The Bainbridge Island Rotary Club, through its Community Awards Committee, manages a creative program whereby local essential service workers are recognized for their important roles within the community. For this program, Bainbridge High School interns take journalistic training sessions with professional writers and editors, identify essential workers to interview and write a human interest story on the worker’s background and work within the community.
The interns also practice their public speaking by honoring their selected workers at a rotary club meeting and sharing about their internship experience, the important work of their chosen essential worker and presenting a commemorative plaque to their awardee. The interns’ articles are also published in the local newspaper to recognize the workers for their outstanding essential service to the community. You can read these pieces in the Bainbridge Island Review.
This year, Rotary intern Graham Goll profiled PSE Troubleman David Whitbeck. Troublemen at PSE are IBEW Journeyman Linemen with many years of experience working on the electric grid. They are the first to respond to emergency calls from customers – they respond immediately, troubleshoot the problem, make repairs if possible or call in a line crew to make more extensive repairs. Troublemen also have daily scheduled work with PSE customers.
Graham said “getting to know David Whitbeck was an honor, as was having the chance to educate myself and others about an essential service too many of us take for granted. Our entire community runs—as literally as I can put it—on Puget Sound Energy, and I offer as much gratitude as I’m able to give to every worker who spends each day ensuring that electricity is accessible, every home remains warm and people feel safe, even when the lights begin to flicker. I am indebted to Mr. Whitbeck and his coworkers and I have no doubt in my mind they are all deserving of such an award commending their dedication, hard work and achievement.”
Roan Blacker, the Community Awards Committee Chair, said “this program is a fabulous way for us to involve a high school internship experience within our club’s honoring key essential service workers in our area. The interns get incredible writing and public speaking experience and the acknowledged workers receive community-wide recognition.” PSE is proud of our partnership with the Rotary Club of Bainbridge Island.