Governor Gary Locke’s Remarks
Washington Service Corps 20th Anniversary
September 8, 2003

Good evening.

I am honored to join you tonight to celebrate the Washington Service Corps and 20 years of outstanding service to communities across Washington State.

I may be your number one fan.

I have been an active supporter of the Service Corps from the start.

Back in 1983 I was a member of the Washington State House of Representatives.

And I was an active supporter of the legislation that established the Washington Service Corps.

Then in 1993 I led the push to change the law to increase the term of service for participants from six to eleven months.

This gives them more time to learn new skills and serve their communities.

I was also successful in gaining an increase in the incentive to a two-year community college scholarship.

If you told me back then that I’d be standing here now, helping celebrate the 20th anniversary of a highly successful program, I would not have been a bit surprised.

This was a great idea from the start, and remains a great way of helping people across our state.

I grew up believing in community service.

My parents taught us the value of helping others.

Back in 1968, I was preparing my service project to become an Eagle Scout.

That experience showed me just how much difference one person can make in the community.

I experienced the power of one.

And I became a believer in the power of one.

The Washington Service Corps was established to focus this power of one.

It’s a great way to give back to the community.

The results are powerfully positive—for both the community and the Service Members.

In the last 20 years, more than 11,000 service corps members have contributed nearly 14 million hours of service to schools, the environment, public safety, and other important human and community needs.

Eleven thousand members—that’s nearly the population of Tumwater!

And 14 million hours is nearly enough time to get through the 2003 Legislative regular session and special sessions!

The success of the Washington Service Corps speaks volumes about the commitment, creativity, passion and plain hard work of the Employment Security staff and Commission.

Two people deserve much of the credit for the Corps’ outstanding record of service.

They are the past and present Executive Directors of the Washington Service Corps—Bill Basl and Nancy Pringle.

Bill and Nancy’s leadership and personal commitment to service have guided the Service Corps from a small state-funded program to a national model for the federal AmeriCorps program.

What an outstanding contribution to our state!

On behalf of the people of Washington, thank you Bill and Nancy.

Our state and nation have struggled with tough economic times.

But despite recent AmeriCorps funding cuts, the Washington Service Corps remains the third highest recipient of federal funding for service projects in the nation.

This is clearly a reflection on the strong management and excellent programming of the Washington Service Corps staff.

This success shows the passionate commitment to service of the VISTA and AmeriCorps members in the field.

The passionate commitment to the power of one.

I am extremely proud of the Washington Service Corps.

Thank you for two decades of outstanding service to the people and communities of Washington state.

Keep up the good work!

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