Friday, July 12, 2024




During the last Rotary year, the Nor’Wester Rotary Club of Port Angeles had fun re-kindling traditions and creating new memories through projects and events. Nor’Wester set goals to grow in membership and engage with the community. These goals were achieved through service projects, connecting at weekly meetings, social gatherings, and fundraising events. The club divided these goals into three categories: support the future of Port Angeles, care for those who need help in the community, and honor Nor’Wester’s past.

Supporting the future of Port Angeles:

Fundraisers help Nor’Wester provide scholarships to local high schoolers around our region and celebrate the top 50 middle school students in academics. This past year, members brought back an auction dinner that raised more than $15,000. The club also treated middle school students to breakfast with their families. This breakfast allowed club members to get to know the middle school students before taking them on a field trip to the University of Puget Sound to explore a college campus. The goal was to spark an interest in higher education and let the students know they are cared for and supported.

Another successful fundraiser for scholarships and service projects brought back from pre-pandemic days was Jammin’ in the Park. This event took place on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend, and the club is excited to host this event again this coming Saturday, September 2nd! Held along the waterfront in Port Angeles, this all-day music festival brings the community together with local bands, a kid’s zone, tabling from other great non-profits, a beer and wine garden, and delicious food for sale.

Caring for the community:

Making connections to help the community is a priority for Nor’Wester. The club emphasizes the importance of giving back and having a good time. Each year, the two Rotary clubs in Port Angeles challenge one another to raise the most funds for the local food bank through a Tuna Drive. The winning club gets bragging rights and the Tuna trophy to display.

In 2022, Nor’Wester partnered with the City of Port Angeles and other local organizations to raise funds to build a pump track. The Erickson Playfield Pump Track is ADA-accessible, and designed for manual and electrical wheelchairs and other adaptive devices. The community’s new pump track is a rolling series of looping paths that offer a fun way for kids and adults to build bicycle skills in a contained environment away from traffic. It’s enjoyable for all levels of riders! No special equipment is needed – just a bike, scooter, or skateboard and helmet.

The Port Angeles Boys & Girls Club – Turner Unit is near and dear to Nor’Wester. The club dedicates time to help landscape the beautiful facility and connect with local youth by handing out sack lunches during the summer meals program. Beautifying the grounds helps give local youth a safe and inviting place to gather. The summer meals program allows club members to connect with community family members. Through a matching grant from the Rotary Foundation, Nor’Wester donated funds to support the summer meals program that distributes hundreds of lunches daily in Port Angeles!

Honoring Nor’Wester Rotary’s Past:

In November 2022, Nor’Wester invited five previous and current club members to a special breakfast and awarded honorary memberships for their service to the club and community. Those honored are Bill Koenig, Doc Reiss, Gary A. Smith, Wayne Roedell, and Bryan Harden, all of whom are distinguished members of the community and the club continues to thrive through their great works and partnerships.

Nor’Wester also believes in honoring those who helped pave the way for the club to be what it is today. During a ceremony, the club remembered Bob Schmitt, a charter member of Nor’Wester Rotary, who left an indelible mark on our community. Bob was the driving force behind the beautiful downtown murals in Port Angeles. These murals tell the story of Port Angeles, how the town was built, and celebrate the region’s natural beauty.

Nor’Wester Rotary presented a plaque to the Schmitt Family in honor of Bob. The club is grateful for his visionary leadership as a founder and his legacy of service that will continue to inspire us all.

Looking ahead:

In the coming Rotary year, Nor’Wester will continue building partnerships and follow the same path of supporting, caring, and honoring our community and club. Currently, the club is working with Peninsula Behavioral Health to create an outdoor gathering space at a new housing facility called Dawn View Court. This supportive housing facility has 25 units for families or individuals who otherwise would be unhoused. The outdoor gathering space will give our community members a safe and beautiful place to celebrate birthdays, and milestones, hold meetings and spend time together.

Overall, Nor’Wester is looking forward to the year ahead and celebrating our ability to unite in serving the community of Port Angeles and creating lasting change.

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