North Bend’s 2013 Citizen of the Year award goes to a man who’s been involved with countless community projects over the years— from saving Si View in 2003 and Meadow-brook Farm in 1996 to celebrating two cities’ centennials, to preserving and presenting the Valley’s history on various boards and commissions. Yet what really makes this year’s honoree, Gardiner Vinnedge, stand out is, according to his friends and colleagues, everything.
“I can’t think of individual aspects, it’s just a whole lot of things,” says Gloria McNeely, a fellow Snoqualmie Valley Historical Society Board member.
“He’s such a special individual… so bright, so smart, and he has such wonderful ideas,” added McNeely, who has been editor of Snoqualmie Valley History Magazine since she and Vinnedge, its publisher, started it nearly six years ago.
“He is an amazing man; articulate and thought-provoking,” wrote Snoqualmie Valley Historical Museum staffer Cristy Lake. “I learn something new from him every time we speak…. He is modest, brilliant, dedicated, community minded, and a treasure to our Valley.”
Vinnedge, a longtime North Bend resident, has roots going back to the late 1800s when his great-grandparents settled in the area. He’s displayed his passion for history, not just in his community work but also in his career.
“He teaches history at the Bush School, and the lesson plans that he prepares for the kids … I’d give anything if I could be one of his students!” McNeely says.
History is made real and relevant when Vinnedge teaches it, whether it’s the complex nature of how Snoqualmie Falls and the area lumber industry were connected to the industrialization of the country, or as simple as how homesteaders in the area had to do their laundry.
McNeely recalls watching him demonstrate the latter for a group of young students.
“They were fascinated... as fascinated as I was, I’m sure,” she said. “I was fascinated by how plain, how clearly he described this to the young kids.”
Vinnedge was presented the Citizen of the Year award Tuesday, Jan. 7, at the North Bend City Council’s first meeting of the year.
Above, Vinnedge, at the Snoqualmie Valley Historical Museum, shows off a North Bend rail exhibit in 2009.
In this July 2005 photo, above, Gardiner Vinnedge sits at the head of the table for the Snoqualmie Valley Historical Society Board meeting at his home in North Bend.
Vinnedge with North Bend Mayor Ken Hearing and former mayor Joan Simpson.
Vinnedge at Meadowbrook Farm.