By Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News
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The Heart of Service honors the “dedication, sacrifice and accomplishments” of community leaders and volunteers “who have made a difference in Jefferson County, who have made our communities a better place by doing extraordinary things for their neighbors, their community or the environment.”
This year's recipients are:
■ “The Three Amigos”: Don Bolen, Ernie Jaap and Fred Spann. A telecommunications business executive, an airline pilot and a rocket scientist, all retired, they have quietly and unassumingly made themselves indispensable at Dove House Advocacy Services in Port Townsend through hundreds of hours of volunteer work and by forming positive relationships with Dove House's clients.
■ Cass and Tom Brotherton, a couple with their hands elbow deep in everything Quilcene who, since moving to the close-knit community eight years ago, have worked unflinchingly to improve their adopted home.
■ Jim “Kiwi” Ferris and the late Charlie Moore, Port Townsend business owners with boat-building in their blood and community service in their hearts who spent years donating their time an energy to fundraising and nonprofit efforts.
■ Linda Kostenbader, a longtime member of the East Jefferson Rotary Club who shares her talents, energy and passion for community service with the student members of Chimacum High School's Rotary Interact Club.
■ Christopher Pieper, a dedicated and motivated Chimacum High School student who has devoted much of himself to community service.
■ Seth Rolland, a local food advocate whose organizational skills have helped secure sustainable sources of fresh fruit for both Port Townsend students and the city's food bank.
This is the eighth year for the Heart of Service award, sponsored by the Peninsula Daily News, the Rotary Club of Port Townsend (noon club), the Port Townsend Sunrise Rotary Club and the East Jefferson Rotary Club.
A judging committee selected the 10 Heart of Service recipients from nominations made by individuals, clubs, churches, businesses and other organizations.
It is the largest group of honorees in the award's history — and the first time one of the awards has been presented posthumously.
“These 10 are truly local heroes, working to make community life stronger, tighter, happier, richer,” said John Brewer, PDN publisher and editor.
“They represent the backbone of the community — busy people who always seem to be able to make time to offer a hand or a shoulder.
“And they may be people whose names many residents don't know.
“They don't give to our communities because they expect either reward or recognition.”
Open to the public
The 10 will be honored with framed award certificates and heart-shaped medals designed by Steve Rafoth, president and CEO of Enclume Design Products in Port Hadlock and past president of the Rotary noon club.
The awards will be presented at a luncheon at the Northwest Maritime Center, 431 Water St., in downtown Port Townsend at noon Tuesday, May 21.
The luncheon is open to the public.
Friends and admirers of the recipients are invited to attend.
Lunch costs $12 for soup, salad and a sandwich, and about $10 for soup and a salad.
Cass and Tom Brotherton
A stack of 19 letters, almost all from the Quilcene-Brinnon area, nominated the Brothertons.
“They have made a huge financial investment in this community but more importantly, their multiple and varied contributions have caused a mental shift in the reshaping of this town that I call home,” lifelong Quilcene resident Mari Phillips wrote.
Other letters from friends, family and Quilcene business owners lauding the numerous ways the Brothertons have worked to make Quilcene a better place over the past eight years, the most significant being the rebirth of the Quilcene Village Store.
“The entire family, including a younger generation, is operating the store, which supports local farmers, artisans, and has turned the store into a gathering spot for various activities,” Quilcene residents James and Carol Christiansen wrote.
Among the couple's other accomplishments, the letters praised Cass Brotherton for organizing a volunteer K-3 math and phonics tutoring program and her leadership in the Quilcene-Brinnon Garden Club.
Tom Brotherton was cited for his service on the Jefferson County Planning Commission, his passion for giving free legal advice and the couple's formation of the nonprofit “Count Me In For Quilcene” to raise funds for local community improvements.
“As my wife and I raise our child, my parents are creating a great model of community service with a smile which is inspiring to our whole family, leading all of us to give more to our newly adopted community as well,” wrote the Brotherton's son, Greg.
Jim 'Kiwi' Ferris and the late Charlie Moore
Seven nomination letters were sent from business associates, colleagues and friends of Ferris and Moore.
“Quietly, Jim and Charlie have been two of the most giving individuals, both financially and with their time, to this county,” wrote Port Townsend insurance broker Homer Smith III.
Co-owners of Edensaw Woods Ltd., a supplier of marine plywood and boat-building lumber, Ferris and Moore founded the Edensaw Community Cancer Foundation in 2006.
“They realized the need for an organization dedicated to providing assistance to the overwhelming number of east Jefferson County families directly affected by the diagnosis of cancer,” wrote Port Townsend resident Diana Talley.
“[Funds raised through the foundation] have been spent toward transportation costs, rent payments, health care and even helping put a roof on one woman's house while she was sick.”
Jake Beattie, executive director of the Northwest Maritime Center and Wooden Boat Foundation, wrote:
“As individuals, they have supported the maritime nonprofit community through sponsorships, scholarships and donations that have connected untold numbers of young people in our community to the waters in their community.”
The Edensaw Foundation has also been greatly involved in the Port Townsend Film Festival.
“Our festival has thrived because Edensaw has continued to respect the role of art in our community as we face greater and greater economic challenges,” wrote Janette Force, executive director of the Port Townsend Film Institute.
After a long battle with cancer, Moore died March 11.
His award will be accepted by his widow, Gayle.
Five letters nominated Port Townsend resident Seth Rolland for his efforts to promote an atmosphere of sustainable food and community.
“[Rolland] has organized a polite subculture of people who search out food that is springing from local fruit trees or gardens but that will not be harvested or eaten by the landowners,” wrote Scott Wilson, publisher of The Port Townsend and Jefferson County Leader weekly newspaper.
“Seth, through his own hard work, and through his ability to inspire others to help him harvest the community's hidden bounty, makes sure that food is collected.”
Rolland started the Gleaners group in Jefferson County to collect unused fruit, with owners' permission, from local fruit trees and give it to both the Port Townsend Food Bank and school lunch programs.
Rolland's efforts have harvested literal tons of fruit for the food bank and local schools.
“Seth is a very thoughtful, and soft-spoken representative of what is wonderful about the place where we live,” wrote Anne and Dick Schneider of Port Townsend.
(Anne Schneider is a 2012 Heart of Service recipient for her volunteer work with a number of nonprofit groups.)
Rolland also organized volunteers to establish a small fruit tree orchard for Blue Heron Middle School.
Proposed in 2009 and completed this winter, the orchard will provide fresh fruit to the school children of Port Townsend and a teaching tool for the school's biology and botany classes.
“The school orchard at Blue Heron is already resulting in positive educational outcomes for our students,” wrote David Engle, superintendent of the Port Townsend School District.
'The Three Amigos': Don Bolen, Ernie Jaap and Fred Spann
Staff at Dove House Advocacy Service, a confidential crisis intervention shelter and advocacy facility in Port Townsend providing services to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and general crime, praised the volunteer efforts of the men they call “The Three Amigos” in four separate nomination letters.
“Don Bolen, Ernie Jaap and Fred Spann continue to cheerfully and unselfishly volunteer their time, talent and treasure to Dove House Advocacy Services for clients and staff alike,” Dove House Executive Director Beulah Kingsolver wrote.
“[The Three Amigos] “use their own vehicles and truck beds to pick up bed sets, dressers, washers and dryers across the county to first store and then relocate these items when needed,” and recently completed the installation of new security cameras at Dove House.
“Most importantly, our clients find their quietly mature presence reassuring while receiving positive words of encouragement and hope when devastated by broken dreams and hurting from recent abuse.”
Wrote Debbie Linner, a shelter liaison and advocate at Dove House and the source of “The Three Amigos'” moniker:
“They are always willing to lend a helping hand to any one of the other staff or our clients.
“I frequently have clients tell me that they feel safer and calmer when one of them is around.”
“Her dedication and commitment to the students of Chimacum High School is way above the call of duty,” wrote Mike Blair, retired Chimacum School District superintendent and youth exchange officer for the East Jefferson Rotary Club.
Blair is also a 2010 Heart of Service recipient for his volunteer work.
Kostenbader, serving youth through the East Jefferson Rotary Club for almost a decade, coordinates the Chimacum High School Rotary Interact Club, Blair wrote.
The club meets weekly to plan both local and international community service projects.
“As anyone knows, it takes a dedicated adult to motivate and bring to life a high school youth group,” Blair wrote.
“Linda is that individual and because of her gifts and talents many of the students at Chimacum High School are becoming splendid human beings.”
Kostenbader also coordinates the Rotary student of the month program for the high school and serves as the club counselor for students hosted through the Rotary Club's foreign exchange program, Blair wrote.
“As usual, Linda takes this responsibility very seriously and does everything in her power to help the foreign exchange student thrive and enjoy their experience here.
“Linda has a wonderful way of making young people around her feel special because to Linda, they are special.”
Kostenbader (above) also nominated the teenager who received the first Heart of Service youth award from the judges.
“Christopher Pieper has given so much this year to the [Rotary] Interact Club of Chimacum High School through his positive and cheerful attitude, outstanding leadership as president, continuous giving of time and organization to the many community and international projects of the Interact Club,” wrote Kostenbader.
The Chimacum High School student was instrumental in leading the Santa Photo fundraiser at the Chimacum Arts and Crafts Fair, Kostenbader wrote, an effort that raised money in part for medical supplies for a rural clinic in Thailand.
“The fundraiser was a great success due to [Pieper's] organizational skills, leadership and giving of himself,” wrote Kostenbader.
Pieper has also been key to a number of other Interact Club community service projects, Kostenbader wrote, including a concert for the Jefferson County Winter Shelter, providing Halloween safety education to primary and elementary school students and by caroling for and giving Christmas cards to residents of both the Life Care Center and San Juan Villa Assisted Living and Alzheimer's Care.
“Christopher exemplifies the motto of Rotary: service above self,” Kostenbader wrote.
“He definitely has a heart of service.”
Reporter Jeremy Schwartz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5074, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.