Thurston County Rotary Clubs: A Unified Front

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Rotary President Elects are working together to unify the clubs in taking on bigger and better community projects. Photo courtesy: Gateway Rotary

Community service projects, unifying events, and supporting education are just a few of the objectives of the Rotary Clubs of Thurston County. Each has their own group of members ranging from veterans to business owners with one common goal: to make our local and world community a better place.

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Business Owner and Thurston County Commissioner District 2 Candidate, Michael Steadman supports his community as member of Gateway Rotary. Photo courtesy: Michael Steadman

The members of these groups come from all over the world to give back. Gateway Rotary President, Len Faucher, was a transplant from the east coast when he joined the rotary. “My first goal of joining rotary was for networking and getting to know people in my new community,” describes Faucher. “I met the founder of Gateway Rotary, Tom Carol, and he really explained the background of it. The Rotary is all about high ethics and morals and wanting to do good things in the community along with local business promotion. It seemed like a great fit for me in my new community of Olympia.”

Each member has a reason to want to give back to our community. “I joined Rotary because my Cousin Jack had Polio since he was 12-years-old,” explains local businessman and Thurston County Commissioner District 2 Candidate, Michael Steadman. “When I heard that Rotary had been working towards eradicating Polio for 30 years it seemed a natural fit. It’s also another way to serve my country. From my role in the Marine Corps, working at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, serving on the Lacey City Council, and now Rotary. It just makes me feel more like a citizen by giving back. It’s a way to show thanks for my liberty and freedoms.”

Local Rotaries contribute to our community in many ways. Whether it’s working with local nonprofits to fill backpacks of food for homeless students or hosting a family tradition like the annual Duck Dash, the rotary is making positive impacts on our area each and every day. “One of my favorite programs with the biggest impact is Hawks Prairie Heroes,” says Hawks Prairie Rotary President, Buddy Stevens. “Students that have overcome an amazing hardship just to graduate are awarded $500. One of our recipients this year moved from Mexico to be with her father, her father then had to leave, and she floated between foster families. She was still able to graduate with a 3.2 GPA. It’s really remarkable and it’s amazing as a rotary that we can honor these hard-working students. In fact, we are hoping to expand the program to high school juniors and sophomores to honor even more hard-working students and keep them focused on their goal to graduate.”

Working Together to Do Even More

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Rotary Clubs focus on assisting members in the community including this build of a handicap accessible ramp by Hawks Prairie Rotary. Photo courtesy: Hawks Prairie Rotary

The Rotary presidents got together and put their heads together to begin dreaming up ways to make the work of each Rotary even more impactful to our community. What was once micro focused individually as the Tumwater, Olympia, Lacey, Hawks Prairie, and Gateway Rotary Clubs, are now morphing into a team effort by all of the groups to take on bigger and better projects. “One person can do amazing things, but a whole group can do so much more,” explains Stevens. “We always support each other’s events, but now we are looking at community projects we could do together. Individually, each rotary does great things for the community. When we work together, the sky’s the limit!”

“There are so many ways to make rotary a bigger and better tool for our community,” explains Faucher. “When all of the rotary presidents got together this past year we decided to team up on district and community projects. We plan to move some steps forward. We want to start a trend and then start a real movement.”

What projects the rotaries will tackle together is still up in the air, but they will be entirely decided upon by the need of the Thurston County community. “No matter what the goals, we’re more apt to accomplish more of them faster, more efficiently, and at a lower cost, by working together,” says Steadman. “Resources are always limited, but partnering will allow us to make a bigger difference.”


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