SNOHOMISH — Thom and Nonie Martin’s four children and eight grandchildren all live nearby. They don’t need an excuse for everyone to get together.
A few years back, the Martins’ 50th anniversary party lasted for two days at their country home near Ebey Island. The theme was 1967, the Summer of Love. They’re used to welcoming family and friends for life’s celebrations.
Those aren’t the only times Thom sees his son-in-law, Jeff Hager, or Jeff’s son William. Thom and Jeff are in Everett Port Gardner Rotary together, and both have served as president. William is a Running Start senior at Glacier Peak High School. He recently joined Rotaract, an arm of Rotary aimed at ages 18 to 30.
Thom, now 74, became a Rotarian in Oregon. That wasn’t long before he moved to Everett in 1995. One day, Nonie stopped by a Rotary fundraising booth outside the Rucker Avenue Safeway and signed him up again.
“I was made welcome and they found things for me to do,” he said.
Everyone in the club is drawn together for the same reasons, Thom said. Over the years, he tried a lot of types of public service, including elected office in Oregon. Rotary — still social but without the politics — was what he liked best.
“My feeling is if you’re going to be part of a community and take advantage of things the community does for you and your family … you need to obligate yourself to put something back in,” he said.
For the better part of a decade, Thom chaired the club’s annual fundraiser, a raffle for a hot rod. He’s also helped with highway cleanups, building wheelchair ramps and doing contractor-type work for people in need.
“A lot of hands-on, local kind of things,” he said.
Rotary always seems to be recruiting. Thom had the perfect candidate in mind: his son-in-law.
The Martins have known Jeff since he was in the third grade in Oregon. Jeff was friends with their daughter Kristine. In high school, he took notice of her younger sister, Kelly.
Jeff and Kelly have been married 24 years and live near Howarth Park in Everett. Jeff, 49, works for a faith-based nonprofit.
There is a point in life when “something clicks and you say, ‘I need to do more,’” he said.
He started attending Rotary meetings in 2004. Two years later, he traveled with other members to build a school in Guatemala. He found the club’s international work especially rewarding.
William grew up accompanying his dad to service projects. A few years ago, he and Jeff made a Rotary trip to Central America.
The teen hopes to complete a service mission after graduation. He wants to pursue a major in humanities in college. He also is thinking of nonprofit work.
“There is more I can do for other people than I can do for myself,” he said.
At the recent Evergreen State Fair in Monroe, William took shifts with his father and grandfather to staff the club’s booth, selling raffle tickets. Since the spring, they’ve been visiting car shows and other events to promote the fundraiser throughout Western Washington.
From his country house east of Everett, Thom still logs hours as a custom home designer, though not as much as he once did.
Nonie teases him. In recent months, his drafting board has taken over her kitchen, where the light is good and he can watch the garden.
Everett Port Gardner Rotary’s big annual fundraiser, a raffle for a classic car, is running now. This year’s model is a 1969 Chevy Camaro RS. The drawing is set for 4 p.m. Oct. 8 at The Farm at Swans Trail near Snohomish. Ticket-holders don’t have to be present to win.
Tickets are $5 each, or $20 for a set of five.
The car will be on display Oct. 7 and Oct. 8 at The Farm at Swans Trail.
For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 800-344-3075, or go to tinyurl.com/ydhabbb6. The deadline to order tickets by mail is Oct. 6. Proceeds from the raffle benefit the club’s community service projects. Nearly 30 members meet one morning a week before the workday.