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United Way gives top honor to Poulsbo volunteer

t Denise Bauman named United Way of Kitsap County’s volunteer of the year.

POULSBO — When it comes to how Poulsbo’s Denise Bauman contributes to the community, let the counting of ways begin.

The 58-year-old Little Norway volunteer has her humanitarian hat in a whole slew of rings, and one area organization is thanking her for it.

Bauman was given the United Way of Kitsap County’s Lucille Taylor Award for volunteer of the year March 28.

As a new resident trying to find her place in the community, Bauman helped facilitate United Way’s volunteer Web site — www.volunteerkitsap.org — which provides an avenue for would-be helping hands to find just right ways to give to others.

United Way of Kitsap County Resource Development Director Patricia Hennessy said Bauman has been a volunteer of an especially valuable kind: the one who approaches the organization instead of waiting to be asked.

“She’s one of our treasures,” Hennessy said. “She’s a go-getter. She sees something that needs to be done and she does it, and she has fun doing it. We see that as an asset to the entire community.”

But Bauman hasn’t just been active in volunteering for United Way. The force of altruistic contribution also serves as a reading tutor each week for Poulsbo Elementary second-graders, was elected the Poulsbo Sons of Norway lodge secretary, is a Friends of the Library member and represents Poulsbo on the Kitsap County Solid Waste Advisory Committee.

Serving as volunteer coordinator at the Poulsbo Marine Science Center also fits right in with her computer and organizational skillset. There, she works to make volunteers happy in their service, matching them with tasks they’ll find enjoyable and fulfilling.

“My goal is to help every person do something that’s of value to them,” she said.

Bauman, whose husband is Poulsbo Public Works Director Jeff Bauman, previously worked in market research at the Gilmore Research Group. After moving from Oregon to the Poulsbo area in August 2006, she said she was ready to get to work.

“I wanted to find something to be involved with. You move to a new place and reach out and try and become part of the community,” she said, adding with a chuckle, “I’m not the clean-the-house type. I had to get out and do something.”

Ironically, at the Marine Science Center sometimes the only duties not filled are the less glamorous ones, such as cleaning the bathrooms. Still, the a self-confessed avoider of domestic tidying said she’s more than willing to take on the role.

“I’ve decided after all these years what’s important,” she said.

And just as she set out to do, she’s found a place in the community of her own.

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