For The Enterprise/ELIZABETH ARMSTRONG
Surrounded by friends and well wishers, and attired in a beret from the Boeing Bluebells,Roger Bouck is honored for his lifetime of service to others at a celebration at the United Way. Bouck listens as Karen Crowley from the United Way (right) reads a citation. Bouck's wife Lovell Bouck (center)reads from a framed certificate.
These are all words that anyone who has known Roger Bouck's contribution to the Snohomish County community and beyond uses to describe the 78-year-old Mill Creek resident.
Bouck has tirelessly volunteered for many organizations and groups for more than 40 years, a bulk of his good work spent after retirement.
"He probably worked 10- to 12-hour days" volunteering, said Lovell Bouck, his wife of 13 years.
Friends and family gathered on Friday, March 13, at the United Way of Snohomish County in Everett to celebrate Bouck's tireless hours of helping others. Staff announced during the celebration that in his honor, there will be an annual award called the Roger Bouck Award for Volunteerism in Action.
"We are hoping to present it to someone this year," said Karen Crowley, vice president of impact and resource development at United Way.
Crowley is also the staff leader of the Community Matters Vision Council, a group in which Bouck was a founding member. He is a Boeing Co. retiree who helped create the Sno-King chapter of the Boeing Bluebill Association, a group of retirees and their spouses who volunteer in their communities. He volunteered at Senior Services Senior Source newspaper and the RSVP wheelchair rental project.
United Way staff estimated that in 10 years, Bouck volunteered approximately 5,200 hours.
Bob Krull of Granite Falls met Bouck a few years ago. The two were members of the Boeing Bluebills group. He didn't realize at the time how much Bouck had been involved in the community.
"It is mind-blowing," Krull said. "He's a wonderful man to work with. He's very dedicated and reliable."
Krull and Bouck realized that they were both the same kind of guys: take-charge.
"That's my style," Krull said. "We worked well together."
Krull has been volunteering all this life. He believes that seniors can keep physically and mentally alert by helping out rather than becoming couch potatoes.
Roger Bouck believes that retirement is a good opportunity to contribute to a community.
"That's the time of life to make a difference," Lovell Bouck said.
In 2006, he was awarded the Reeves/Sievers Award for a lifetime commitment to community service on behalf of Snohomish County. He also created the United Way of Snohomish County Volunteer EXPO.
"He's the best example of what it means to really take responsibility for your community," Crowley said.
The annual expo, now in its ninth year, will be held at Everett Mall and will host approximately 50 local nonprofit organizations that need volunteers.
Although in ill health, Bouck was on the planning committee for this year's event.
"There are very few volunteer activities in Snohomish County that he hasn't been involved in," Crowley said. "It's an exceptional legacy."
Not only did Bouck show up ready to work, Crowley says he was always first on the job touching base with people asking what was needed done and giving ideas.
"He not only volunteered but he got people to help," Lovell Bouck said.
The last project he worked on was The Lake City RotaCare Clinic, a free medical clinic for those in need. It will be named after Bouck.
"He inspires me every day to be creative and persistent," Crowley said. "And just to know that if you put your mind to it, you can and will make a difference."
Christina Harper writes for the Herald of Everett.