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Rotary honors community members

The Marysville Rotary Club’s Paul Harris fellowship award winners. Back row from left, Mike Shepard, Jim Johnson, Kelly Richards, Sheri Conderman and Gayle Humann (on behalf of Eileen Dehnhoff) and Jim Strickland. Front row from left, Evie Bates, Debra Loughrey-Johnson, Heidi Johnsen, Debbie Foster and Jim Ballew.   - Kirk Boxleitner
The Marysville Rotary Club’s Paul Harris fellowship award winners. Back row from left, Mike Shepard, Jim Johnson, Kelly Richards, Sheri Conderman and Gayle Humann (on behalf of Eileen Dehnhoff) and Jim Strickland. Front row from left, Evie Bates, Debra Loughrey-Johnson, Heidi Johnsen, Debbie Foster and Jim Ballew.
— image credit: Kirk Boxleitner

TULALIP — The Marysville Rotary Club honored 10 community members, including Rotarians and non-Rotarians alike, with the Rotary’s highest recognition, the Paul Harris fellowship awards.

Incoming Marysville Rotary President Larry Trivett explained that 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.”

Pastor Tom Albright, of the Marysville United Methodist Church, presented the first award to Jim Johnson, citing his gifts of scroll-saw wood artistry around the world, as well as his history of volunteerism with the Kiwanis, the Marysville Community Food Bank and the United Methodist Church. Albright noted that Johnson’s volunteer work with the Providence Hospice and Home Care of Snohomish County saw one of his patients live 961 days, even though patients are only admitted to hospice care when they have life expectancies of six months or less.

Marysville Rotary Public Relations Board member Mike Leighan presented the next award to city of Marysville Parks and Recreation Director Jim Ballew, pointing out that when Ballew was first hired by the city in 1987 he was the first director of its Parks and Recreation Department. Leighan pointed to all the progress that Parks and Recreation has made in the 22 years since Ballew’s hiring, touting the roles Ballew has played in the city’s 28 parks, its investment in youth and adult sports and other recreational activities, “Merrysville for the Holidays,” the Marysville Healthy Communities Project, the installation of public art at the parks and even cleanups of graffiti.

Evie Bates received her Paul Harris fellowship award from Jody Whitman, who praised Bates for her work on behalf of the Marysville Rotary’s pumpkin patch and auction fundraisers. Bates is also active in her church and volunteers in caring for children, which prompted Whitman to describe her as “the best auntie” and “the best kind of Rotarian, who just jumps right in to help out.”

Gayle Humann and Sheri Conderman accepted a Paul Harris fellowship award on behalf of their mother, Eileen Dehnhoff. Louise Christianson presented the posthumous award to Dehnhoff in honor of her work with the Providence Regional Medical Center in Everett, as well as St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Marysville. Christianson characterized Dehnhoff as “an excellent cook,” whose baking skills were “unsurpassed” and much appreciated by the local priests, for whom she prepared and served many meals.

Marysville Rotary Club Service Board member Mike Shepard presented Marysville School District Director of Categorical Programs Heidi Johnsen with a Paul Harris fellowship award for her work on behalf of local children. Shepard cited the connections that Johnsen has helped foster between students and the Rotary, including student field trips to the Rotary’s pumpkin patch, and the distribution of dictionaries to students by Rotary members. He added that her other community service efforts have included a promotional DVD for the Rotary, working on behalf of the homeless and seeing to the health and school supply needs of students.

Marysville Rotary Club Vocational Service Board member Steve Fulton became visibly emotional as he described Debbie Foster’s fight against cancer. Foster, whom Fulton presented with a Paul Harris fellowship award, was diagnosed with a brain tumor 20 years ago, which reoccurred even after surgery. Fulton attributed Foster’s beating the odds to her religious faith and concern for others, both of which he believes are evident in the work she’s done since, in sending medical supplies “wherever they’re needed” around the world.

Marysville Rotary Club Past President Tom Thetford presented a Paul Harris fellowship award to Debra Loughrey-Johnson for her work as executive director of Grandview Village in Marysville. Daryn Bundy then presented fellow Marysville Rotary Club Board member Kelly Richards with an award for community service, which included Richards’ work with the Cascade Elementary PTA and the Bethlehem Lutheran Church, as well as the Rotary’s Pumpkins For Literacy.

Harv Jubie followed by turning the tables on Shepard, by presenting Shepard with his own award, for his work with the city of Marysville, “helping his neighbors.” Steve Muller presented the last Paul Harris fellowship award to Totem Middle School teacher Jim Strickland, of the Marysville Youth Action Network, whose resume of accomplishments includes helping coordinate the annual community Cinco De Mayo celebrations, volunteering on behalf of the Sarvey Wildlife Center, and being named Tulalip Tribes educator of the year.

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