August 11, 2003 - The Olympian: Colombia RPCV Bob Finlay puts Peace Corps past to work

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By Admin1 (admin) on Monday, August 11, 2003 - 9:56 am: Edit Post

Colombia RPCV Bob Finlay puts Peace Corps past to work

Read and comment on this story from the Olympian about Colombia RPCV Bob Finlay who puts the Peace Corps past to work as a member of the city of Olympia's design review board and asvolunteer coordinator at the Olympia Farmers Market at:

Volunteer puts Peace Corps past to work*

* This link was active on the date it was posted. PCOL is not responsible for broken links which may have changed.

Volunteer puts Peace Corps past to work

Man works on city's design review board, coordinates and helps volunteers

Bob Findlay has been elected to represent the Northwest region as a board member of the National Peace Corps Association. Findlay also coordinates volunteers at the Olympia Farmers Market.

Adam Amato/The Olympian


Olympia, Oregon - Before Iowa State University professor of architecture Bob Findlay retired last year, he often vacationed in Olympia while visiting relatives. Last May, Findlay and his partner, Lee Haugan, decided to make Olympia their home.

"Living here is great fun," Findlay said. "I'm having a wonderful retirement."

Findlay not only is having a great retirement, but he's using his energy and talents to make a difference in the community.

He volunteers on the city of Olympia's design review board and is the Master Gardener volunteer coordinator at the Olympia Farmers Market. He's also active in his homeowners association grounds committee.

Recently, Findlay was elected to represent the Northwest region as a board member of the National Peace Corps Association that includes Alaska, Washington, Idaho, Montana and Oregon.

The National Peace Corps Association is a nonprofit organization of returned Peace Corps Volunteers who continue to serve the Peace Corps mission by supporting volunteers abroad and returned volunteers and by sharing their global experiences after they return home.

Findlay says he was one of the early "Kennedy kids" who served in the Peace Corps in 1963. He first went to Colombia. He also accepted three short-term Peace Corps assignments with the Crisis Corps in Peru, the Cook Islands and El Salvador.

Findlay says he speaks and writes Spanish well enough to get by.

"My global outlook comes from my experience in the Peace Corps," Findlay said. "It took me out of my urban environment and gave me an international perspective. It also affected my teaching."

Like Findlay, Chris Lair is a former Peace Corps volunteer. "I met Bob Findlay a few months ago while volunteering at the Olympia Farmers Market demonstration garden. We bonded right away," Lair said. "He does make a difference in the community. He has a 'can do' attitude and a 'does do' attitude."

Findlay volunteered for the City of Olympia's Design Review Board.

After an interview, the Olympia City Council appointed him to the nine-member board.

The board applies design review requirements and guidelines of public and private projects throughout the city and urban growth area.

Susan Messegee, associate planner for the City of Olympia, says Findlay brings energy and a fresh perspective to the board because he's new to the area.

"It's really fun to have someone who looks at projects in a broad way. He doesn't see things the way they used to be, but as a fresh proposal for discussion that he may have seen work somewhere else," Messegee said.

Findlay says he's always been a gardener.

After coming to Olympia, he wanted to learn about gardening in the Northwest, so he completed a Master's Gardener Class.

When he learned the farmers market needed a garden coordinator, he offered his services and works with its 20 volunteers to keep the garden going.

"I enjoy direct involvement with the public, and the gardens at the farmers market is the perfect setting," Findlay said.

Findlay's long-term interest in gardening and his energetic nature give him excellent skills to pass along to the other volunteers, Lair says.

"The Midwest's loss is the Northwest's gain," Lair said.

Mildred Kavanaugh is a correspondent for The Olympian.

To suggest an individual or community group for spotlight as a Pacesetter, write to Jerre Redecker, The Olympian, P.O. Box 1219, Olympia, WA 98507, or e-mail jredecke@olympia.gannett. com. Include your nominee's specific accomplishment.

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