POULSBO — Tom Nordlie was recently recognized by Gov. Jay Inslee for his volunteer work at Poulsbo’s Fish Park.
Nordlie received the 2018 Governor’s Volunteer Service Award in the environment category during an April 9 ceremony held at the governor’s Executive Mansion in Olympia.
Nordlie serves as the chair of the steering committee for Fish Park and said he has been involved with the ongoing development of the park from the beginning, some 16 years ago. Nordlie explained that he owes much of the success of Fish Park to the numerous volunteers who have devoted countless hours to the site’s betterment.
“I think that’s a great recognition and everything but it’s also unfortunate the other thousands of volunteers that have come through Fish Park don’t get some kind of recognition either,” he said.
Of his award, Nordlie said, “I think it’s just a great honor and I’m truly humbled by it because it’s a recognition from my peers and from [Parks & Recreation] for the efforts that we have done at Fish Park.”
Poulsbo Parks & Recreation Director Mary McCluskey was the one who nominated Nordlie for the award after observing Nordlie’s dedication to improving the park over the years.
“A volunteer that gives never-ending time and energy,” is how McCluskey described Nordlie. “It was easy to nominate him,” she added.
“There was no question that he was well-deserving of this or any other volunteer awards,” McCluskey said. “He is someone I can rely on for Fish Park to call and run ideas past him, or he calls me with ideas and we put everything together.”
McCluskey explained that Nordlie even went as far as giving a presentation in Olympia to secure a $460,000 grant through the state’s Aquatic Lands Enhancement Account.
“He’s willing to do anything that furthers the concept of Poulsbo’s Fish Park,” McCluskey said.
Nordlie was not only influential in the planning, development and acquisition of funds for the park but he is also known for getting his hands dirty.
“We had to design and develop trails and I pretty much have designed most of, if not all of the trails that are in there,” Nordlie said. “That was tricky in the beginning because we had to clear some blackberries in order to figure out where we’re going to have the trails.”
When asked how many times he’s suffered the wrath of blackberry thorns, Nordlie laughed. “Many times; you kinda get conditioned to it.”
In his letter of appreciation to Nordlie, Inslee underscored the power that volunteers have to better their communities:
“When you volunteer, you become part of something greater than yourself and add to the strength and resilience of our communities and friends in need. I applaud your spirit of action, which speaks volumes about your character and priorities and reminds us that people of vision and compassion can and do make a difference in our world.”