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A labor of love

(From left) Silverdale Rotarians Bob Cathcart, Jeff Forville, Bud Grahn and Steve Slaton help rake out gravel on a portion of trail in Old Mill Park in Silverdale as part of the service organization’s annual President’s Project. - Photo by Kassie Korich
(From left) Silverdale Rotarians Bob Cathcart, Jeff Forville, Bud Grahn and Steve Slaton help rake out gravel on a portion of trail in Old Mill Park in Silverdale as part of the service organization’s annual President’s Project.
— image credit: Photo by Kassie Korich

Silverdale Rotarians rolled up their sleeves for a little dirty work Saturday, improving a section of Clear Creek Trail in Old Mill Park.

The section of the trail is owned by the county and connects to the larger Clear Creek trail system. During the rainy months, the area is muddy and typically underwater and impassable. Rotarians worked together to install a culvert and add fresh gravel to prevent future flooding.

The improvements were part of the club’s annual President’s Project.

“We always want to do something that benefits the community — an all-hands project,” said Silverdale Rotary President Scott Slocum, of his decision to choose the trail in Old Mill Park. “It’s a time to get to know your fellow Rotarians outside of the business environment. It takes a day and when you’re done, you can take a look at the accomplishment.”

More than 40 Rotarians spread gravel, weeded and planted flowers in Old Mill Park.

“It’s a hands-on, working project,” said Rotarian Bob Cathcart, holding a shovel. “People think all we do is write checks, but that’s not the case. This is a real hands-on project we can do in a day.”

The Kitsap County Facilities, Parks and Recreation department also contributed to the project, donating the use of tools and a tractor to help distribute the gravel.

“It has been a wonderful, cooperative thing with a lot of folks,” said Rotarian Ellen Newberg, coordinator for the President’s Project.

More than 16 yards of gravel was used to cover the area as well as $250 worth of manor stones, donated by Home Depot, to line the path. The Silverdale Rotary funds up to $1,000 each year for the President’s Projects with Duck Bucks — funds generated from the Great Kitsap Duck Race.

“We’re just trying to better our community,” explained Rotarian Bud Grahn in between raking gavel. “It’s what we do.”

Rotarians worked to improve 80 feet of the trail while also making it wheelchair accessible.

“I like (doing this project) because I see all these people who I know have other things to do today and they’re coming together out here,” said Rotarian Michael Brown.

Community sponsors also pulled together for the project including Ace Paving, Starbucks, Costco, Domino’s Pizza and Larry and Kristi’s Butter Bake.

“Everybody we went to was very excited about helping,” Newberg said with a smile.

Silverdale Rotarians have been working together on President’s Projects since 1999 when it was implemented by then-president and current Rotarian Hank Mann-Sykes.

“The reason I started it was because it was my judgement that people in the community and people throughout always looked to the Rotary as an organization that gave money and had a checkbook and wrote checks to the community,” he said. “I wanted to change that perception by starting a project where Rotary invested absolutely no money and it was all labor intense and it would change or improve the community. It would be a project that would enhance the community in some way.”

The first President’s Project in 1999 was painting the Clear Creek/Sa’qad Interpretive Center, known to many as “the red barn.”

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