Today, we continue our series of interviews with volunteers who make up the strong right arm of Wallingford service organizations. Volunteers are a vital part of any non-profit organization’s operations, but this has never been more true than over the past two years. As COVID’s impact has left many in our community struggling, local non-profits have had to adapt and adjust their programming to meet the ever changing need.
Patrick Long – Historic Wallingford
Patrick has always found a way to work for his community. Out of college he became involved with Schumacher’s Small is Beautiful and appropriate technology movement. That led him back to law school and a summer internship with Seattle’s Public Defender office. Right away he fell in love with Seattle’s neighborhoods, mountains and ocean. So after graduation, he came back to Seattle and went to work for the Public Defender. When he and his wife fell in love with a Wallingford Craftsman, they had to outbid another couple who had already made an offer. It was not long before he got involved with the effort to bring Ballard High School temporarily to the Lincoln site so the School District would have to rehabilitate the building after their neglect had caused so much damage. He stayed involved with the Lincoln Liaison Committee as the neighbors and the School District worked though the transportation issues.
The Community Council asked him to be their Treasurer and he did that for four years. During that time, the Community Council became the fiscal agent for the Friends of Wallingford Playfield and the Friends of Meridian Playground as they worked with substantial grants from the City to build the children’s play areas and outfit the parks with benches and landscaping. His job as Treasurer turned into a very significant contribution to the efforts.
The Chamber of Commerce had always sponsored the annual Kiddie’s Parade on July 4, but one year there was no one in the Chamber who could organize it. The Community Council and the Wallingford Neighborhood Office stepped in. Patrick worked with Janet Stillman, Nancy Merrill and other neighborhood volunteers to pull it all together. He stuck with it for a couple of years until others could take the lead.
More recently, Patrick got involved with Historic Wallingford because of their positive attitude celebrating what we all love about Wallingford. He volunteered to develop a system for storing data that volunteers were generating by walking around the proposed North segment of an Historic District, cataloging the styles and conditions of the houses. Other volunteers were reviewing Census data on residents over the years, property cards from the King County Assessor’s office, old newspapers and Polk Directories. Patrick pulled it all together so it could be included in the application for Historic District status that has been submitted to the State Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation. Patrick now plans to convert the files, such as customs records, into a relational database, so internet users can just enter a street address to find all the information about a house in one place.
There is an opportunity for more Wallingford folks to volunteer with Historic Wallingford as they begin work on the next segment of the Historic District, making a real difference for the community. You can send an email to [email protected]. They can provide more information and help you find a job you will enjoy.
If you have suggestions for dedicated Wallingford volunteers we should interview, please send an email with contact information for your nominee to [email protected].