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Volunteer of year voting is open

Nominations are closed


Last updated 12/12/2012 at 9:49pm

Look for the poll like this at the bottom of this story.

Eight candidates have been nominated for The Star’s annual volunteer of the year award. The nomination deadline was Monday night.

Voting will cease on Dec. 18 at 6 p.m. The honoree will be announced in the following week’s newspaper.

Nominees are: Hillary Carriere, Carol Estrada, Fern Blaylock, Earl Cole, Bob Hendrickson, George Kohout, Eloise Bowman and Andy Trader.

All nomination letters are included below.

To make your preference known, do one of the following:

• Take the online poll at bottom of this article (past the letters of nomination).

• Bring in or mail a signed note to the newspaper office at P.O. Box 150, Grand Coulee, WA. 99133.

• Email a signed note to

All letters nominating the candidates have been published in The Star’s Letters from Our Readers section.

(This story was updated to reflect the correct number of candidates.)

Nomination Letters:

Andy Trader

I feel my husband is a very good canidate for this award of voulnteer of the year. Let me tell you why.

First, here is a list of the time he commits as a volunteer in the community.

1. Volunteer Coulee Dam fire dept.

2. Voulnteer Coulee Dam as a EMT

3. Councilman for Coulee Dam

4. Voulnteer girls softball coach

5. Voulnteer as a math tutor at Nespelem Community Center on Thursday nights.

He commits an endless amount of time and energy helping all of the surrounding areas’ townspeople. I have never heard him tell anyone “No,” but instead “Yes, what time do you need me?”

He is extremely reliable and dedicated to helping others and making improvements.

He put in many man hours during the local fires at the end of summer and worked very hard to keep the citizens safe. 

He works very hard as an EMT and goes on all calls all hours of the night.

Almost every night of the week he is putting in hours as a volunteer somewhere. I feel our community is lucky to have him because he really cares about helping others.

Mary Trader

Fern Blaylock

Fern Blaylock is my nominee for Volunteer of the Year 2012. I had the privileged opportunity to work with Fern for a couple of months at the beginning of the school where she was a volunteer riding everyday on the school bus that I drove.

Fern is amazing, besides riding as a volunteer monitor on a school bus for four hours a day, which is a challenging job by itself; she also spent the day working with students at school as a foster grandmother. On top of all that she still took out time to keep the food bank going. It is my perception that Fern works harder for our community and our children than many people who get paid.

Every child who has had opportunity to be taught by Fern is very fortunate. Fern has high expectations for every student. Therefore some students will not appreciate their fortune until later in life, Fern, however, cares more about a student’s future than whether or not they like her. Fern greeted every child every morning with a smile and a good morning.

 Sadly Fern became sick this year and so due to her health she needed to stop her job on the bus.  She still volunteers at the school and even though she does not physically ride with us anymore, her presence is still felt. I and the students benefit everyday from the systems of citizenship and cooperation that she taught the students.

I hope that our community will show their appreciation to Fern by voting for her as Volunteer of the Year 2012.

Flora Long

Carol Estrada

I would like to nominate Carol Estrada for volunteer of the year.

I think she is very deserving of this award as she volnteers a lot of her time throughout the communities, whether it be at the hospital, the schools, or at the Eagles.

She also helps out with the Trees of Sharing.

No matter what she is helping with at the time, she enjoys doing it all.

Sam Stanczak

Nancy Bolyard

Hillary Carriere

Although not a local resident, I would like to make a nomination for your volunteer of the year.

As you are aware, TriFreaks puts on a rather large event in the Grand Coulee area annually in September. Although we have many volunteers in the community, there is always one that truly shines.

With an event that requires so much time and commitment, the high school students come out and shine every year. In 2011 I had the honor of meeting a particular student by the name of Hillary Carriere. She was an amazing volunteer, taking charge of the other students getting things rolling.

This last September, again, Hillary is at our finish below the Dam promptly at 6:30 a.m. Taking time to introduce me to the students that had graciously volunteered their time, she again went to work so quickly. With her positive attitude and her organizational skills, she was my right hand girl in ensuring the finish was up and ready.

It didn’t stop there after working with me for a few hours; we went out to the run course as she helped me deliver all of the aid station supplies. Once all the supplies were delivered, she and her team headed to their station that she has run for now three years. Throughout the day I did checks on our volunteers on the course; as always her team had music going and were cheering on our athletes.

Staying until the wee hours of the morning, Hillary for her third year in a row, cheered, played music and “partied” with our athletes for an amazing 17.5 hours! Her commitment was and is amazing and kept our athletes going!

When I think of that event I thank Cathy Krohn with the high school every time for sending us some pretty amazing students, and an extra thanks for sending us Hillary. She is truly a great and giving volunteer! Thank you for taking the time to read our nomination for your volunteer of the year!

Stefan Newbury and Dana Barkdull

TriFreaks Inc.

Earl Cole

I am nominating Earl Cole.

Every time there is a free dump day we see Earl with a load of yard debris from some of the senior citizens that can not do the work themselves.

Earl also takes care of a lot of their yards and other needs.

Fred G. Womack

I would like to nominate Earl Cole for Volunteer of the Year. Earl has been helping elderly people with yard work for a good many years. If you need a tree pruned, a yard mowed, leaves raked or just about anything else, he has done it.

Working at the transfer station I see him hauling load after load of yard waste. I always ask him when he will be finished and he usually says “just a couple more loads and I'm done.” That never happens though.

Once people see him helping others he always has more. This past fall, Earl told he had one last load, when I asked him about it, he told me he had driven past the home of an elderly lady and the yard was a mess and he knew she couldn't take care of it herself. So Earl raked the leaves and hauled them away.

It is nice to live in a community where there are people like Earl to help those that can't do for themselves, or afford to pay to have work done. Good job Earl.

Randy Gumm

Bob Hendrickson

I believe that Robert (Bob) Hendrickson would be a person worthy to nominate for Volunteer of the Year for 2012.

I have known Bob for more than 30 years.

As a teacher, Bob impacted the lives of his students, those in the Resource Room and all the students at Nespelem Elementary School.

For years Bob served as a Cub Scout and Boy Scout Master.

How well I remember the Scout Family gatherings to make pizza, go sledding, and race pinewood derby cars.

My favorite memory is watching and laughing as boys with rolled-up newspapers smashed soda crackers on paper plates that were tied on their heads! Bob was always there for the children in the community and their families.

After Bob retired from teaching there was more time to volunteer in the community and in the church where Bob and Sandy worship. Bob, the Fix It Man uses his skills to help so many people out in times of crisis. I remember when my husband was out of town visiting his family in San Francisco and our ancient water heater (in the dugout dirt basement) stopped working. It was beyond repair. Bob had already fixed it a couple of times and the heater was a 1950s model. Bob came to the rescue. He helped to order a new water heater which we relocated in the house and made other preparations in the house so the water heater could be installed. All this work and no charge! Yes, Bob is a business man and repairs, fixes, rebuilds, recycles, resuses; but many times there is no charge, especially, when the people are facing “hard times.”

Bob Hendrickson is a man of values. Those values come from his belief in family, church, and community life. The Grand Coulee Area is a better place because of the giving spirit and the hard work of Robert (Bob) Hendrickson. Bob, is a man who will help out those who many people pass by or turn their back on. He volunteers his fix-it skills, his giving spirit, and his listening ear.

These are some of the reasons why I believe that Robert (Bob) Hendrickson is deserving of the honor of being Voluteer of the Year for 2012.

 Nancy Armstrong Montes

George Kohout

I would like to take this opportunity to nominate George Kohout as volunteer of the year.

We are not members of the Ridge Riders, but we appreciate what George has done for the entire community. He has brought the Ridge Riders from the brink of extinction to a very vibrant and forward looking organization that contributes substantially to the community.

He organized the recognition dinner for Shane Proctor that raised thousands of dollars for the Ridge Riders and Colorama Rodeo. He followed that up with securing advertising for the Ridge Rider events from Coors Brewery. On top of that, he was instrumental in organizing a number of “Bull O Rama” events throughout the summer.

My hat is off to George and his ability to bring together a very impressive working group for the Ridge Riders. On top of that, he had bypass surgery at the end of the summer. Congratulations George.

R. Roy Hamilton

My nomination for "Volunteer of The Year" is Mr. George Kohout.

Mr. Kohout has been the driving force behind "defibrillating" the Ridge Riders' Club and making it once again a vibrant, active riding club.

George has put the Ridge Rider grounds to very good use this past year with the "Bulls, Burgers, and Brew" bull riding competitions and other events.

He is also active in big game wildlife management, and the local area service organizations, volunteering his time and energy for causes that are good for the community.

During the raging, lightning-caused range fires of a couple of months ago, you didn't have to look very far until you found Mr. Kohout devoting himself to protecting other peoples' property and livestock.

Finally, earlier this year, when a memorial service was being held for Ellen Haven at the Strate Funeral Home, with a meal planned for afterward at the Eagle's Club, George got up at 2:00 in the morning to begin preparing the meal.

If I were ever to move back to the Coulee Country, I'd be sure and buy a place next to George. That way I'd know I'd have a fantastic neighbor.

Harvey Haven

Eloise Bowman

Eloise Bowman is my nominee for volunteer of the year 2012. She leads a group of faithful volunteers at the Grand Coulee Senior Center Thrift Shop, where they often work twice weekly every week of the year, sorting, pricing and selling items donated from our community for our community. What a great way to serve EVERYONE!

The donated items don't just add income for the senior center. This outpouring of love helps those folks on limited incomes in our community by offering clothing and household items at reasonable prices; they also offer unique opportunities to search for something special, like that lid you broke to your Corningware dish, a gag gift, or a jacket for an out-of-town grandchild who forgot theirs.

In addition to overseeing the thrift shop, whose sales are KEY to keeping the Senior Center open, Eloise spearheads several other moneymaking projects for the center: The Easter Basket sale, The Spring Bazaar, and the Fall/Winter sale are events that many in the community look forward to attending. The recent Fall sale netted the center over $1,000, and the total revenue thus far this year to support the Senior Center is $22,000! Eloise also helps those who have lost homes and belongings due to fire. She often prepares them ahead of time just to have them on hand when the need arises. Blankets, towels, dishes, clothing and other basic necessities are given freely to those fire victims.

A quick recap of Eloise's volunteerism: Works several days a week, all year long to take care of our entire community. Her efforts benefit young and old, those of varied incomes, and are key to keeping our Senior Center open.

Thank you Eloise, (and Senior Center crew Dorothy Dennis, Judy Behrens, Diane Canady, Kerry Noggles, Connie Babler and Helen Reddick) for all you do and may God bless you all.

Edna Hauser

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