Sequim Gazette staff
Sequim’s top citizens, come on down.
A committee made up of past recipients, has met to choose three finalists for the Sequim-Dungeness Valley Chamber of Commerce’s Citizen of the Year for 2013.
The finalists are Al Friess, Patsy Mattingley and Gary Smith.
One will be selected as Citizen of the Year and two Community Service Awards for 2013 at the chamber’s luncheon set for 11:45 a.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 25 at Sunland Golf & Country Club.
Cost of the lunch is $20; coffee/tea only is available for $3. A luncheon RSVP is necessary by Feb. 21 to insure enough seating is available.
Al Friess was nominated by Patsene Dashiell, community liaison for the Sequim School District.
She said, "Al has been the instigator of many ventures designed to benefit others, mainly young people. He takes the time to attend to meticulous details, becomes personally involved with the benefactors, sees the project through and makes certain to report the effects of the results to interested parties. He is an asset to any organization he is a member of and any project he takes part in. He is personable, articulate and constantly 'sparking' with new ideas!"
Friess was nominated in 2013 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 board as the Scholarship Chairman and 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.
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.
Mattingley, a former preschool teacher and volunteer, is nominated for the first time due to her commitments with the Sequim Centennial Celebration, Sequim City Band, Sequim Education Foundation, Dungeness Health & Wellness Clinic and more.
“She's done a lot for the community locally and nationally,” Usselman said. “She just always goes above and beyond.”
Mattingley said she appreciates the nomination.
“When you do a lot of stuff in the community, it's nice to be recognized,” she said.
Mattingley moved to Sequim in 1997 with her husband Dave, a retired federal law enforcement officer, from the Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, area. She grew up in Chicago but the couple has lived all over the country. They have a daughter who lives in Washington, D.C. with her two sons. Mattingley's father Rex Bates lives in Sequim.
“Sequim has been a really nice place to live and do activities,” Mattingley said. “I like the small town atmosphere. I've never lived in anything but a suburb before. It's been a real adventure.”
Usselman said Mattingley was instrumental to the city's Centennial Celebration in 2013 by serving on its committee for five years and chairing the Old Fashioned Fourth of July Picnic. She also helped out at several events leading the centennial's booth answering questions and selling merchandise.
For two years, she led a variety show benefiting the Sequim Education Foundation's Engineering Challenge. Mattingley also served on he organizing committee of the Dungeness Health & Wellness Clinic's Fun Walk and remains a volunteer. She serves on the City of Sequim's Parks and Recreation board, the National Equine Land Conservation Resource board and Whitman College's board of overseers.
With the Sequim City Band she was integral in the vision to build the James Center for Performing Arts.
Gary Smith of Maple Valley Farms, an independent dairy operation northeast of Sequim, was nominated by Joe Holtrop.
Smith has been a dairyman since 1970 and has been married to his wife, Janice since 1960. They are the parents of four children. Smith's community service activities outside of the farm include water and irrigation issues, a PEO chapter providing g scholarships for girls, as past president of the Dungeness Agricultural Water Users Association, past president and board member of the Sequim Prairie Dry-Irrigation Company. Smith also was on the Farm Credit Services Board for 14 years and served as its board president for four years.
"I was surprised and very honored to do this. My wife and I were born and raised in Sequim, so we've been very involved in the community all of our lives. We have a great love for Sequim.
Holtrop explained his nomination of Smith.
"Gary Smith has unselfishly devoted his life to making Sequim and the Dungeness Valley a better place; a better place to raise a family, a better place to farm and a better place for newcomers to move to. He was elected by his irrigation peers to lead them through challenging times of change in the world of irrigated agriculture. Under Mr. Smith’s leadership, the valley’s irrigation districts and companies have implemented conservation measures that have saved many thousands of acre-feet of irrigation water.
These conservation achievements have resulted in increased flows in the Dungeness River, thus improved habitat for threatened and endangered salmon."