For Kevin Kennedy, the idea of being picked as the Sequim Dungeness-Valley Chamber of Commerce's 2012 Citizen of the Year seemed to have plenty of perks … until he heard the winner rides in a car in the Irrigation Festival Parade.
"I'm too busy — that's the Logging Show," he said Tuesday afternoon, moments after earning the coveted civic award for volunteerism.
As a Citizen of the Year winner, Kennedy also will have the task of picking future winners.
"Ah, you're putting me to work," he joked after learning of his new responsibilities.
Kennedy was selected from a trio of active finalists that included Al Friess and Larry Klinefelter.
Friess and Klinefelter received Community Service Awards at Tuesday's luncheon.
The Sequim Valley Lions nominated Kennedy, 57, for his 28-plus years with their club, his three decades of work with the Irrigation Festival Board, work with the Dungeness Crab & Seafood Festival, leader of an annual Sequim Community Church youth mission project in Mexico and more. That includes the annual logging show, a project he and Dave Bekkevar came up with in 1988.
"Sequim is a great place to grow up; it's a great community," said Kennedy, a Sequim resident since he was 2. He graduated from Sequim High School in 1975.
"It's nice to be recognized," he said.
Kennedy has a 30-year career in wastewater management and works for King County Wastewater Treatment Division, Renton.
He and his wife, Lori, have been married for 24 years. They have two adult sons, one adult daughter and two grandsons.
Community Service Award winners
Klinefelter, 70, was nominated by Linda Klinefelter, his wife of 20 years.
A lifetime member of the Marine Corps League, he is active in and junior vice president of VFW Post 6787 Carlsborg Post and has played Santa for 11 years. He's coordinator of Healing Waters Project, an effort that supports rehabilitation of disabled active military service personnel and veterans through fly-fishing and fly-tying education, and often meets with veterans who live at Sherwood Assisted Living and Prairie Springs Assisted Living.
He also sells Armed Forces ball caps to raise money for veterans assistance programs.
He also maintains and lays plaques honoring veterans at a flag pole across from Sequim High School.
"I'm very honored," Klinefelter said Tuesday, accepting his award with a brief speech. "I love to serve and will continue to serve."
Klinefelter spent 30 years as auto body repair man and served as head custodian of a school in Murfreesboro, Tenn. He and his wife moved to Sequim 2005 when Linda got job as patient navigator at OMC Cancer Center.
Larry Klinefelter has three daughters from a previous marriage, Linda has two from a previous marriage and together they have five foster children and 17 grandchildren.
"He is and always will be my hero," Linda Klinefelter said.
Friess, who was unable to attend Tuesday's ceremony, was nominated for various volunteer work throughout the community including Sequim Sunrise Rotary Club, Sequim Education Foundation, Sunland Water District, Citizens for Sequim Schools and Dungeness Valley Lutheran Church and more.
Friess keeps a weekly commitment in Pat Quinet’s classroom at Greywolf Elementary, reading one-on-one with third-graders, and has been part of the Noon Rotary Club’s project to give dictionaries to all fourth-graders in the school district.
Through involvement on the Sequim Education Foundation (SEF) board as the Scholarship Chairman and his close association with Sequim High School Career Specialist Mitzi Sanders, Friess helped create scholarships for local students. He also helped develop the annual SEF variety show.
Sanders represented Friess at Tuesday's event.
"Our goal at SEF is to inspire children to succeed," Friess wrote, in a message Sanders read to the Chamber audience. "I share this honor with oh so many volunteers throughout our community … especially those who give so much of themselves for our children and grandchildren."
Patsene Dashiell of the Sequim School District nominated Friess for the award. Sanders and Quinet also wrote nominating letters for Friess.
"He goes beyond what is asked of him by actually showing a genuine interest for each of his students in order to accommodate their reading needs," Quinet wrote. "He has been known to stay that extra hour, working with students, and at times he even buys books for them when he learns what genre of literature gets that child inspired to read."
Friess had a 34-year career with Corning Inc. He has been married to Virginia Herweh since 1957; they have two children and five grandchildren.
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