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INTO THE 21st CENTURY, 1997 – 2016

Everett Rotary launched its ninth decade with a robust 1996-97 year.  The annual Regatta raised $61,000.  Assets in the Everett Rotary Youth Foundation (ERYF) now exceeded one million dollars.  The Club presented $70,000 in scholarships.   Twenty-three youngsters were honored as Students of the Month and 200 high schoolers attended the Club sponsored Career Day.  The December Food Drive, with Rotarians stationed at the entrances of local super markets, netted 13,700 pounds of groceries and $2,100 in cash.  The Club committed for three years to a YMCA “Connections” program that brought law enforcement personnel and youth together in a three day retreat to forge positive relations.  Membership remained fairly steady with 24 recruits and 25 resignations.  On December 3, 1996, the Club noted its 80th birthday with a special “Celebrating 80 years of Service” program.  Dr. Harold Gunderson, who had joined in 1938, was honored as the Everett Rotarian with the most years in the club.  Sadly, two former Club presidents – Jim Cunningham and Bill Moore – died during the year.  Another past president – J.B. Switzer – was nominated to be the Rotary District 5050 Governor.  On the technological front,  District 5050 was recognized as having a new website.  Weekly meetings continued at the Everett Yacht Club building and the June 24, 1997 session was determined to be the Club’s 4,107th meeting.
The 1997-98 Regatta brought in $63,049, but it would be the last one. The Club had adopted a new set of Initiatives that called for development of a signature event that would yield at least $100,000 annually by 2001, and promote fellowship with fund raising.  After considerable discussion, the Club decided to drop the Regatta and sponsor a Rotary Run.  The Run would take place within the City of Everett and would feature a competitive half marathon, a 10 kilometer race, and a family and youth run/walk.  The latter activity was held entirely within Everett Memorial Stadium and the two other races started and ended at the Stadium. Unlike the Regatta, the Run required substantial preparation and a volunteer work force equal to the entire number of Club members.  With President-elect Marc Baker in charge, the first Run was held on Saturday, June 5, 1999.  Net income was $48,233 with an anticipation that both participation and income would rise over the next few years. 
As the calendar moved toward a new century and a new millennium, the Club charged ahead with its many activities.  Weekly meetings were still being held at the old Everett Yacht Club, which by now was known as the Marine View Conference Center.  Good programs continued to be a hallmark of the weekly meetings.  In one memorable 1998-99 meeting, Captain JJ Quinn of the Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier wowed the audience with his description of Lincoln activity in the Persian Gulf.  The Club welcomed a Group Study Exchange group from Australia and member Warren Burns (appropriately a fire fighter by profession) was a Group Study Exchange representative from Everett.  The commitment to youth was evidenced in many ways.  The Holiday Season was marked by gifts to Deaconess and Cocoon House young folks.  Local businesses boosted the annual scholarship program by $56,000 as “Partners in Excellence.”  In the spring of 1999, 29 local students were awarded a total of $134,000 in scholarships.  “Happy Bucks” continued as a source of revenue and laughter.  One member shared his frustration in attempting to buy an exotic sports car.  When the agency didn’t have a Ferrari, they offered a Lamborghini; the potential buyer demurred, noting that he didn’t like Italian food.  He finally settled on a Graffiti which the dealer said would be in his garage the next day.  On the serious side, the Club always rallied when help was needed.  At one meeting, over $1,800 was raised to help victims of a devastating Central America hurricane.  Several members served in District 5050 leadership roles and JB. Switzer was the District Governor in 1998-99.
With President Marc Baker imploring the Club to “ …ride into the millennium together”  (he the Harley Davidson enthusiast),  Everett Rotary rolled into the 2000s.  Dire predictions about potential computer and technological problems had folks on edge, but for the most part, few issues developed.  Instead, in fact, the Club did go on the internet and Clubmate was made operational.  Fred Sjoholm, long time Club treasurer, still held that position, and Secretary Don Loken maintained a perfect attendance record that dated back to his 1954 initiation into Rotary.  When Judi Edwards was hired as Club Executive Secretary in 1999-2000, it was the beginning of a relationship that continues to this day.  Further contributions by Tony Bozich and a surging stock market propelled the Youth Foundation funds to new levels.  The Club awarded $147,500 in  1999-2000 scholarships,  bringing the club’s cumulative scholarship donations over the years to more than a million dollars.  Three young people, ages 18-24, were sponsored by the club for the annual Rotary Youth Leadership Award (RYLA) Camp.  The Local Impact Committee awarded more than $16,000 to 16 local youth programs ranging from Junior Achievement to Housing Hope.  Another $7,000 was donated to Rotary World Service projects in Israel, Guatemala, and Venezuela.  One of the best received weekly programs was delivered by local urologist Dr. Tom Cooper.  His discussion of the prostate gland was most appropriate in a Club with a preponderance of older males.  He did get a “not me” response, however, from one of the woman members when he proclaimed “…all of you are going to have prostate issues.”
In the early years of the 21st Century, weekly Club meetings were still following a long established format – which for the most part – is still in use at this writing.,  Beginning about 12:08 and concluding at 1:15,  the typical meeting proceeded in this order:
            Pledge of Allegiance
            Opening Song
            Introduction of Visiting Rotarians and Guests
            Happy Dollars / Birthday Bucks
            Raffle / Drawing
            Closing Remarks
During Jim Haugen’s 2004-2005 presidency, the Invocation was changed to the Thought for the Day.  President Maddy Metzger-Utt eliminated the Opening Song in 2013-14 but it was reinstated on a limited scale in 2014-2015 by President Mark Valentine.  Over the years, the Opening Song has taken many forms including group singing, instrumental and vocal solos, small group performances, and even a whistling soloist.  In the early 2000’s, Mike Kight, Mark Valentine, Larry Byers, Ed Coon, Tim Hornbecker, Katherine Goforth, John Hopkins,  Jack Kelly and Kim Buike (the whistling soloist) were among the many “music makers.”  Announcements changed in 2004-2005 with a new policy requiring payment for announcements of non-Rotary sponsored events.  The Raffle/Drawing and Happy Bucks were, and continue to be, important revenue generators for the Everett Rotary Youth Foundation.  By the time the Club reached its Centennial, the two activities were producing a combined annual income of approximately $25,000.  At one point, Washington State Lottery tickets were the raffle prizes.  Later, the raffle prizes were items donated by Club members.  While several members excelled as lively “drawing conductors,” Amy Norman and Noni LaLone were particularly memorable for the color and innovations they brought to the role.  Business was rarely conducted at the weekly meetings unless it was required by the Club Constitution or Bylaws, or was of such a nature that the entire membership needed to be involved.  Most business was handled at the monthly Board of Directors meetings.  Finally, a key to the success of the weekly meetings was the largely behind the scenes effort of the diligent Sergeant-at-Arms Committee.
The Club was particularly proud in 2001-02, when Past President Kathy DeTuerk served as Rotary District 5050 Governor.  Having been the Club’s first woman president, she became the District’s first ever woman governor.  While much would be accomplished at the Club and District level, the striking event of 2001-02 was the September 11 terrorist attack.  Nearly 3,000 people died, and thousands were injured when two hijacked airplanes destroyed New York City’s World Trade Center, another hit the Pentagon, and a fourth, probably destined for Washington D.C., crash landed in rural Pennsylvania.  September 11, 2001 was a regular meeting day for Everett Rotary.  Stunned members, reeling from the devastation they had viewed on television that morning, gathered for a somber session that was altered to address the crisis.  Mike Holcomb talked of the Red Cross’ response to the events.  Happy Bucks were dropped, as was the President’s usual closing joke.  Instead the meeting concluded with a moment of silence.  The tragic day that became known as 911 had irrevocably changed America.
With 911 still casting a long shadow, Everett Rotary moved ahead – some things changing and others remaining the same.  Treasurer Rich Toyer and Secretary Bill Dobler remained in their roles, offering invaluable service and counsel to the club.  Judi Edwards, now designated as Assistant to the President, was involved in virtually every phase of Everett Rotary activities.  The club did change meeting locations over the years.  Meetings continued to be held at the Marine View Conference Center until moving to Naval Station Everett Commons in January 3, 2006.  The last meeting at the Navy Base was June 25, 2013.  The next move was to the Everett Golf and Country Club.  Since January, 2015, meetings have been held at Everett’s Legion Memorial Golf Course.
Through its many committees, the Club continued its involvement in a variety of projects and activities.  The Career Fair, typically serving hundreds of local youth, was an annual event.  The Club regularly recruited participants for the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA), Group Study Exchange, and the Ambassadorial Scholarship program.  Andy Skotdal was the long-time chair of the latter committee.  The Fireside Committee held sessions to promote and foster acquaintance and personal friendship among Club members.  Though the Youth Study Exchange program did not occur every year, the Club was both a host to incoming students and a sponsor for outgoing students on several occasions.  The Local Impact Committee regularly provided funds and support to organizations such as the Children’s Museum, Little Red Schoolhouse, Volunteers of America, YMCA, Campfire, and the Boy Scouts of America.  The Wheelers Committee continued with its program to indoctrinate new members to Rotary practices, policies and traditions.  An always active Rotary Foundation Committee annually raised significant funds for the Foundation, such as the nearly $50,000 in 2001-2002.  The Environmental Committee annually arranged a work party at Rotary Park where Club members rolled up their sleeves to cut brush, clean up parking areas, and complete minor landscaping projects.  It was a time when a member like Janice Ellis, for instance, demonstrated that her ditch digging skills could support her if she should ever decide to leave the legal field.
The World Community Service Committee, which always had financially supported projects, adopted a more “hands on” participatory stance that included ventures to foreign countries.  In 2002-2003, Committee Chair Mary Brueggeman headed up a project in which members from the three Everett area Rotary Clubs delivered 280 wheelchairs to individuals in Morelia and Guanajuato, Mexico.  In subsequent years, there would be trips to several other foreign locations including India for a water project, and Puerto Rico for a hydroponics and economic development project. 
Also, during this period, certain activities evolved into regular events enjoyed by the membership.  Each holiday season, club members would station themselves in front of local grocery stores for a one day food drive.  That effort eventually shifted to high school students and Club members instead worked at the local Volunteers of America Food Bank under the leadership of Eileen Simmons and others.  Past President Mark Nesse spearheaded a “taxi service” for sailors whose ships were returning from deployment to Naval Station Everett.   Parked near the pier, Club members loaded sailors and their luggage into the members’ personal vehicles, and then took them wherever they wanted to go.  Destinations ranged from a local pizza parlor to Sea Tac Airport.  Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner became a popular social activity.  And each June the Club hosted about 80 high school football players and their coaches from around the state at a regular Tuesday luncheon meeting.  The high schoolers – and their enormous appetites -  were in town for the annual East / West All Star Game featuring the best high school football players in the state of Washington. 
Without doubt, the Rotary Club of Everett became best known during this time for its scholarship program. The year’s highlight was the Spring Scholarship Day Luncheon meeting which in later years was emceed by Randy Hansen.  Rotarians, guests, students and parents packed the room for a festive and joyful distribution of awards to elated recipients.  In the spring of 2003, 32 local students received a total of $146,000 in scholarships.  That amount included $36,000 from the Partners in Excellence program where grants from local firms and individuals were matched by the Everett Rotary Youth Foundation.  Four students received AGB grants of $4,000 a year for four years of college.  These awards had been made possible through the generosity of Anthony G. Bozich.  Sadly, Tony – an honorary Everett Rotarian – died at the age of 95, on August 14, 2003.  His contributions to the Everett Rotary Youth Foundation in the 1990’s were instrumental in elevating scholarships to the Club’s premier program.  A diminutive but lively individual, he delighted in attending the Scholarship Awards Day.  Called to the podium, he would deliver a brief, but powerful message:  “Students, set a goal, and achieve it.” 
In 2004, the Rotary Run was discontinued as the Club’s major fund raiser.  The labor intensive event consistently failed to meet its $100,000 a year goal and its value in creating member camaraderie and increasing Rotary’s community presence were questionable.  It was replaced by an “in house” campaign with no effort to seek external contributions.  At first, it was a members soliciting members approach.  Later it evolved into a team effort with captains simply soliciting funds from Club members on their teams.  This new fund raising project, always chaired by the president nominee, often reflected the personality or business of the chairperson.  The first – in 2005 – was labeled the “Haul of Fame” by Chairperson Rose Goulet in obvious reference to her family’s garbage hauling business.  From the beginning, this simplified, direct approach raised more money than the Run.
Under the leadership of 2005-06 President Lyle Ryan, the Club elected to commemorate Rotary International’s Centennial by helping fund a spray pool project at Everett’s Forest Park.  The Club contributed $100,000 to the 60’ X 90’ water playground for children, which was dedicated on July 3, 2007.  Also in 2005, the Club established an Interact Club at Everett High School.  Youth Services Chair Julie Willie was a leader in the effort.  The new club began with 15 members, three of whom travelled to Mexico with several Club members to deliver wheelchairs.  In addition to the Mexico trip, there was an excursion to India to construct 24 brick houses and install 12 wells in the village of Kotalghaska.  Sharon Hemmat was chair of the busy World Community Service Committee. 
The 2006-07 year marked the Club’s entrance into its 10th decade.  President Rose Goulet shared two distinctions – she was the club’s second woman president, and the feminine half of the first father/daughter president combination.  Her father Ed Rubatino had served as Club President in 1977-78.  In the 10 years since the club’s 80th birthday, much had changed.  Membership had dipped slightly from 202 to190, but the number of women in the Club had climbed from 27 to 48 – an increase of 78%.  Funds in the Everett Rotary Youth Foundation had almost doubled since 1996-97 and the amount given annually in scholarships had grown from $70,000 to $198,000 – a 182% increase.   By the spring of 2007, the Club had awarded a total of $2,321,000 in scholarships.  Bob Bavasi chaired the drive that raised nearly $66,000 for the Rotary Foundation and the club sponsored outgoing (Ellie Exum) and incoming (Quentin LeMoigne from  France) foreign  exchange students.
The Club lost an icon in December of 2006 with the  death of artist Bernie Webber.  Beloved in the Club and the community, he had been an Everett Rotarian since 1953.  His countless artistic contributions and ever present humor were part and parcel of the Club culture.  His special relationship with the US Navy was beneficial to the Club.  Those who attended still vividly remember the trip he arranged for members on the nuclear submarine - USS Henry M. Jackson. 
An endowment fund proposed by Past President Marc Baker, was created in Bernie’s name and an annual Bernie Webber Scholarship is still presented.  Another club icon – long time Club treasurer and financial advisor Fred Sjoholm retired from the Hascal Sjoholm  accounting firm in  2006.  In recognition of his retirement, the firm presented a check for $25,000 to the Everett Rotary Youth Foundation to fund an endowed scholarship.  The Webber and Sjoholm awards were added to the list of scholarship endowment funds created in honor of or in  memory of  Club  members and/or  members of their families.  By the spring of 2007, Jerry Dykstra had founded the Adelaide Dykstra fund in memory of his wife, a former Everett High School mathematics teacher; Bill Hoffman had honored his  wife, an Everett High English teacher, and the family of Club member Hol Mabley had started an endowment fund  in his memory.
2007-08 was a mixed year for the Rotary Club of Everett.  Local and world community charitable activities continued, and an all-time high of $244,000 was awarded in scholarships.  There were, however, ominous signs on the horizon.  The Boeing Company, Everett’s largest employer by far, created local anxiety with an announcement that it would assemble some of the firm’s new 787 airplanes in South Carolina.  The veiled threat that Boeing was positioning itself to pull out of the Puget Sound area would become an ongoing concern.  Also, the community shuddered with the recurring reports that the Navy was considering closing Naval Station Everett, which was the city’s second largest employer. The total Everett Rotary Youth Foundation fund balance, which had grown by nearly $367,000 in 2006-07, slipped by a similar amount in 2007-08.   In the fall, the nation would plunge into a morass that became known as The Great Recession.  It would be the country’s worst economic period since the depression of the 1930s and would negatively impact the Club’s finances, charitable programs, and membership numbers.
Suffering from a plummeting stock market and dwindling corporate earnings, the Everett Rotary Youth Foundation (ERYF) fund balance slid downward to $1,253,808.  This represented a total loss of $646,677 or 34% from June 2007 to June 2009.  Despite a relatively successful fund drive, it was still necessary to trim expenditures.  The amount awarded in scholarships in 2008-09 dropped to $228,950.  It was the beginning of a decline that would last several years.  These were difficult times for businesses and many scaled back or collapsed.  Frontier and Cascade Banks were among the local financial institutions that disappeared.  Local unemployment soared to nearly 11% by 2010. The tough economic situation affected Club members, and this undoubtedly contributed to a membership decline.  By 2010-11, membership had dropped to 175; it hit 151 in 2011-12. 
In the dismal economic atmosphere, the Club welcomed the excitement generated by member Will McMahan.  On Monday, May 26, 2008, he pedaled his recumbent bicycle out of his yard to pursue a goal of biking across the United States to Raleigh, North Carolina.  With head cheerleader Mark Nesse delivering regular reports, the club got hooked on Will’s progress.  Dillon, Montana; Walden, Colorado; Dixon, Kentucky were among the many stops, which sometimes included attendance at a local Rotary Club meeting.  Finally Nesse announced that McMahan was nearing his destination.  Club members gathered for a group photograph holding letters that spelled out:  “Congrats!  Where there’s a Will, there’s a way!”  Mark transmitted the picture to the Raleigh Rotary Club, which surprised Will by presenting it, now in poster form, to him.  He had done it.  Across the country on a bicycle in a total of 83 days – and tracked by an Everett Rotary Club that had shared in his “thrill of victory.”  Not content with one such venture, Will had just completed another such trip at the time of this writing.  He has written a book – Crossing America – about his 2008 adventure.  Also in 2016, as chair of the major fund-raiser, he titled the event – Pedal to the Medal. 
By 2009-10, the value of the Everett Rotary Youth Foundation (ERYF) had begun to inch back.  It rose to $1,344,321 by the end of the Rotary year.  Through prudent management, the ERYF Board and Club Board of Directors were able to keep expenditures very close to income.  Thirty-four students received $187,400 in scholarships and the avenues of community and international services supported the usual  programs and many causes.  Certain activities had become annual social events by this time.  Dick Schlosser organized a Hewitt Avenue Pub Crawl, although the  street had fewer pubs than when the club was formed in 1916.  There were outings to the Everett Silvertips hockey games, usually organized by Jim Staniford, and treks to Everett Aquasox baseball games.  From 2009 to  2014, anywhere from 40 to  80  Rotarians and their families gathered on a pre-selected winter evening to view this writer’s miniature Holiday  Village – modestly called “Larryville” – at his 3310 Grand Avenue home.  The writer moved in 2015 and the village was donated to the Everett Mall for display.  Club member Glen Bachman, the Mall manager, was the key person in facilitating the move.
As the Club entered the 2010-11 year, a fresh 2010-15 Strategic Plan was adopted.  These plans first implemented in the 1990’s, were developed with member input and outlined Club goals and objectives for a five year time span.  The 2010-15 Plan stated the following vision:  “The Rotary Club of Everett is the pre-eminent professional service club, known for its core values, support of youth education, and for successfully identifying and addressing community and international issues.”  The plan then identified goals to be accomplished under the umbrella of international, youth, community, and club categories.
The Everett Rotary  Youth  Foundation was boosted in 2010-11 when member Jim Hayes, through his contacts with  the Suskin Foundation, obtained $25,000 for scholarships and then another $300,000 of unrestricted funds.  Thirty students received a total of $176,500 in scholarships and continuing an established practice, the club honored youngsters from local high  schools as Students of the Month.  Once again the Local Impact Committee distributed more than $15,000 to local agencies, ranging from Housing First to the First Tee.  In addition to distributing more than $18,000 to  worthy causes such as helping needy children in Ethiopia, the World Community Service Committee conducted the Club’s first ever trip to Puerto Rico.  This venture, orchestrated by Ed Petersen and Todd Morrow, resulted in the forging of a relationship between Everett Rotary and the Rotary Club of Turado in Puerto Rico.  On another note, Marc Baker did an excellent job with his own fundraiser, collecting more than $10,000- via his motorcycle ride to the International Convention in New Orleans.  The June 30, 2011 ERYF fund balance of $1,562,231 was a healthy increase from the previous year.
President nominee Maddy Metzger-Utt chaired a successful annual fundraiser in 2011 with a Rotary Olympics theme,   The net of $65,764 exceeded the budget by more than a thousand dollars.  The worse of the “Great Recession” had passed but annual fund raising was impacted by a continued decline in membership.  Nevertheless the Club was still able to award $161,500 in scholarships to 31 worthy local students.  By now there was an additional endowment fund in memory of long time member Pat Miller.  The fund had been established by his family, including son Steve Miller, a Club member.  After her death in 2013, Kay Lyons’ name was added to the Hol Mabley endowment fund.  The daughter of Mabley, she was the wife of past Club president Dick Lyons.   The total amount given in scholarships in club history now exceeded three million dollars.
The community suffered a blow on April 15, 2012 when Kimberly Clark closed its pulp and paper plant on the Everett water front.  Founded in the late 1920s as a pulp manufacturing facility, the mill had become Everett’s largest single employer after Scott Paper purchased it in the early 1950s and added paper manufacturing.  Long after the city had shed its Mill Town mantle, the mill, now operated and owned by Kimberly Clark, continued as one of Everett’s major industries.  Its closure brought down the final curtain on the community’s wood products era and left about 800 employees  without family wage jobs.  As of this writing, the vacant 60+ acre site sits vacant, although the Port of Everett has expressed an intent to purchase it. 
In 2012, the Rotary Club of Everett launched the “Next Generation Project,” an ambitious multi-year initiative to enhance post-secondary school opportunities for youngsters who have demonstrated college level potential but face circumstances that mitigate against their pathway  to college.  To accomplish this goal, the Club linked up with AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination), a nationwide program that had been implemented in the Everett Public Schools.  AVID is a college readiness system that focuses on “least-served” youngsters in the academic middle who want to go to college and are willing to work hard.  Frequently, these students are low income, minority youth with parents who did not attend college.  Acting on a recommendation from the Next Generation Project Committee, chaired by Ted Wenta, the Club Board of Directors pledged $200,000 to the project.  This four year commitment was enhanced by other contributors, including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, bringing total funding to $330,000.  Initially, the goal was to support 240 AVID high school students.  Within two years, the project had expanded to serve 800 AVID youth, grades 3 through 12.  Working closely with Everett School District personnel, the Club provides a variety of scholarships, underwrites college visitations, pays tuition for college credit classes offered to high schoolers, funds classroom grants, and makes Rotarians available as career speakers in AVID classes.  To date, Next Generation has experienced success and acclaim.  In April of 2014, it was recognized as the top service project in Rotary District 5050, which includes 57 clubs in the U.S. and Canada.  The AVID program received more recognition and financial support through a first ever “High Five Walkathon” at Cascade High  School in the spring of 2015.  This event for Rotarians, AVID students, school district staff, and other  supporters was repeated in the spring of 2016.
The adoption of the AVID project altered the distribution of scholarships, starting in the spring of 2013.  Twenty-one AVID students received awards ranging from $500 to $5,000.  Another twenty-one students received scholarships ranging from $1,000 to $13,500 (over a four year period).  The total amounted to $125,750.  On another note (literally), Mike Kight set a musical standard for the opening song with his October 23, 2012 rendition of “If My Nose was Running Money, I’d Blow it All on You.” 
The Club had hosted and sent some outstanding foreign exchange students over the years but everyone agreed that Daniel Nielson, the Club’s 2012-13 exchange student from Nyborg, Denmark was truly exceptional.  Poised, articulate and mature, Daniel fit in with high schoolers and adults.  A leader at Everett High School, he related just as well with Everett Rotarians, displaying wisdom and wit well beyond his years.  He has returned for visits at least twice, where he is welcomed with open arms.  Many club members are expecting great things for this remarkable young man. 
Everett Mayor Ray Stephanson, a long time Club member, designated February 23-March 1, 2013 as Rotary Week and on April 2, 2013, the Club celebrated its 5000th meeting with a review of Everett Rotary’s nearly 97 years of history.  This writer, as Club historian, presented a slide show dedicated to legendary member Steve Saunders.  Born on March 24, 1913, the 100 year old Saunders was the oldest Everett Rotarian and the only current member older than the club itself.  President in 1958-59, he had offered wise and appreciated counsel to virtually every president since then.
By 2013-14, the Great Recession had passed but the community was rocked by the prospect that Boeing still might shift a major segment of its 82,000 Washington State employees to locations in other states.  At stake, in particular, was the assembly site for the new 777X aircraft.  The state of Washington awarded the company $8.7 billion in tax breaks and the clincher came on January 3, 2014, when the Boeing Machinists Union approved a new contract that virtually guaranteed assembly of both the 777x and its composite wing at the Everett site.  It was a joyous time.
The Club and the community were saddened by the death of Steve Saunders on December 2, 2014.  This business and civic leader, who had lost his wife Jo six months earlier, was just three months short of his 102nd birthday.  A Resolution, paying tribute to his many contributions, was read at the January 13, 2015 Everett Rotary meeting by Past President and Past District Governor Tom Rainville.  A few months later, the Club received word that it was the recipient of two generous bequests from the estate of Steve and Jo Saunders:  $100,000 for project(s) in the Everett area and $528,000 to create an endowment fund to support an annual Saunders scholarship(s).  Even in death, this benevolent pair was still giving to Rotary.  Another Club icon, Don Loken, died on March 29, 2015.  This long time Everett businessman joined Rotary in 1954 and served in various roles over the years.  Quiet but friendly, he was a devoted Rotarian who had over 50 years of perfect attendance.
The Club had experienced some lean years but by 2014-2015, both the local and national financial picture had improved.  The economic upturn and bequests such as the Saunders’ pushed the ERYF total equity to $3,143,948 on June 30, 2015.  By this time, the ERYF had eight restricted scholarship funds by donors and four board designated funds:  Paul Harris Endowment Fund, Loren Baker Scholarship Fund, Partners Scholarship Fund, and Suskin Foundation Fund.  Having negotiated its way through good years and bad, the ERYF Board of Directors decided in 2014-15 to gradually transition the investments into index mutual funds in the future.  Other changes also were enacted during this period.  A decision was made to serve “students in the immediate Everett vicinity,” which for scholarship purposes meant Cascade, Everett, and Sequoia High Schools and Everett Community College.  In addition, the annual Scholarship Awards Ceremony was changed to an evening event at the Everett School District’s new Community Resource Center.  There were personnel changes, too.  Bill Dobler bowed out after years as Club Secretary and Dale Newman assumed that role.  Past President Lyle Ryan served as District 5050 Governor in 2014-15.
During this period, the weekly meetings continued to be sources of information, inspiration, and laughter.  Programs covered a gamut of topics.  One week members might learn how the AVID program had been founded and then hear the next week from our U.S. Congressman Rick Larsen.  Folks like David Beyer, Bob Drewel, and Paul Pitre kept members informed about Everett Community College and the new Everett branch of Washington State University.  Mayor Ray Stephanson annually delivered a “State of the City” address.  Member Tammy Dunn reported on activities of the Snohomish County Sports Commission and Paula Beatty of the Snohomish County Health Leadership coalition implored members to develop an advance “end of life plan.”  Commander Giles, director of Everett High School’s Navy Junior ROTC program, stirred the membership with his powerful Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day messages.  Much inspiration came from young people.  The Club listened to success stories from Students of the Month, AVID enrollees, and former scholarship recipients.    Elizabeth Hassebrock, 2012 winner of a Rotary scholarship, told of her graduation as valedictorian from Gonzaga University and her admission to the Graduate School of Architecture at Stanford University.  Club members shared tales of success too.  Steve Miller told of his adventures as one of the world’s top water skiers and Marybeth Dingledy kept the Club posted on the many activities she has pursued in raising more than $120,000 to fight breast cancer.  George Petrie entertained with a saga about his fictitious meeting with Paul Harris.  Some members camouflaged their real ages with complex mathematical calculations during Birthday Bucks but frequently they rounded it up to $100 so they could hear the President ring the bell.  On a more serious note, members listened with pride to the reports of Rotary International’s success in the fight against polio.  As a perennial District 5050 leader in raising money for the Rotary International Foundation, Everett Rotary played a significant role in the anti-polo battle.  Virtually all Club members had become Paul Harris Fellows or were Sustaining Paul Harris Members.  Many members had multiple Paul Harris’: Past District Governor Tom Rainville topped the list with 26 as of  2015.  A new Club Strategic Plan for 2016-2020 was adopted by the Board on August 27, 2015.  All this activity was dutifully reported in The Log, which now reached most members via the internet.  Marc Baker, Jim Haugen, and Russ Hermes were among the folks who toiled selflessly on The Log for many years.
The new four year Strategic Plan 2015 focused the Club in new ways.  Multiyear projects became a priority for increasing the impact of Club service programs and financial investments.  This included a three year grant to the Recovery Café, a program serving mentally ill homeless individuals and a five year plan of international service to Dajabon, Dominican Republic.  The Next Generation Project creating college-going pathways for disadvantaged students in Everett Public Schools was extended four more years as the Club’s signature project.
By 2014, the Club was giving serious attention to its upcoming 100th birthday.  A small Centennial Celebration Committee was appointed that year, and chaired by Past President Mark Nesse, began discussing possible activities and projects.  As discussions proceeded over the next year, the committee expanded to 13 members and, with club input, developed specific recommendations.  After considerable deliberation, the Club adopted the following Centennial projects proposed by the committee: 
  • Next Generation - $100,000 to support the College Readiness System for “Kids in the Middle” in the AVID program.
  • Streets Initiative - $100,000 to assist in the creation of a Housing First facility for chronic homeless individuals in Everett.
  • Hope Works Culinary Training Program - $100,000 to support a program to put homeless youth and individuals on career pathways in the culinary industry.
  • Dominican Republic Project - $100,000 to build 100 Commercial Gardens as part of an economic development initiative in this country.
  • Next Generation – $100,000 support for college visits, scholarships, and mentoring for AVID program students.
  • Scholarships – $180,000 in continued funding for our long standing scholarship program.
    In addition, two special events were scheduled:
  • Founder’s Day Luncheon – December 13, 2016 at Everett Community College’s Walt Price Student Fitness Center – 100 years from the original organizational meeting of our Rotary Club.
  • Gala Celebration - March 1, 2017 at the Everett Xfinity Events Center -100 years from the date our Rotary Club was chartered.
    An historical booklet covering Club history from 1916 to the present will be distributed at the Founder’s Day Luncheon and a booklet celebrating 100 year highlights will be distributed at the Gala.
    Seeing the 2016-17 Centennial year as a bridge between the past and the future, President Ed Petersen led the Club in several new directions.  Thirty Five Past Presidents were featured at Club meetings telling stories about their year as a way for members to celebrate the building blocks for the Club we had become.  Commitment to youth was enhanced with new youth activities.  A HOPE Mentoring project with college students mentoring high school AVID students in our Next Generation Project was started.  A process was launched for forming the first ever Rotaract Club in Everett.  Incoming (Hugo from France) and outgoing (Courtney to Sicily) Youth Exchange students were sponsored.  A new “Ice Cream Social” event for AVID students, parents, and teachers was an inspiring, standing room only event for Rotarians to celebrate the Club’s continued commitment to youth development.  The Herald provided great coverage.
    The Club could look back on many changes as it entered its Centennial year.  Chartered as Rotary International’s 272nd Club, Everett is now one of 35,247 clubs with more than 1,235,000 international members.  At the local level, the city of Everett has grown from about 25,000 residents in 1916 to nearly 110,000 in 2016.  More than 25% of the 2016 population consists of racial minorities, compared to virtually none in 1916.  Mill Town Everett, which could produce over six million red cedar shingles a day, has given way to an economy dependent on aircraft manufacturing.  A south Everett site of woods, farms, and open space in 1916 is now the largest industrial center in Washington state, with Boeing alone employing 40,000 workers.  The Everett waterfront, once lined with lumber and shingle mills, now houses a large Navy base and the biggest public marina on the West Coast.  The Club itself has 149 active and honorary members (about 27% female) compared to the 52 charter members.  Technology has transformed Club activities.  Members communicate via the computer and smart phone.  The Log is transmitted on the internet and for the first time, in 2016-17, the Club Roster was made available exclusively on line.  The Club is proud of its many contributions locally and globally.  The focus on youth is evidenced by the more than 3.75 million dollars that had been awarded in scholarships over the years.  With fund raising efforts that consistently bring in nearly $100,000 annually and substantially more than $3,000,000 in the Everett Rotary Youth Foundation, the Rotary Club of Everett is well positioned financially to carry on its good work.  The biggest challenge relates to membership, which has slipped about 40% from its high of more than 250 in the 1980s.  As of this writing, the Club is mounting a promising membership campaign, with an emphasis on recruiting new younger persons, and increasing the number of women.  If history is prologue, there seems to be little doubt that Everett Rotary will rise to the occasion and continue to be the premier service club in the community.  The outlook for the next century is bright, indeed.
Exhibit 1         Roster of Everett Rotary Charter Members
Exhibit 2         Past Presidents of the Rotary Club of Everett
Exhibit 3         Fifty Year History of Everett Rotary (1916-1966) by Loren Baker
Exhibit 4         District 5050 (or predecessor District 504) Governors from Everett Rotary
Exhibit 5         Rotary Clubs sponsored by Everett Rotary
Exhibit 4
District 5050 (or predecessor District 504) Governors from Rotary Club of Everett
                             Clayton Williams
                             Herb  Lohr
                             Tom Rainville (1987-88)
                             Don Senter (1994-95)
                             J.B. Switzer (1998-99)
                             Kathy DeTuerk (2001-02)
                             Lyle  Ryan (2014-15)
Exhibit 5
Rotary Clubs Sponsored by the Rotary Club of Everett
                             Marysville, circa 1928 (club disbanded in the 1930s)
                             Edmonds, May 14, 1951
Arlington, June 20, 1970 (originally North Snohomish County
Snohomish, July 22, 1982 (club now disbanded)
Marysville, February 5, 1985 (new Marysville Club)
Everett/Port Gardner, October 27, 1987
South Everett / Mukilteo, May 16, 1989