Bremerton man volunteers like nobody else

Bob Dollar spends much of his time volunteering in and around Bremerton for organizations and on committees. - Seraine Page/staff photo
Bob Dollar spends much of his time volunteering in and around Bremerton for organizations and on committees.
— image credit: Seraine Page/staff photo

Bremerton resident Bob Dollar may very well be a super volunteer.

For as long as he can recall, volunteering is something that’s been a part of his life. Currently, he actively serves on more than a dozen organizations and committees.

“I stay busy,” said Dollar. “I used to work, but now I do this instead.”

Even before retiring from the shipyard in 2005, Dollar kept himself busy with shipyard committees.

“It’s not something you do because you get paid,” he said. “That’s why I like working for any committee — it is something that makes our city better.”

Three days a week, four to five hours a day, Dollar is out and about doing some sort of good deed. From doorbell ringing for politicians to checking-in guests at the homeless shelter, Dollar’s activities run the gamut in the volunteer realm.

“I’ve always liked being a helper,” he said. “If you’re not involved in fixing the issues coming up, you may be part of the problem.”

He also attends city council and committee meetings to make sure his voice is heard. He’ll even take along his 10-year-old niece to expose her to local politics and volunteering efforts. The mayor even knows his niece.

“You don’t go to these things unless you have a passion for it,” said Dollar. “You see the compassion that people have for the community. A very small part of our community shows up.”

All the committees and organizations he knows of are in need of volunteers, he said.

Dollar is beyond passionate when it comes to the city of Bremerton. Last year, there was talk of the trees on Fourth St. being cut down. No one was caring for the trees, and Dollar had a problem with that. He wanted to piece together a tree committee to create conversations about the trees.

He did. He also wanted to be on the committee, but Bremerton Mayor Patty Lent told him, “You’re already on three,” she recalled.

Even though he is not on the committee board, he still attends every meeting and is vocal about his concerns. While not opposed to his eagerness to volunteer, Lent asked that he either stick with the three city committees he was on and forego being on the tree committee or retire from one to join the tree committee. Many experts were already called in for the board, Lent said.

His passion is not lost on her, though. She takes note that he’s at nearly every city council meeting as well as committee meetings.

“He’s a great volunteer,” Lent said. “His volunteerism is a good example for other citizens. As long as I’m the mayor, I would like to open our volunteerism up to people like Bob who enjoy working in the city.”

If anything, Dollar is a man who wants action and likes it when attention is paid to the details.

“It’s important to represent your neighbor,” he said of being an active committee member.

Aside from political volunteering ventures, Dollar also has a heart for helping children. He frequents Friends Preschool and Childcare in Bremerton as a volunteer in and out of the classroom.

Dollar met Wanda Selg-Gonzales, owner of the child care center, one day on the sidewalk when she was out with her students. Ever since, Dollar organizes field trips in the community he thinks the kids would like, Selg-Gonzales said.

This week, the children had a chance to visit with local firefighters at the fire station.

“He’s not even a parent, but he has that love to give,” said Selg-Gonzales. “He cares. He’ll take of himself and give to others. I think it’s incredible.”

When it comes to picking an area to volunteer in, Dollar encourages others to choose a field of interest. At first, he Googled volunteer opportunities in the community. Now, he’s a pro when it comes to giving out volunteering information.

As for a world without volunteering, Dollar couldn’t imagine it.

“It would just be a really scary place,” he said. “If you see something that needs to be done, tell somebody or do it yourself.”

Dollar is on the following committees: Bremerton Utility Rate Study Citizens Advisory, Bremerton Community Block Grant Advisory, Bremerton City Audit Committee. He also spends time working at the Bremerton Foodline, Kitsap Department of Emergency Management CERT, Bremerton Parks commissioner, West Hills S.T.E.M. Academy as a “watchdog” and is a Chico Creek Task Force founding member, among others.

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