we didn’t have them, we wouldn’t have the museum or the Veterans Monument,” Rychlik said. “I just call them and they’re with me.”
A committee of past recipients selected the finalists that included Rychlik; Vern Fosket, Sequim High School band director; Judy Lange, board member/group leader at the Shipley Center, and Tim and Branette Richards, volunteers for various groups.
Fosket was nominated for his dedication to projects beyond his role as high school band instructor at Sequim High School, serving as an event organizer for various concerts, parades and events in and outside the community for the past 18 years.
He was inducted into the Washington Music Educators Hall of Fame in 2014.
Don Baron, parent of an SHS band student, nominated Fosket.
Lange was nominated for leading several groups of knitting, crochet and fiber arts at the Shipley Center.
She also is the past two-term board member of the Shipley Center and heads up the efforts of the Shipley Center craft store.
She participates in groups that create hats and blankets for sick infants, homeless veterans, cancer patients, memory care residents and for First Step and Sequim Community Aid.
Lange also provides lessons in knitting and crocheting to groups of children.
Michelle Rhodes, development and program director at the Shipley Center, nominated Lange for the honor.
“She’s been an important volunteer for 20 years now. The impact on everyone at every stage of life is amazing,” Rhodes said of Lange.
“She works hard and never seeks recognition.”
Melissa Murray nominated the Richards, noting the couple’s volunteerism with local faith groups and projects including My Choices — a nonprofit pregnancy care center for Clallam County — and The Faith Puzzle series.
“They are shining a bright light in this community,” Murray said.
Prior Sequim Citizens of the Year are Cliff Vining, 2014; Gary Smith, 2013; Kevin Kennedy, 2012; Dick Hughes, 2011; Jim Pickett, 2010; Tom Schaafsma, 2009; Walt and Sherry Schubert, 2008; Stephen Rosales, 2007; Bob and Elaine Caldwell, 2006; Lee Lawrence, 2005; Emily Westcott, 2004; John Beitzel, 2003; Gil Oldenkamp, 2002; Don Knapp, 2001; Robert Clark, 2000.
Also, Bill Fatherson, 1999; Jim and Cathy Carl, 1998; Annette Hansen, 1997; Esther Nelson, 1996; Rochelle McHugh, 1995; Rand Thomas, 1994; Paul Higgins, 1993; Bud Knapp, 1992; Nina Fatherson, 1991; Bill and Judy Rowland, 1990.
Also, Jim Haynes, 1989; Annette Kuss, 1988; Jeff Shold, 1987; Ruby Mantle, 1986; Ed and Marcia Beggs, 1985; Bill and Shirley Keeler, 1984; Don and Vivian Swanson, 1983; Guy Shephard, 1982; Howard Herrett, 1981; Iris Marshall, 1980.
Also, Ruby Trotter, 1979; Marcia Welch, 1978; Nellie Tetrude, 1977; Chuck Southern, Howard Wood and Lorna McInnes, 1976; Jerry Angiuli, 1975; Katie and Bill Merrill, 1974; None in 1973; Tom Groat, 1972; Virginia Peterson, 1971; Virginia Keeting, 1970; Carl Klint, 1969; and Peter Black, 1968.
Michael Dashiell, editor of the Sequim Gazette, is a member of the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which is composed of Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News, Sequim Gazette and Forks Forum. Reach him at [email protected]