Theresa Fremont was looking for a way to get involved in Sumner when she began volunteering with the city’s downtown association.
“I wanted to be active in the community,” she said.
Two years after she started work with the Sumner Downtown Association, Fremont is the first recipient of the Tim Hyland Volunteer Excellence Award.
Hyland was a longtime Sumner public works employee and drove a street sweeper. As a respected and loved member of the community, he was also a volunteer with the association before he unexpectedly died in February at the age of 48. A memorial bench and bronze broom will soon be installed in Sumner and the award is named in his honor.
Fremont said she was surprised when Shelly Schlumpf, downtown association director, announced her as the winner Dec. 9 at the association’s Christmas party at Windmill Gardens.
“I didn’t see that coming,” she said.
The plaque awarded to Fremont hangs in the downtown association office, but recognition is never what motivated Fremont.
“I don’t volunteer to be noticed. I volunteer because it’s the right thing to do,” she said.
She also enjoys it.
“It’s fun, it’s an opportunity to meet people. It’s a good time,” she said.
Schlumpf said Fremont was the ideal choice for the award because of her dedication to rallying people together to benefit downtown.
“I think for this volunteer excellence award what she excels in is bringing people together for the involvement of the community,” Schlumpf said.
Fremont is the owner of Northwest Body Works Massage Therapy in Sumner and believes the area is a great place to live and work.
“I really like the atmosphere in Sumner,” she said. “It’s relaxed, it’s very welcoming. You can walk down the street and people say ‘hi.’ People aren’t too busy here to stop and be polite.”
While she enjoys operating her business in Sumner, she said it’s not without its challenges.
“Marketing is always a challenge,” she said, “With massage therapy, there are a lot of (marketing) methods that don’t work. Word of mouth is the best.”
Fremont doesn’t know exactly why she was selected as the award recipient, but said she and the other volunteers put in a lot of hours planning events.
As a volunteer coordinator she helps organize downtown events like the wine walks, the autumn celebration and the Classy Chassis car show, but her favorite event is the Mutts Off Main. It is unique because pet owners are encouraged to bring their four-legged family members downtown. The event is family oriented and Fremont hopes more family events will be scheduled in Sumner.
Fremont said the association is always seeking new volunteers and sometimes it’s difficult getting more people to join. The volunteers meet once a month and anyone is welcome.
She said volunteers all work hard, but friendships form and everyone enjoys themselves along the way.
“It’s rewarding, really a lot of fun,” she said. “There is some work involved in volunteering, but the people working the events are really having a lot of fun there.”
Reach Chaz Holmes at firstname.lastname@example.org or 360-802-8208.