By FRANCES MALONE
Since 2008, a tall double-faced clock has stood sentinel in downtown Poulsbo, ticking off the moments big and small in the life of the community. It was a gift, one of many, to the city from the Poulsbo-NK Rotary.
Turn back those hands of time and discover how for the last 40 years the club has had a role in making Poulsbo the city that it is today.
Since 1976, when Poulsbo–NK Rotary obtained its charter, the club has grown from 25 to 147 members, comprised of local business, professional and community leaders. Through their passionate commitment to the International Rotary motto “Service Above Self,” its members have been making a difference in the lives of individuals and communities both local and around the world.
This list, highlighting some of the club’s accomplishments in the last four decades, explains how it has made an impact on the character, charm and livability of the Poulsbo community.
1976 to 1986
Poulsbo-NK Rotary’s first community project provided picnic tables in Kingston, on Anderson Parkway, and at Buck Lake Park. The club’s contributions didn’t end there. It donated the large Community Events sign on Highway 305 to the City of Poulsbo. It provided funding for furniture in the Senior Citizen Center Lounge and helped renovate the center. It funded the start-up of a computer lab at Poulsbo Junior High School and contributed to the construction of the Kvelstad Pavilion on the Liberty Bay waterfront.
Club members built the first two of what would eventually be 18 houses in partnership with North Kitsap High School’s Vocational Class. Proceeds from sales of the houses benefited Rotary and the high school. During these 10 years, Rotary volunteers built a floating dock and ramp at Oyster Plant Park and a play structure for North Kitsap Memorial Park. Volunteer efforts extended across the border when they bought, restored and drove a fire truck to Mulege, Mexico.
1987 to 1997
Poulsbo-NK Rotary donated $29,000 to the Marine Science Center and committed $100,000 to support Olympic College Poulsbo branch campus, which was the largest single donation the club had made up to that time. Volunteers renovated a derelict house to provide office space for three Kitsap County non-profit organizations. The club delivered medical supplies and equipment to a needy rural village in Viet Nam and donated X-ray equipment to a hospital in Chile. 1989 was the memorable year Poulsbo-NK Rotary became one of the first Rotary clubs in the country to induct women as members.
1998 to 2008
The club began its continuing focus on domestic violence and the development of a transition shelter, Eli’s House. It completed construction of house No. 16 in partnership with North Kitsap High School. The club initiated a project to build an underwater viewing aquarium at the Marine Science Center and partnered with Sprint to provide Fishline with its first proper pick-up and delivery van. International projects provided matching funds to buy a truck and a large, heavy-duty washing machine for an orphanage in Russia. Members raised money and traveled to a village in Guatemala to build 50 wood-burning stoves, and the club committed to joining the Gates Foundation’s effort to eradicate polio.
Emphasizing its commitment to promote the sharing and understanding of other cultures, the club continued to sponsor inbound and outbound exchange students.
2009 to 2016
In the past seven years, Poulsbo-NK Rotary reinforced its focus on education and youth, with emphasis on homeless youth, by donating $19,600 and 800 hours of labor to establish Coffee Oasis in Poulsbo. The club worked on the design and construction of the skateboard park and built sheds for the Youth Garden in Raab Park.
It continued to award thousands of dollars in scholarships for college-bound students. The Domestic Violence Committee revealed plans to construct Morrow Manor, a complex of four duplexes for survivors of domestic abuse, on land donated by a long-time Rotarian. The club approved and committed to raise the money to build it and provide maintenance funds for 10 years. Members assisted in construction of an amphitheater and the first viewing platform in Fish Park. International activity included projects in Honduras, Bolivia, Nepal, Vietnam and Mexico.
As Poulsbo-NK Rotary enters its 41st year of “Service Above Self,” the members are committed to living up to the annual motto chosen by newly-installed president, Michele Doyle, for her 2017-18 term: “Poulsbo Rotary Gets It Done.”
Note: The Poulsbo Rotary Foundation’s annual fundraising event, “Poulsbowood,” is scheduled for 6 p.m. Oct. 20 at the Clearwater Casino Resort events center. The Hollywood-themed event will feature entertainment and a live auction. For more information, go to http://poulsborotary.org/stories/poulsbowood-friday-october-20-2017.