October 29, 2001
Woodinville Rotary honors random acts of generosity
by Bronwyn Wilson
Senior Staff Reporter
It's too bad unsung heroes don't advertise in the Yellow Pages. If they did, the rest of us would know the identities of the special people who serve the community unselfishly, never asking anything in return.
We'd look their phone numbers up in the '"U"' section, and find them in the unsung heroes category just below undertakers and underwater salvage.
Equipped with the information, we could call them and personally say thank you for their service. But as it stands, most of the people who volunteer their time to help others work quietly in the background, known only to their families, friends and the people they help.
For example, there's a local grandmother who gets up very early each week to go the food bank where she bags supplies and stocks shelves.
In addition to offering her time at the food bank, the dedicated grandmother also helps the elderly who are housebound by going into their homes and cooking for them.
There are others like her. A Woodinville man in his early 20s regularly drives a Viet Nam veteran, who doesn't have transportation, to the store and laundromat.
An automotive repair shop owner in Bothell goes out of his way to care for the needs of people with disabilities.
And, an Eagle Scout raised a little over $700 to help the Butterfly Thrift Store in Bothell, an outreach of the Church of the Redeemer in Kenmore.
When the scout realized that the store didn't have enough space to hold all the donated items, he arranged fund-raising events to finance a prefabricated shed. With help from his dad and fellow scouts, he assembled the shed in back of the thrift shop.
Jim Wheeler, who volunteers at the store, is delighted with the result and says, "It's a first class looking structure." These caring people, and many more just like them, aren't usually awarded, applauded or honored for their contribution and sacrifice.
As a whole, they go unnoticed by the community. And this could have remained the case if it weren't for the Woodinville Rotary Club stepping in and doing something about it.
The club decided to institute a campaign that would award a generous person each month.
Called "Random Acts of Generosity, the campaign acknowledges unacclaimed persons whose generous contribution of time and talent make a difference in the community.
The Rotary Club currently seeks nominations of persons fitting this description, whether they read to the sick, sew blankets for the homeless, cook meals for shut-ins or build a much-needed shed. Nominees should reside within the Woodinville-Northshore region, though the Club's emphasis is on the generous acts themselves rather than where someone lives.
"We want to recognize the individuals who are the unsung, unpublicized people of the community who make it special," said Rotarian Terry Jarvis.
In a show of gratitude, the Rotary will give $500 to the charity of the honored person's choosing. The $500 monthly amount is part of the club's annual community service budget fed by the proceeds of their annual golf tournament and auction held in August-September.
"We're so much into the 'I', 'me' world, we've lost sense of what a community is all about," remarked Rotarian John Hughes who initiated the idea.
Members of the Rotary Club's community service team who are a part of the random acts of generosity project include Jarvis and Hughes as well as Larry Duffield, Bob Russell, Jan Runkel and Woodinville City Manager, Pete Rose.
Beginning with November, the Rotary Club will recognize a person once a month for his or her volunteer work with a public organization or with an individual or with a group of persons in need.
Through the campaign, they hope to take the focus away from the "I" and "me" and focus on the people who make the world we live in a better placečlike the grandmother, the Bothell business owner, the man in his 20s and the Eagle Scout, just to name a few.
Unsung heroes aren't listed in the 'U' section of the Yellow Pages, but they're definitely in the hearts and minds of those they helped.
Members of the community are invited to place a nomination via electronic mail: www.rotary5030/woodinville/rag.htm.
Or write the Woodinville Rotary at P.O. Box 2016, Woodinville, WA 98072.