The fifth-annual Star Awards, jointly hosted by Gig Harbor’s three clubs, honored several ordinary citizens Feb. 7 at Canterwood Golf & Country Club.
Leann O’Neill was named the Rotary’s Citizen of the Year. She is the schoolmarm at the one-room Midway Schoolhouse at the Gig Harbor History Museum.
O’Neill helps visitors step back in time at the schoolhouse, which was built in 1893. It is the last remaining 19th Century schoolhouse on the peninsula that hasn’t been significantly moved or altered. It was donated by Alice Murphy Doyle in 2004 and restored by the Rotary Club of Gig Harbor in 2009.
Hugh McMillan won the Service Above Self award for his tireless work in education. McMillan retired from the CIA after more than 26 years of service. He has been on the Peninsula Schools Education Foundation Board since its inception.
In addition, he has been a charter member of Communities in Schools Peninsula, the Peninsula Emergency Preparedness Committee’s board and the Key Peninsula Lions. He served 14 years as a Key Peninsula Fire District commissioner and was elected to the Washington Fire Commissioners’ Association Board of Directors. He is the founder of Citizens Against Crime and he is active in the Boys & Girls Club.
McMillan has volunteered his services as a photojournalist for The Peninsula Gateway and Key Peninsula News. He writes Kids’ Corner every week for the Gateway.
Joel Schwartz, owner of Forza Coffee at Cirque, was named the Rotary’s Business Person of the Year. Schwartz is chairman of the Board of Trustees for Gig Harbor’s Firefighters Union Health and Welfare Trust.
Schwartz founded Firefighters Crossing Borders, a nonprofit organization, in 2000 after a trip to Mexico with his wife. He was appalled at the lack of protective gear for Mexican firefighters.
A special Paul Harris award went to Maureen Reilly and Jim Reynolds of Seat of the Pants Productions for documentary work on behalf of the Rotary Club of Gig Harbor for the Washington Corrections Center for Women.Reporter Karen Miller can be reached at 253-358-4155 or by email at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter, @gateway_karen.