The 30th annual Key Peninsula Citizens of the Year awards dinner will be held March 29 at 6 p.m at the Key Peninsula Civic Center in Vaughn.

Twenty citizens have been nominated for the honor of KP Citizen of the Year 2013 – ’14.

Dinner will be provided by Dorne Webster of Mosquito Fleet Cuisine and the Rusty Roots will provide musical entertainment.

All Key Peninsula citizens and their friends are invited to attend the event by the sponsoring Key Peninsula Lions Club. To confirm invitations and reservations, tickets may be obtained from members of the KP Lions Club or at Sunnycrest Nursery in Key Center in exchange for a $25 contribution to help cover costs of the event.

The evening’s keynote speaker will be Chuck Cuzzetto, superintendent of the Peninsula School District. Throughout the year, community members have submitted nominations for Citizens of the Year. Profiles of the the nominees follow. Lion members will vote by secret ballot for the winner, and that individual will be revealed at the banquet.

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Perry Anthenat has provided eight years of volunteer service to Key Peninsula Community Services. For the past four years he has served as a KPCS board member, three as Secretary or Vice President. Perry started as a truck driver in the food bank department and donates approximately 101 hours each year to collect food for the KPCS Food Bank. He continues to be a huge asset to that program. As a board member, Perry has made contributions to all KPCS programs. He must leave the board this coming year, but he will be continuing his heartfelt service to the Food Bank and the Key Peninsula citizens who need food support.

 

Marci Cummings-Cohoe, a dynamically creative teacher at Vaughn elementary, led her students in a fund-raising drive which netted $700 to support the Honor Flight program for WWII veterans to visit their memorial in Washington, D.C. She also voluntarily distributed via email a collection of crock pot recipes to ease the meal-preparation plight of so many busy people. She compiled and shared 10 splendid delicious nutritious meals suitable for freezing with everyone while being a full- time teacher at Vaughn elementary and being a mom of two wee ones.

Pablo de la Cruz took over a restaurant in Key Center which had become a community eye sore, tore out its shabby furnishings replacing them with attractive new tables and seating, up-graded its kitchen, hugely enhanced the food offerings at reasonable prices, totally renovated the structure’s exterior making it into a very clean, attractive building. He has been supportive of community non-profit organizations’ activities, including providing a meeting place for the KP Business Association’s regular meetings. “I enjoy supporting the community through sponsorships, donations, and various fundraisers,” said de la Cruz

Lori Deacon has donated her time and talents to numerous charities and organizations over the years. She was a prime organizer in Home’s 100th Anniversary celebrations. She has served on many committees and boards promoting the Key Peninsula’s best interests throughout the area. Last year she made her farm available to the Mustard Seed Project for a fundraiser and Key Pen Parks for a summer camp day. She makes her farm one of the truly fun stops on the annual KP Farm Tour.

Jennifer Durham has taught leadership classes at Key Peninsula Middle School for many years and has arranged most of the special events there as well, including Veterans’ Day programs and other events open to the community. She has instilled a desire to volunteer in hundreds of young people who have in turn given to our community. While she teaches Math you see her passion for teaching and for helping students to take on personal responsibility and leadership. She has served on the KPMS Site Council and, in general, is always ready to go the extra mile.

Brandy Ellzey, together with her husband Allen, is the backbone of the annual KeyFest, the KP fair. She is assisted by several individuals who are the ribs. Brandy is serving as the KeyFest Board President. She, with Allen’s help, spends a tremendous amount of time lining up the carnival, vendors, sponsors and the facilities needed to put on KeyFest. With support from several other extremely hard-working volunteers working on the KeyFest Board, Brandy and Allen make sure that everything comes together. Brandy also serves on the Board of the Key Peninsula Business Association as Treasurer. She donates a lot of time to various KPBA efforts and is a mainstay of the organization.

Darla Graham joined Key Peninsula Community Services in September 2011. She has provided the KPCS organization with dependability, graciousness to clients, and dedication. Darla is the type of volunteer every organization dreams of having. She goes above and beyond to give of herself so that life might be just a little bit easier for others

In the few years since she’s been on the Key Peninsula, Phyllis Henry has volunteered for a number of organizations including the Longbranch Community Church, the Angel Guild and The Mustard Seed Project. She is very generous and dedicated, who gives selflessly of her time, energy and resources. She shows up when she’s needed and works diligently, devoting many hours every week to her community. She is a fine example of living life fully into her 80s.

Karen Jorgenson is a tireless organizer and volunteer who co-started the new Key Peninsula Food Bank located in Key Center, is the founder of the Backpacks 4 Kids Program, which provides a backpack of food for the weekend for every Key Peninsula family with a child who receives free or reduced fee lunch at all schools on the Key Peninsula. In this project, Karen is always there doing more than her share of the heavy lifting, making sure each back pack receives a balanced supply of nutritious foods and organizing the volunteers who make the project so successful.

Jarvis Krumbein, in his 80s, has been a volunteer for The Mustard Seed Project since it started. He was one of the very first volunteer drivers in 2008, and has driven hundreds of people thousands of miles since then. He also worked at The Mustard Seed Project Key Senior Information Center desk for several years. He has helped out at the Angel Guild for quite a long time, also, beginning when his late wife, Mary, was active there. He is a cheerful generous person who also dedicates many hours each week to the well-being of his community.

Patricia “Pat” Latshaw, a long-time active member of the Key Peninsula detachment of Citizens Against Crime, has served several years as its president. Together with her husband, Dean, also an active CAC member, she’s hosted CAC annual summer picnics and currently serves as the organization’s secretary. She rarely misses a meeting of the group and actively assists CAC in its several crime prevention activities.

Bill Lloyd does everything,” said his nominator. “Every time I turn around I find him volunteering.” Bill drives and does chore service for the Mustard Seed Project and helps it in other ways as well. He also helps other organizations like Friends of the Library. He has served as a Communities In Schools of Peninsula math mentor at Key Peninsula Middle School for three years, helping kids needing a bit of encouragement to program themselves to graduate from high school on time and succeed in life. Bill also plays guitar with the Rusty Roots band which voluntarily performs at community functions. He’ll be with Rusty Roots at the 30th Annual KP Citizens of the Year Awards banquet.

Matthew Mills’ family has lived on the Key Peninsula for generations. Matthew is a teacher in the Peninsula School District, where he has provided Purdy Elementary students some innovative science programs. He is on the path to a re-run of a brain dissecting project he introduced some years ago. After being briefed by a professional medical person cutting open a sheep brain while projection the operation on an overhead screen, students then double up with scapulae to dissect their own sheep brains. Out of the classroom, Mill provides innovative leadership with Troop 220 Boy Scouts of America, leading scouts on mind-expanding projects. His scouts and fellow scout leaders maintain a high level of enthusiasm making the troop emulated by other scouts. “Mat” Mills has enormous positive influence on KP young people.

Jud Morris has worked for the community since 2006 as KP Family Resource Manager providing economic assistance, clothing banks, school services, student support services, family support services, home visiting, day camp, and holiday helper assistance. He has been president of the KP Business Association all but two of the last 7 years, vice president in those 2 years. He has been a KP Civic Center Association member for 8 years. He was a board member of the KP Fair Association 2006-’12. He is a board member of the KP Free Clinic, Peninsula School Education Foundation, Tacoma Pierce County Health Department board advisory committee, Gig Harbor/Key Peninsula Suicide Prevention Coalition, and the Peninsula School District task force on bullying. He was a Key Peninsula News columnist from 2006-2009. In 2012 he was Two Waters Arts Alliance Spring Fling Committee advisor and Emcee. Since 2006, Jud has volunteered for the KPFD Santa Program for our community.

Matthew “Matt” Nesbit, 11, is a model for the youth of the Key Peninsula. He possesses an admirable work ethic and does his best no matter what the task. He is a gentleman and is always an advocate for those younger than he is. Adults, once they have met him, always comment on how helpful, kind, happy, sincere, hard-working and well- mannered he is. Matt is an A/B student and has been Student of the Month at KPMS. Always eager to help people, he can often be seen working hard at Key Peninsula Firefighter Association functions, events at the Longbranch Improvement Club, and even assisting the fire department’s Santa as he visits members of the community. Matt is CPR certified and aspires to be a camp counselor for the summer when he is old enough.

Jessica Smeall’s nominator says, “So many people on the KP have told me how important Jessica has been in the lives of their kids. As Recreation Director for Key Pen Parks she has gone beyond the required scope of her duties to improve the lives of all ages on the KP. She has particularly worked with young people at the Key Peninsula Middle School, organizing Key Pen PALS, which gives kids a chance to volunteer and support numerous community organizations as well as the KP Park District. She is also heavily involved with the Two Waters Arts Alliance providing After Hours Hands- On Arts for kids at KPMS, a wonderful program opening the eyes of youngsters to wonderful new ideas

Molly Swensen, President of the Two Waters Arts Alliance, is extremely dedicated and provides strong leadership. She spends many hours on TWAA’s finances and preparing annual budgets. With previous presidents’ help, she managed to get TWAA through the recent recession and is instrumental in maintaining TWAA’s fiscal health. She comes to board meetings well prepared, keeps the meetings on track, and informs the board with all necessary information. With strong support of the current and past Arts in the Schools Program, the local AIS continues to grow under her leadership; Key Peninsula Schools rely on AIS for arts education. Molly succeeded in major crucial recruitments to the TWAA board.

Irene Torres moved to the Key in 2000. In 2002, she helped organize and found the Key Peninsula Community Council, served on the initial Board of Directors, helped develop the KPC By-laws, and helped with the first community Board of Directors’ election. She’s been on the KPC Board for 8 years and currently is in her fourth year on the Executive Board as treasurer. She has written and edited the KP News for years and had represented the paper on the Civic Center Board. She is a member of the KP Writers group. For the past two years, Irene has represented the Key Peninsula on the Greater Gig Harbor Foundation Board, spending many volunteer hours serving on the team that has taken the community foundation concept and helped to make it a reality.

Danna Webster moved to the Key Peninsula 2003, was involved in the newly- forming Key Peninsula Community Council and has served as a member of the KP Council since its inception in 2004. She is serving her fourth term as Council President and has initiated forums including transportation safety, annual candidates’ night, land use and emergency preparedness. She has been instrumental in ‘getting the word out’ to engage the community in interesting and timely discussions. She helped form and chaired the Farm Tour from its inception and is now treasurer. Danna has an essential role in the tour’s event planning and communication. In 2013, the tour attracted a record number of visitors to the Key from Gig Harbor and Western Washington. She’s an active participant in the KP Writer’s Guild, the KPC Youth Council, the KP Historical Museum, and other area organizations and is a writer and contributor to the KP News. She has consistently celebrated KP individuals and organizations. She spearheaded the effort to maintain the “KP Bus Connects” transportation program through the 2013 KP Council assumption of the grant program. Danna Webster is contributing to the rich quality of life and diversity on the Key Peninsula.

Hal Wolverton is a Battalion Chief of and Training Officer at the Key Peninsula Fire Department. As training chief, he completely changed training practices for the department. Behind KPFD’s headquarters in Key Center sits a live fire car prop and a connex container training prop. Wolverton, in these lean economic times, has come up with two new and fiscally creative training ideas so that firefighters may train to new levels. He views training as the backbone of the department and works hard to constantly challenge and better volunteer and career firefighters. He is a long-time member of the community and therefore has a vested interest in taking the fire department to new levels. Continued safety of citizens and fire personnel is his passion. He works tirelessly to achieve goals in this area; a bar he continuously raises himself. He is the first to say that his accomplishments are a team effort. He is a loyal, department man through and through, who strives every day at work to make his community safer and his department a better place to work.

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