Marysville Rotary hands out awards

From left, Eric Spencer, Jodi Runyon, Debbie Barger Smith, Toni Mathews and Mel Sheldon Jr. received Paul Harris Fellowship Awards from the Rotary Club of Marysville on June 27. - Kirk Boxleitner
From left, Eric Spencer, Jodi Runyon, Debbie Barger Smith, Toni Mathews and Mel Sheldon Jr. received Paul Harris Fellowship Awards from the Rotary Club of Marysville on June 27.
— image credit: Kirk Boxleitner

MARYSVILLE — The Rotary Club of Marysville not only installed its new officers for the year on June 27, but also honored several community members with the Rotary’s highest recognition, the Paul Harris Fellowship Awards.

The awards are named for the founder of Rotary International and are intended to honor those who exemplify the Rotary motto of “service above self.”

Former Rotary District 5050 Governor Larry Jubie presented Tulalip Tribal Chair Mel Sheldon Jr. with a plaque and a pin for his leadership within the community, as well as for the partnerships that he’s helped foster between the Tulalip Tribes and the cities of Marysville, Arlington and Everett, as well as the Marysville School District.

“He’s encouraged education and boosted the economy of the entire region,” Jubie said.

“I can’t accept this as an individual,” said Sheldon, who accepted on behalf of his fellow Tribal Board members and the past leaders of the Tulalip Tribes, whom he credited with laying the groundwork for him. “I see all you leaders out there,” he told the audience, “and we have the common cause of making this community better for our children and our children’s children.”

Marysville School District Superintendent Dr. Larry Nyland surprised Jodi Runyon, executive assistant to the superintendent, with her own Paul Harris Fellowship Award, which left her barely able to speak “because you know how passionate I get about my work.” Nyland praised Runyon for building bridges with community organizations such as the Rotary Club of Marysville to stage events such as the school district’s first “Opportunity Expo” job fair this spring.

“That was a smashing success,” Nyland said. “It worked so much better than it would have if you’d simply given us money. When we develop those community partnerships, through internships and networking between businesses and the schools, we reach more students, and Jodi deserves to be recognized for her work in putting that event together.”

Outgoing Public Relations Director Gary Baker gave incoming Secretary Eric Spencer his own pin and plaque for his positive attitude, dedication to duty and skill at delegating tasks, which Spencer put to use as the outgoing Education Foundation director, while incoming Public Relations Director Mike Leighan gave a Paul Harris Fellowship Award to Toni Mathews for volunteering with the Strawberry Festival’s Royalty and Market in the Park, as well as the Marysville-Tulalip Relay For Life and “Bark For Life.”

“It sounds like a lot, but it doesn’t feel like I’m doing a lot,” said Mathews, who also helped organize the Opportunity Expo and the school field trips to the “Pumpkins for Literacy” patch at the Smokey Point Plant Farm.

Debbie Barger Smith was sworn in for another year as Vocational Service director, and Loren Van Loo pinned and plaqued her not only for her own contributions to the Opportunity Expo, but also for her longstanding support of Marysville-Pilchuck High School athletics and the Marysville Family YMCA.

Marysville Municipal Court Judge Fred Gillings was unable to attend the evening’s ceremonies, but former Marysville Mayor Dennis Kendall presented him with a Paul Harris Fellowship Award in absentia anyway, noting his yearly participation in the “Tip a Cop” fundraiser, as well as his proactive efforts to support victims of domestic violence.

Larry Trivett received his “plus one” Paul Harris Fellowship Award, while incoming Program Director Tom Thetford and incoming President Kelly Peterson became “plus two” awardees.

Outgoing President Chris Nation, in turn, presented special awards to Terry Earnhardt for taking the lead on this year’s Rotary cleanup of the graffiti on the Fourth Street/I-5 overpass, as well as to incoming President-Elect Daryn Bundy for filling in on other posts and continuing to labor tirelessly in the Rotary pumpkin patch.


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