Very good deeds, very good cheer
6:51 am December 22nd, 2012
In addition to working in her floral shop, Dawn Newkirk is an organizer of community parades and food drives. (Jim Bryant/The Dispatch)
A favorite Santa Claus. Community organizers with a special talent for helping others. A teenager who never stops volunteering. And a woman who brings Christmas to the homeless.
These six people are the choices of Dispatch readers for recognition for putting others first and bringing holiday cheer to their communities – and, for that matter, lending a special spirit to everyone throughout the year.
The Dispatch invited nominations of people who do good deeds and show kindness. The names that came in were Harry Everett, Dawn Newkirk, Nancy Mettler, Betty Zenkner, Andrew Garcia and Liz Triggs. Their community involvement may be known to many, some or even relatively few.
Here are their stories, as told by their admirers:
From Judy Justice:
“There is a person that deserves recognition for all he has done in our community. He is giving, caring, thoughtful and a true friend. During Christmas season, he not only dresses as Santa, but puts a smile on the faces of many children. He also gives from the heart, helping many people out. This man never asks for anything in return. This generous man does many acts of kindness all year long. If you happen upon Harry Everett, give him a hug, a hand shake or just say thanks. This world could use more people like him. We love you, Harry.”
From Cheryl Matthiesen:
“Our friend, Harry Everett, deserves to be crowned Kris Kringle King. He’s a member of Mount Rainier Eagles 3158 with us and volunteers for virtually every holiday event we have. He always says if it’s for the kids, he’s in. He’s been Easter Bunny and Santa. This year, Harry’s lined up for 13 different community events as Santa Claus.
“He donates to all kinds of causes, all year long.
“He and his wife, Linda, who passed away May 30, have given new coats and bikes to the Eatonville Family Agency for years. Not just one bike and one coat – they loaded up their van with brand new coats of all sizes, and this year, I believe Harry’s bought 21 bikes for local kids.
“Harry volunteers for us each week, helping with bingo and if anything comes up. Like when my Christmas decorations for the bingo room there at the Eagles are pretty thin, he whips out his wallet and says, “Go buy some.” We’ve given turkeys away at our bingo for years at Thanksgiving, but we just don’t have the funds available any more, so Harry bought 25 turkeys before Christmas. He goes to the Eatonville Community Center and asks for a shopping list so he can buy what’s needed at the food bank.
“Harry’s wife was disabled by a medical mistake that eventually led to Linda being confined to a wheelchair and then dying. Harry always says they’ve lived through hard times, they know what it’s like to be in need. And they want to give back, to share what they’ve been given. Harry decorates his yard for Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas with inflatables and puts a donation barrel for the food bank out there. This year he donated hundreds of pounds of food he’d collected that way. He’s a wonderful neighbor and friend. And I’ve never met anyone more generous. I’m sure I’ve left off acts of kindness Harry does every yhear that make our lives better. We’re so lucky as a community to have Harry Everett in our midst. My sister says we should start saying ‘Harry Christmas.’”
From Lou and Carol Lasnier:
“We know someone whohas the holiday spirit; who spreads Christmas cheer; who does good deeds, volunteer work and is very kind. Indeed we do, and many of you know him, too. It’s Harry Everett.
“These are some of the things he does:
“His yard is always beautifully decorated for the Christmas season (and for other holidays, too). People come from miles around to admire it. He has a container for donations for our local food bank near the display, and collects cash and food donations for our community center. He donates his time and treasures at the Eagles; and has quietly donated bicycles for local children andor Christmas for the past few years. He is always willing & generous in helping with community fund-raisers and events. He is very good-natured and kind.
“We have known him and his wife, Linda, who passed away this past year, to do many other generous things – quietly, and expecting no recognition or anything in return. Just the joy of doing good. Harry, we salute you.”
From Sylvia Korte:
“Dawn Newkirk, president of the Eatonville Chamber of Commerce and owner of Dawn’s Floral, certainly has the holiday spirit. On Dec. 1, she and her young volunteers went all over town and collected food for the Eatonville Family Agency. Would you believe that the total poundage of food collected came to 1,695 pounds. Money was also collected, and that amount is $700. She says that a donor has over 3,000 pounds of vegetables which will be gathered by she and her friends to benefit the Family Agency.
“Also, on Dec. 1, in the evening, Dawn hosted the Santa and Mrs. Claus event at the Visitor Center in Eatonville for approximately 100 children and parents. Each child received a big orange, a peppermint stick, cookies and hot chocolate. The reason we know there were that many children is she had purchased nine boxes of cookies (with 12 cookies in each box) and only four were left.
“Before the event, Dawn had also organized the Christmas parade, something she has done for the past 14 years (she also worked with Nancy Iams for five years in doing the parade). I would say she has the Christmas spirit, wouldn’t everybody agree?”
From Margit Thorvaldson:
“I should like to nominate Nancy Mettler as one who has evidenced this giving spirit of Christmas by her bicycle projects. For two separate years, she and her family have contributed bicycles themselves and also appealed to the community for their participation, who, in their turn, responded generously. These collections provided many of the community’s less fortunate children with a bicycle for Christmas.
“Another example of Nancy’s giving spirit is the family she and her family “adopts” for Christmas, providing gifts and food to cheer their otherwise difficult holiday.
“Besides that, I would like to commend Nancy for her caring guidance the whole year through in her business, Mountain Fitness. People of any age and condition receive the same patient help and advice in improving their physical strength and motion.
“I must confess that I think Nancy is going to glare at me for writing this accolade, but in the spirit of the holiday, I hope she’ll be forgiving, and not give me too many pushups to do.
From Steve Putney, manager of Arrow Lumber:
“Please consider Betty Zenkner. Betty always has a smile and welcome greeting for everyone who comes to Arrow Lumber. She loves the children and pets that visit us. Betty worked endlessly to decorate our store for our visit by Santa. She gave joy to many as Frosty in the Christmas parade. She was the driving force in making the Fall Music Festival a success, which raised money for the Eatonville food bank Thanksgiving turkey drive. She is active in Relay for Life of Eatonville.
“Betty has been an Eatonville-Ashford resident for many years and is truly a person worthy of ‘holiday cheermeister.’”
From Barbara and John Sotello:
“This is the perfect time to recognize someone for all the good he does. This person is a freshman at Eatonville High School. This person is always willing to help no matter what time of day or night. You can call this person and in minutes he’ll be there to help. This person volunteered at the Art Festival, Fall Festival, the Eagles, Thanksgiving turkey dinner, the fund-raiser to raise money to purchase 200 turkeys to give to the less fortunate, and teacher conferences.
“The volunteering and help doesn’t just stop there. He got a call and helped a friend of his family move.
“The volunteering didn’t just start in high school, but also in middle school and elementary school. If you’re wondering who this is, it’s our grandson, Andrew Garcia. Andrew is always willing to help and never wants recognition. Andrew’s grandmother and grandfather would like to let him know how proud of him we are. We now would like Eatonville to know what a giving and generous person Andrew Garcia is.“
From Miranda Doll:
“Liz has never wanted recognition for the Stocking Project, but I feel she deserves it. The first year, she called the shelter and offered to do about 10 stockings. When she discovered that no one else did any, she offered to do them all. That was 30 the first year, then 41 last year, and this year has gathered enough to do all the Adams Street Shelter kids, plus the homeless ones waiting to get into the shelter, totaling 83 plus three on hold.
“The help of her friends and family make it possible, but the idea and organization of Liz give them the outlet to help.”