A longtime, friendly face at the Kent Downtown Partnership hung up her calculator last week.
Libby Seidel, a volunteer financial wizard for the nonprofit for the past eight years, resigned her duties June 30. She’s leaving to take some time off for summer, then embarking on another opportunity – volunteering for the Kent Police Department.
“It’s been a great experience,” said Seidel of the years she spent getting to know the close-knit downtown business community of Kent.
“If you walk down (the business district streets) shop owners will literally come out and say ‘hi’ to you. It was really nice.”
For Seidel, volunteering is a way of life, and that penchant for wanting to get in and make things run has dictated her direction, first to KDP, and now this September to the Kent Police.
“I told them I’d do whatever they needed me to do,” said Seidel of Kent P.D. Police-oriented work isn’t new to her – Seidel has had considerable experience volunteering with the Everett Police Department, where she handled their false-alarm billings and helped with National Night Out, among other things.
“I just loved doing the work,” she said. “I had my own key, and I was self-sufficient.”
Seidel, who lives in Panther Lake area, explained the timing of her resignation dovetails in part with the annexation of Panther Lake into the city. She’s a big fan of the improved police protection that’s expected to result from the annexation.
That’s because she knows from personal experience the trauma of a home invasion.
“I walked into it – they were still there,” she said of the robbery, which happened last October. “They were upstairs and I grabbed the phone and ran out.
“It took the sheriff a half hour to get to it, and they (the robbers) were long gone by then.”
Seidel’s leave is a major loss for the KDP.
At the annual KDP Banquet June 26, she was honored with a Special Recognition award for her efforts.
“She’s an incredible person,” said Executive Director Barb Smith. “I know for myself, she had a great grasp of accounting practices. She would keep track of the deposits and how they were dispersed, and she handled accounting (with Treasurer Rick Rolland.)”
Smith also lauded Seidel for taking on the big job of organizing KDP’s “Wine, Women, Wow!” show the past two years. It’s one of the organization’s major fundraising events – not to mention popular – activities. Seidel, she said, gave unstintingly of her time getting the show organized in the two years it has operated at the Kent ShoWare Center.
And then there was the fact Seidel just seemed to know everyone.
“She was an absolute wealth of knowledge for me when I came on board,” Smith said, noting those connections made it easier to do her job.
Seidel had never planned to jump into the KDP as deeply as she did. At first, it was just a way of getting acquainted with Kent, and helping out in a small way.
“I started working every week on Tuesdays,” Seidel said, noting she got her start working in the office with KDP’s then-Executive Director Jacquie Alexander. “There was lots to do,” Seidel said, in something of an understatement.
But while she was there for bookkeeping, it was the human connections that kept Seidel with the KDP.
“When I came here, I didn’t know anybody,” Seidel said of her move to the area from Everett 10 years ago with husband Dave Seidel. “Right away (through KDP) I met the merchants. It made me feel like I was part of a community again.”
Seidel now is looking forward to a quiet summer – and a relaxing trip to the tropics before volunteering again in earnest this fall.
“We’re going to Hawaii in August,” Seidel said of her plans with husband Dave. “We’re renewing our vows on the beach.”
And even if she’s not in the KDP office, she’s not gone entirely.
“I tell them I’m still a phone call away,” she quipped.