36th Annual Lions Club Citizen of the Year Award

The award honors anyone who has gone above and beyond to improve life on the Key Peninsula.


In response to the COVID-19 health emergency, this event has been rescheduled for June 13, 2020.

The Key Peninsula Lions Club invites the community to attend its 36th annual Key Peninsula Citizen of the Year Award celebration for 2019 at the KP Civic Center, Saturday, March 28 beginning at 6 p.m.

“Anybody who lives on the peninsula, works on the peninsula or even owns property on the peninsula who makes whatever you feel is an outstanding contribution to society is eligible (for the award),” said Hal Wolverton, KP Lions Club president. “It was designed for volunteers, but it’s not limited to volunteers because some people go way above and beyond.”

The recipient is chosen by Lions Club members who vote by secret ballot shortly before the award ceremony. Anyone can send in nominations, which are evaluated by the members before voting for their first, second and third choices. The recipient is known only to the club president until the name is announced at the ceremony.

A number of other citations are often given during the celebration to commend local achievers in addition to the Citizen of the Year, in keeping with the Lions Club motto: “We serve.”

The evening also includes a variety of auctions and raffles and other fund-raising opportunities to donate to the Lions Club. “Whatever we get goes right back into the community,” Wolverton said.

The KP Lions provide eyeglasses and hearing aids to KP residents, awards the KP Lions Memorial Scholarship to high school students, organizes highway cleanups and an annual Volksmarch, volunteers its labor and expertise to maintaining and improving KP parks, distributes free dictionaries each year to every third-grader on the KP and to the Key Peninsula Middle School, and makes grants to local nonprofits, according to Wolverton.

The keynote speaker this year will be Art Jarvis, Ph.D., interim superintendent of the Peninsula School District. Jarvis started at PSD in July 2018 and will continue through June 2021 as the new board searches for a successor. He was instrumental in passing two funding measures for the district: a $198 million Capital Projects Bond in 2019 and an $80 million Educational Programs and Operations Replacement Levy in 2020. Jarvis has served as superintendent of the Tacoma, Enumclaw and South Whidbey School Districts, and as interim superintendent in the Shelton and Renton School Districts. He has twice been named the Washington State Superintendent of the Year.

The event will include dinner and a no-host bar, and there is usually a chance to meet community leaders, local officials and elected representatives. Tickets often sell out in advance and are available at Purdy Cost Less Pharmacy, Sunnycrest Nursery or from any Lions Club member for a donation of $25.

For more information, go to the KP Lions Club website at e-clubhouse.org/sites/keypeninsulawa.


Kolby Asbra

Kolby is a fourth-generation Key Peninsula native in her second year teaching at the KP Preschool Co-op at Grace Church, where she is also PTA president. Before that she taught at Vaughn Preschool for both the KP Co-op and the Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program Preschool. In between, she got married and had three sons. Kolby teaches children a wide variety of early academic skills, how to effectively communicate, and how to respect others as well as themselves. Her great-grandfather, Art Fenton, homesteaded in the Minter area about 100 years ago and her great-grandmother Hazel was a proud KP Cootiette.

Pat Augusztiny

Pat has put her career in accounting and management to good use on the KP since retiring here in 2015. She serves as treasurer on the board of directors for Hope Recovery Center and is helping develop its capital campaign. She also served as secretary of the church council of Lakebay Community Church for three years and is the lead volunteer for the church office. Pat is also the lead volunteer at the church garden on the KP Highway, where organic produce is grown for the Harvest Share food program at the church.

Marilyn Brennan

Marilyn demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to the youth in the 4-H community for 31 years. That’s a very long time to be making a huge impact on kids on the Key Peninsula and surrounding areas. Marilyn is always available for support and guidance in leadership, self-confidence and public speaking, which carried over into their adult lives. She has made a positive impact on 4-H members in our area and across the state through many years as a 4-H leader, Washington State Fair Board member and community member.

Stephanie Brooks

Our community is a better place because of Stephanie’s enthusiasm. She has run numerous fundraisers for the KP Civic Center, garnering over $75,000, and has brought a fresh group of volunteers to the board to promote its mission. That includes hosting a Christmas dinner party for families in need last year, serving free meals to first responders from her food truck, and working with other groups to feed families displaced by a tornado that swept through Port Orchard last year.

Peggy Gablehouse

Peggy has given hundreds of hours of service helping the entire Key Peninsula prepare for disasters. She has made the KP Civic Center capable of offering community support, such as a gathering place for people seeking shelter and relief during crises. Peggy was instrumental in coordinating and obtaining the resources for a backup generator at the civic center. She donates hundreds of hours working as a volunteer with the Peninsula Emergency Preparedness Coalition (PEP-C). Her efforts contributed significantly to PEP-C being honored as a Pierce County Volunteer Group of the Year for 2019.

Diane Gressley and David Starkweather

This husband and wife team both have huge hearts for kids and have been volunteering to help kids on the KP for many years. They are both volunteer reading mentors with Communities In Schools of Peninsula, and give their gifts of time and talent to make sure elementary children at Evergreen Elementary get the literacy support they need to succeed in school and achieve in life. Their dedication to helping at-risk children develop the academic and social-emotional skills they need to be successful is inspiring.

Marcia Harris

Marcia is past president of the Peninsula School District board of directors, founder of the Peninsula Schools Education Foundation, organizer of School Bus Connects free transportation for KP residents, and an active member of the KP Business Association and Gig Harbor Rotary Club. For many years she was treasurer of the Key Peninsula Community Council, where she continues to serve, and is one of the founding developers of Key Peninsula Partnership for a Healthy Community. She also serves on the KP Land Use Advisory Committee and on the board of KP Community Services, bringing needed services to south Key residents.

David Haycock

David Haycock has been a key contributor to and vigorous volunteer for the Peninsula Emergency Preparedness Coalition (PEP-C). As the PEP-C emergency communications team leader, David has spent many, many hours planning for and implementing activation of a viable, survivable emergency communications network to prepare the community to be cut-off from normal services and communication of all kinds. David’s work includes planning emergency networks, training operators, coordinating exercises and coaching all the participants who take on the roles of emergency radio services operators.

Tim Kezele

Founder and former president of the KP Historical Society, a former board member of KP Parks, performing unending maintenance tasks for local facilities and events, and currently serving as board president of the Key Peninsula Civic Center Association, Tim has been tirelessly involved working for the betterment of the KP community for over 30 years. He received the 2005 Citizen of the Year Award.

Don Lee

Don is the Peninsula Emergency Preparedness Coalition (PEP-C) emergency preparation training team leader, developing training capabilities to prepare Key Peninsula residents to respond to large-scale disasters. Don has spent hundreds of hours planning and working to create viable PC NETs in neighborhoods across the KP. When residents are cutoff from routine services of all kinds for weeks or months because of a massive earthquake, for example, the YOYO (You’re On Your Own) Lessons that Don has taught for decades will help people survive.

Dustin Morrow

KPFD Fire Chief Morrow revamped and refocused the fire department in less than a year on the job. He exemplifies service above self, having in a short time risen through the ranks of KP Toastmasters and as part of many community committees working to bring better services to the peninsula. On his own time he has helped citizens clear property, make home improvements and aided those in need, and his continued presence promises to bring wonderful opportunities to the Key Peninsula in the future.

Jill Peters

Jill and her toy-sized Australian Shepherd, Sasha, volunteer for the Tutors with Tails Reading Program at Vaughn Elementary School. Jill is in her second year as a volunteer math and reading mentor with Communities In Schools of Peninsula and has volunteered at several other schools in this capacity, including Minter Creek and Harbor Heights Elementary schools. The skill, consistency and dedication exhibited by Jill and Sasha is seen in the huge smiles and hugs of the children, and in the success of reaching new goals by kids who might otherwise slip through the cracks.

Victoria Schauer

Ms. Schauer teaches eighth grade English at Key Peninsula Middle School. In her role, she strives daily to bring the love of literature to her students. She is one of the only teachers who teaches about the Holocaust. She is an advocate for children, encouraging students to enter contests in order to share their creativity with the world. Not only is she available for kids at school, she mentors and inspires them even after graduation. She believes in young people.

Lulu Smith

Lulu owned and operated the Homeport Restaurant and Lounge for 30 years until closing its doors in January. She helped the community with annual Christmas present giveaways, Easter egg hunts, sponsorships and fundraisers for schools, and awarded free meals to Evergreen Elementary students. During the ice storm of 1996, much of the KP was without electricity for many weeks but the Homeport had power and the kitchen staff worked around the clock to help feed a cold and hungry community. A piece of Home will become a memory now that Lulu has closed her doors. She received the 1998 Citizen of the Year Award.

Thomas Smith

Thomas organizes and teaches amateur radio operator (HAM) classes to train people how to become FCC licensed HAM radio operators and become part of neighborhood emergency radio communications network within the Amateur Radio Emergency Services (ARES) system on the Key Peninsula. He is longtime member of the volunteer Peninsula Emergency Preparedness Coalition (PEP-C) and creating such a network has been Thomas’ focus for many years. His efforts will save lives when the emergency networks he is training operators for swing into action.

Alberta Stave

Alberta has quietly but with incredible dedication volunteered her time and expertise helping the elder community on the KP. She served on the board of The Mustard Seed Project, where her background in nursing and nursing administration was invaluable. She continues her work there as a friendly volunteer visitor for homebound elders. She has also been active in The Angel Guild, including serving as president of the board.

Ed Taylor

Ed has been a stalwart supporter of the KP and its business community for decades. He served on the KP Civic Center board and as editor of the KP News in the 1990s; he has served on boards for the KP Fair, the Key Pen Parks and volunteered for the KP Business Association lending expertise and advice to startups. He provides housing to displaced residents at his Westwynd Motel in Purdy. His ongoing selfless contributions are legendary.

Amy Turk

Amy is a Boy Scout Troop 220 leader who has been instrumental in fundraising for the troop to keep scouting alive and the cost reasonable so that every child has a chance to join. She and the scouts also chop and deliver firewood to raise funds, but will help anyone on the KP unable to afford it. Amy also serves on the board of the Key Peninsula Little League to support a great and beneficial program for KP kids.

Don Zimmerman

Owner of and pharmacist at Cost Less Pharmacy, Don has provided unsung service and support to individuals and organizations on the Key Peninsula for decades. He shies away from recognition, but that is the only shy thing about him. He has brought new businesses and services to our community, creating more jobs. He is the leader of an amazing and supportive staff that has taken his example of personal service and made it their own. Our community would not be what it is without Don and his dedication and years of service to the Key Peninsula.