The 2024 Community Service Awards winners gather before Thursday’s awards ceremony at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Port Angeles. This year’s recipients were, seated from left, Steph Ellyas and Lyn Fiveash, and standing from left, Gordon Taylor, Don Zanon, Carol Labbe and Betsy Reed Schultz. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula News)

The 2024 Community Service Awards winners gather before Thursday’s awards ceremony at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Port Angeles. This year’s recipients were, seated from left, Steph Ellyas and Lyn Fiveash, and standing from left, Gordon Taylor, Don Zanon, Carol Labbe and Betsy Reed Schultz. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula News)

Six honored for community service efforts

Volunteers provide energy for trails, respite care

PORT ANGELES — Six individuals who have made significant contributions through their volunteer efforts were recognized at the Clallam County Community Service Awards at the Holy Trinity Lutheran Church fellowship hall.

Honorees Betsy Reed Schultz, Gordon Taylor and Don Zanon of Port Angeles, and Steph Ellyas, Lyn Fiveash and Carol Labbe of Sequim received plaques Thursday night, recognizing their efforts from Eran Kennedy, publisher of the Olympic Peninsula Group that includes the Peninsula News, and Cherie Kidd, Soroptimist International of Port Angeles — Noon Club and a 2020 award recipient.

The Peninsula News and Soroptimist International of Port Angeles — Noon Club present the annual award to volunteers who contribute their time, energy and skills to improving the lives of those around them.

“These are everyday people making our community a better place,” Kennedy said.

The Community Service Awards began in 1980 as the Citizen of the Year Award; the first recipient was educator Art Feiro, the guiding force behind the Feiro Marine Life Center.

Schultz has volunteered with many organizations since she moved to Port Angeles in 2001 — from the Port Angeles Symphony Orchestra to the Olympic Medical Center Foundation. On Thursday, she was recognized for establishing the Captain Joseph House Foundation, which provides a respite for Gold Star military families who have lost a loved one.

The foundation honors the memory of her son, Capt. Joseph Schultz, who was killed in action in Afghanistan.

Schultz thanked the many volunteers who made the work of the foundation possible.

“I could not have done this without all the people who’ve supported me and the Joseph House Foundation,” Schultz said. “I am honored to be a part of this.”

Taylor is a longtime volunteer with the Peninsula Trails Coalition, which supports and advocates for the major trail systems on the Olympic Peninsula. Taylor does everything from trail maintenance to organizing work parties to answering questions from the public online and via social media.

“There’s no one who’s done more for the Olympic Discovery Trail and the Olympic Adventure Trail than Gordon Taylor,” Peninsula Trails Coalition President Jeff Bohman said.

Taylor said he is just one of many people who contribute to the Peninsula Trails Coalition’s success.

“There are 700 volunteers out there,” Taylor said. “I try to remove the obstacles so they can get the job done.”

Zanon is best known as a member of the American Red Cross’ Disaster Team, which he joined after retiring as director of Peninsula Behavioral Health in 2006. But he also served on the boards of the North Olympic Library System, the Kiwanis Community Foundation, the Port Angeles Symphony Orchestra and was a founding board member for Habitat for Humanity in Clallam County, among others.

“He has been volunteering and giving to his community longer than I have been alive,” said Anthony Sanders, who introduced Zanon.

In accepting his award, Zanon said: “As I look around, it is these volunteers that make this community what it is.”

Cindy Stallknecht introduced Steph Ellyas and Lyn Fiveash, who operate the Veterans Clothing Closet located at the Clallam County Veterans Center in Port Angeles.

Stallknecht said Ellyas and Fiveash did more than offer free clothing, they created a place for veterans to be treated with dignity and respect.

“Any veteran who comes in, they can find anything they need,” Stallknecht said. “Maybe a homeless veteran comes in, they go out with new clothes and a brand-new attitude.”

Fiveash thanked the many organizations that had assisted them with donations on behalf of their mission.

“We love our vets,” Fiveash said. “Our patrons are our biggest thrill, these people who have given for us and sacrificed for us.”

Over the past 10 years, the Sequim Guild for Seattle Children’s Hospital has raised more than $320,000 through bake sales, a holiday bazaar, garage sales and auctions at bunco parties to pay for uncompensated care for Clallam County children seeking treatment.

Labbe was the driving force behind raising the funds, said Sue Clary, who nominated her.

“It is her passion and cause,” Clary said.

Labbe said Seattle Children’s Hospital saved her life when she was born. After she retired from the Sequim School District, she directed her energies toward the helping other children by helping the guild.

“We have so much fun, and we all have the same purpose,” Labbe said. “I’m accepting this for the entire guild.”

The six Community Service Award honorees were chosen from 12 nominations by Kidd; Danetta Rutten, Jet Set Soroptimist; Nancy Sievers; Sanders of Edward Jones; and Port Angeles City Council member Drew Schwab.

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Reporter Paula Hunt can be reached by email at paula.hunt@peninsulanews.us.

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