06/21/2008: "“Actions speak louder than words”"
By Frank Penwell
Melvin Jones awards are given to express thanks for what someone does for their community and for their modeling the philosophies of Lionism. A Melvin Jones recipient is chosen for their unusual and unselfish amount of time expended on community projects and Lionism.
Lion Don Galt’s actions have been thunderstorms. Don Galt has been involved in so many of our Lions Club activities it would take too much space to mention them all. Don has started several San Juan Lions Club activities, such as supplying firewood to the needy in our community and our yearly Club BBQ.
He has also helped in some zone activities, like accepting the position of Environmental Zone Chairperson. He has been a great source of leadership to our Club members. He took his turn moving up in our Club’s ranks and served his term as President of our Club, as well as ¾ of a turn of another Club President who had family health issues.
Some examples of Don Galt’s service to our community include:
• In 1982 Don Galt started the Friday Harbor Athletic Association. Its goal was to help our youth with community sports activities. He is still involved in this organization, 26 years and counting.
• Don Galt stepped up to the plate to help our struggling Senior Center. With his construction experience and community contacts, Don got on the Senior Center Board, located donations, and completed the needed parking lot and exterior landscaping. As is his custom, it was a lot of personal hands on work. Many a day you could drive by and see Don out doing grunt work or directing others.
• Don Galt is responsible for designing, developing and completing (in the near future) several community sports fields and associated buildings for our community. Our community has been waiting, since the passage of a levy in 1997 that promised community sports fields. A few years ago it became clear that our local school district was no closer to providing the promised sports fields for our community than it was in 1997. Rather than complain about inaction, Don Galt stepped up to the plate. He personally designed a plan for some ball fields. He lobbied numerous businesses and individuals in the community to provide money or services. The result is a blessing to our school district and community. Don Galt moved forward by asking the school district for a $1 a year lease on school district property. In exchange, Don provided a plan to build and maintain a sports field that would end up with estimated costs of three million dollars. A plan that provides at least 3 fields, parking, fencing, restrooms, a concession stand and a maintenance and storage building! Don’s results are nothing short of a miracle brought about by pure determination and untold hours of hard work. If you talk to Don about this project, be prepared to be pushed into service.
• Two times, 1996 and 2007, Don Galt was named “Citizen of the Year” in our community. Don’s determination to better our community, and the results of his actions, are nothing short of astonishing. It is not just big projects Don takes on. For example, one time Don went out to raise money on behalf of White Canes. Don took his burro, Henry, into Herb’s Tavern and solicited donations at the bar.
• Don states his biggest success was in marrying his “Wonderful Lady”, Donna, and having 3 children, Don, Kelly and Sandra. 2008 is their 50th wedding anniversary.
• Don is a caring person. For example, In the winter, Don can be seen handing out Mason food baskets to needy or deserving people in our community, and once a week, Don takes a break by playing the piano for residents of Islands Convalescent Center.
Each project Don takes on is an unselfish example of time and commitment. I don’t know how Don finds the time to do all he does. One of the best ways I can think of to describe Don is, “While others are talking about it, Don already has it done”. Others describe Don as a “Can do guy” and a “Diamond in the rough”.