By Gale Fiege Herald Writer
ARLINGTON — When Virginia Hatch moved to town 12 years ago, she vowed to get active in the community
“I didn’t want to feel like an outsider,” Hatch said. “I had time to volunteer, and not just here and there. This was my chance to make a difference.”
Earlier this week, Mayor Margaret Larson honored Hatch for 10 years of service on the city Parks, Arts and Recreation Commission and thanked the volunteer for her leadership, commitment and vision.
Hatch was instrumental in establishing the scope of the commission, said assistant city administrator Paul Ellis. Summer programs such as Shakespeare, music and movies in the park and public art installations around the city are the result of her efforts, Ellis said.
Hatch, 66, retired from the commission for health reasons, but that doesn’t mean she’s done volunteering. She continues to be part of the Arlington Arts Commission and the Hands Together Committee for homeless people.
During the last 12 years, Hatch also was active in Kiwanis, Dollars for Scholars, Friends of the Library, the garden club, Arlington Kids Kloset, the food bank and Camp Fire.
Friend and fellow community volunteer Jean Olson also praised Hatch.
“Virginia’s fingerprints are everywhere in this city. She’s the champion of the underserved,” Olson said. “Recreational activities, benches for bus passengers and programs for kids. She even purchased art from her own pocket to donate to the city.”
Larson thanked Hatch especially for her leadership during the city’s centennial celebration in 2003.
“That’s when a lot of things got going in Arlington,” Hatch said. “Groups pulled together to work collectively. Arlington is a volunteering town and a sweet community.”
Hatch grew up in Louisiana and earned her teaching degree in Arkansas, where she met her husband, Jim. They moved to Washington when he was stationed at Fort Lewis.
They moved to Arlington when Jim Hatch took a job with Camp Fire USA’s Snohomish County Council. He died four years ago, but Virginia frequently sees their children, Kurt and Natasha, who live and teach in the Tacoma area.
“When I moved here, I was welcomed with open arms and quickly had many friends,” Hatch said. “How do you think we accomplished so much? I called my friends to get their help.”