EVERETT – What do a Marysville dog lover, city councilman and pastor have in common?
They were all honored for their volunteer service at a Marysville Noon Rotary Club event Monday night.
The surprise recognition came during the club’s annual Installation Dinner and Paul Harris Fellow Recognition Ceremony at the Everett Golf and Country Club.
Leslie Buell was recognized for her 12 years as founder and president of Marysville Dog Owners Group, providing all-volunteer stewardship and maintenance for the city’s Strawberry Fields for Rover Off-Leash Park, and establishing her “pet project” Marysville Poochapalooza, Snohomish County’s biggest dog event, now in its 12th year on July 7.
“Having seen firsthand how far her dedication goes, I don’t think there is a bigger champion of dogs and the dog community in Marysville than Leslie,” said Mayor Jon Nehring, who presented her to the club. Buell was also recognized for serving on the Maryfest board of directors and being part of the transition team for this year’s Strawberry Festival, including her co-leadership for the royalty scholarship fashion show.
Rotarian Stephen Muller introduced the second recipient, fellow Councilman Jeff Vaughan.
The Paul Harris Fellow designation “is truly the one way we recognize service above self,” Muller said.
Muller said the adage, “If you want to get something done, give it to a busy person” describes Vaughan to a tee. The married father of three boys has served as a youth soccer coach and been a church leader in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints – Marysville stake. As a Scoutmaster with the Boy Scouts, he has guided many young men to not only earn merit badges, but achieve the ultimate rank of Eagle Scout through community service projects.
Muller also credited Vaughan for going far beyond his duties as a council member in making Marysville a better place, such as by organizing groups to volunteer for park projects and removing graffiti.
Senior Pastor Victor Rodriguez with Marysville Free Methodist Church was the third recipient.
Rotarian Greg Kanehen said Rodriguez has served as a pastor for 28 years, and in that time has filled many roles including Marysville police chaplain for 13 years, Spanish interpreter and grief supporter. He is an original member of Marysville’s diversity advisory committee, served on the board of directors for Housing Hope and the Marysville Tulalip Chamber Commerce, and numerous school district task forces.
Rodriquez has been involved with the Marysville Area Pastors Association, Kanehen said, where his insights, guidance, compassion, grace and leadership for change have served MAPA and his congregation well.
“Victor is an elder statesman to the faith community,” Kanehen said.
In addition, longtime club member Ron Young was presented with a Paul Harris Fellow Plus 3 award.
Paul Harris Fellow recognition is given to individuals who exemplify community service and contribute $1,000 to the Rotary Foundation, or have $1,000 contributed on their behalf, said Gary Baker, foundation chairman, who oversaw the recognition efforts. The Rotary Club made the donations on behalf of this year’s honorees.
The recognition is named for Paul Harris, a Chicago lawyer who began Rotary International with three business associates in 1905.
The club also installed its new officers. District 5050 Assistant Area Governor Dave Duskin with the Arlington club swore in Nehring, who will succeed Debbie Barger Smith as president.Rick McCarthy is vice president and auction chairman; Joey Koncoski, vice president; Heather Hartman, secretary; Connie Kukull, treasurer; and numerous directors.