Each year, the Rotary Club of Gig Harbor recognizes a member of the local community with their annual Star Award. The 2018 Star Award winner is Kurt Grimmer, financial advisor, Legacy Capital Partners, LLC, and licensed agency through the Wells Fargo Advisors Financial Network.
There are two more Rotary Clubs in Gig Harbor. Each year the three clubs join together to recognize their Star Award winners the first Friday of February. The Rotary Club of Gig Harbor North’s Star Award went to Robin Malich; The Rotary Club of Gig Harbor Midday Award was awarded to John Dionas.
According to Sharon Shaffer, Rotarians have a passion for service above self and so recognize those outside the Rotary Club who embody this selfless service. “Nominees cannot be a member of the Rotary Club, and they have demonstrated service in the local community over time that is not part of their professional life.” Club members nominate individuals, and Shaffer serves on the committee which finalizes the winner.
The 2018 Star Award winner Kurt Grimmer is known locally as “Mr. Gig Harbor” for his commitment to service in the local community. “Where do I start when talking about Kurt?” said Shaffer. She often wonders when he sleeps due to his extensive volunteer work. “He just loves children and has coached soccer for over 15 years as well as helping to maintain the soccer fields during the season by placing the lines for games. He also started the Super Business Group that meets on Wednesday morning at MarKee Coffee for networking and support for small businesses. He also serves as a PenMet commissioner on the Park Board.”
Grimmer’s love for his community shines when it comes to his volunteer work with the Waterfront Alliance. “He serves as a guide for the summer weekly walking tours of the waterfront and sharing its history with visitors,” she said. Each year the Waterfront Alliance has a flower basket program which takes a core of volunteers who serve on the watering team. Grimmer is one of the volunteers who starts at 5am before the parking spaces fill up to help water all the baskets.
One of his volunteer activities Shaffer really appreciates: “He helped establish a Dragon Boat Club, and I am a member. He took the time to become a trained and certified steersperson.” The steersperson is responsible for the safety of the crew, the boat and other water users. Shaffer is a member of the club.
The “Mr. Gig Harbor” nickname comes from his volunteer participation in many local events. “If there is a local event in Gig Harbor that requires volunteers, chances are you will see Kurt there,” she said. You can typically find him volunteering at the Gig Harbor Food and Wine Festival and working the Girl’s Night Out event each year.
Grimmer expressed his appreciation for the Star Award. “It was a great honor. I am humbled by the award and I am quite flabbergasted, as there are so many terrific and wonderful people in our community that are also very deserving of such recognition,” he said. “The Rotary Club is so important to our community because they are first a service organization, and they provide and donate resources both financial and volunteer for the benefit of the community. Additionally, they do the same at the international level. They accomplish things that would otherwise not get accomplished or fall through the cracks.”
The Rotary Club of Gig Harbor is very involved in service. Locally in March, they participated in a project to plant trees at Gateway Park. The club is helping with the Courage Classic Bike Ride which raises money to help children.
Their international projects include supporting exchange students, and they donated $1,000 toward a project in the Philippines where Rotarians replaced a roof on a retirement home. The club supports the Rotarian mission to help eradicate polio. This mission began in 1979 in the Philippines when Rotarians helped support the immunization of 6 million children. In 1988, there were 125 countries that were polio endemic and that number has dropped to three. On an interesting note, for every $1 the Rotary contributes to polio eradication, they receive $2 from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
“Whatever Rotary may mean to us, to the world it will be known by the results it achieves,” said Paul Harris, Rotary founder. Rotary International was founded as the Rotary Club of Chicago by Harris in 1905. He wanted a place where professionals from varying backgrounds could meet, exchange ideas and support the local community as a service organization. The name came from rotating meetings among the members’ offices. The organization has grown to more than 1.2 million members all over the world.