The Edmonds Kiwanis Club announced Monday that it has named long-time Edmonds resident and 31-year Log Cabin volunteer Dorothy Gross as its 2018 citizen of the year.
“This was a total surprise to me,” said Dorothy. “I keep a pretty low profile, and I honestly didn’t think people knew much of anything about me.”
Dorothy and her husband arrived in Edmonds in 1981 from their home in Hawaii, where they both had just retired from careers with the U.S. Navy at Pearl Harbor.
“We were looking for a nice place to live, where there were things going on that we could get involved in,” she said. “We found a nice home in Woodway Meadows, and I’m still living there today.”
But they weren’t about to just settle in and put their feet up.
“We had lots of mental energy left after retirement, so as soon as we arrived we started looking for the local movers and shakers,” she said. “We wanted to find ways to put our energies to use in our new home.”
One of the first things she found was the Log Cabin.
“I started volunteering there right after we arrived,” she added. “That was 31 years ago.”
Along the way Dorothy became volunteer coordinator at the Log Cabin, and also donated her time and skills to teaching ESL classes at Edmonds Community College. And she signed on — along with her husband — to help the Edmonds Police Department’s Crime Prevention unit.
“We’d go out with our radar gun and aim it at approaching traffic, looking for drivers going over the speed limit,” she recalled. “As citizens we couldn’t cite anyone, but we gave out lots of warnings.”
After her husband passed away in 1999, Dorothy kept up her volunteering without missing a beat.
As Log Cabin volunteer coordinator, she interviewed, selected and trained new volunteers, set procedures, and generally oversaw the entire operation. “Maybe it was my Navy experience, but the other volunteers always said that I ran a ‘taut ship,’” she added with a smile.
This past March she turned over her Log Cabin volunteer duties to others, and plans to spend her time simply enjoying living in Edmonds without the burden of responsibilities.
“While things have changed on the surface like new restaurants, shops, parks and other improvement, the basic character of Edmonds has really stayed the same,” she said. “It’s still a civil, courteous, friendly, pretty little town. I love the vibe of the community, the sidewalk cafés, taking an evening stroll, and just saying hello to folks I pass. It’s almost a European flavor — nice, peaceful, congenial.”
Thinking back over the 31 years she’s lived here and been involved in the community, Dorothy sums up her feeling about Edmonds in one word: “Grateful.”
Dorothy Gross will be honored during the Edmonds Chamber of Commerce luncheon Thursday, May 24, with registration and more information available at this link. And as is tradition for all Citizen of the Year winners, she will also ride in the Edmonds Kind of Fourth of July parade.
— Story and photos by Larry Vogel