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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, April 1, 2008
Diane Oberquell, Thurston County Commission Chairman, 360-786-5440
Marilyn First, Administrative Manager, Washington State University Thurston County Extension, 360-786-5445, ext. 7906

Thurston County Volunteers Recognized

OLYMPIA – Thurston County government provides a long list of valuable services and programs to Thurston County residents.  But that list would be much shorter without the many, many hours donated by volunteers.  Literally thousands of county residents give up their own time to provide much needed support for programs that most of us take for granted.  With that donated work in mind, Thurston County Commissioners on April 7th will proclaim April 2008 as Volunteer Month, in support of the 35th Annual National Volunteer Week celebrated throughout the country.

A good example of the volunteer spirit of county residents is demonstrated by looking at the work of Washington State University Thurston County Extension. In 2007, Extension had a total of 789 enrolled volunteers serving a wide variety of programs including 4H, Master Gardener/Master Composter, Native Plant Salvage and Food Safety & Nutrition. These Extension volunteers contributed a total of 89,794 hours of service to the county in 2007. The total equals just over 43 Full Time Equivalent staff members. Using the standard accepted value of volunteer hours, which in 2007 was $18.77, the dollar value of the contribution these volunteers made was more than $1.6 million dollars! Marilyn First of the Extension office says the donation of time and expertise is very considerable. "By any measure, Extension volunteers make a significant contribution. Literally, there isn't a day in the week when Extension volunteers aren't out there making Thurston County a better place to live."

Another example is Thurston County Public Health and Social Services, where more than 170 volunteers work in valuable programs like the Medical Reserve Corps, Regional Support Network and programs involving Home Visitation, Family Planning and Children, Youth and Families.  In just one example, the Medical Reserve Corps' 114 members donated more than 500 hours for disaster recovery and helped to administer 3,800 flu shots in a clinic last fall.

Hundreds of other volunteers also donate thousands of hours to help with other county offices and departments including-

  • Clerk's Office
  • Sheriff's Office
  • Superior and District Courts
  • Pacific Mountain Workforce
  • Water and Waste Management
  • Thurston County Fair
  • Emergency Management
  • Coroner

Thurston County Commission Chairman Diane Oberquell says the many volunteers really deserve recognition.  "If it wasn't for so many unselfish people, a lot of the work the county does would be limited in scope.  We really want to thank folks for all they do to make the quality of life here so wonderful."  To honor the volunteers, the Board of County Commissioners will be hosting a "Hats Off to Volunteers" recognition event on Thursday, April 17th from 4:30 to 7:30 at the Expo Center at the Thurston County Fairgrounds on Carpenter Road in Lacey.

Those seeking volunteer opportunities with Thurston County can visit the county web site at http://www.co.thurston.wa.us/index.htm and look for volunteers under the "A to Z Site Index List".  

County Commissioners:

Carolina Mejia
District 1

Gary Edwards
District 2

Tye Menser
District 3