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McNeely has helped many along the way

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Gloria McNeely is a born volunteer. She is so dedicated to the organizations she supports that she often works from morning until late in the evening, never stopping to count the number of lives she's touched along the way.

She is involved with a handful of local organizations including Snoqualmie Arts Live, where she is the co-chairperson and publicist, and is also on the board of the newly-formed Snoqualmie Arts Commission. She helps out at the Snoqualmie Valley Historical Museum, answering questions about the exhibits that tell the story of the Valley's past, and she can also be found at the Snoqualmie Valley Chamber of Commerce meetings, volunteering as their treasurer.

McNeely also serves as the finance chairperson of her church, Snoqualmie United Methodist, and is on the committee that is responsible for the dissolved Good Neighbor Childcare Center, which Children's Services of Sno-Valley now runs out of the church.

McNeely is modest about her volunteerism. She credits the many other volunteers who help out, and she is slow to want to be recognized. She simply loves to help out where she can.

"You don't do it for any personal award," McNeely said matter-of-factly. "[It's] the idea that somehow whatever you're doing is benefiting someone else, it helps you in here," McNeely said as she pointed to her heart.

"I've known Gloria for about six or seven years and she is one hot chili pepper," said Sue Beauvais, co-owner of Wilderness Glass. "She's involved with a number of organizations, but I associate her with the [Snoqualmie Valley] Chamber of Commerce and the Snoqualmie Valley Arts Live Committee. She also volunteers at most Chamber functions like the Santa pancake breakfast, and at Alpine Days and Snoqualmie Days. She's truly an inspiration for me."

McNeely began volunteering with Snoqualmie Valley Arts Live after hearing a piano concert by Walt Wagner in 1993. Arts Live works to present inexpensive entertainment in the community through a variety of productions and performing arts.

"We try to present a diverse program, something for everyone," McNeely said.

Her idea to volunteer originally came after the death of her husband, Denton, in 1987. She had been retired since 1981 and was busy spending time with him. But then a cancer tumor went undetected behind his heart, and she spent the last few years of his life taking care of him. When he died, she knew she had to stay busy.

"It was either pull up the covers and say to heck with it, or do something," McNeely said.

She chose to do something, which led her into a volunteer position with the Snoqualmie Valley Historical Museum. She confesses to being a bit of a tour guide, having auctioned off a couple of her own personally-guided touring trips around the Valley for charitable events. Volunteering at the museum allows her the opportunity to learn and teach others about the history of the Valley while they are visiting the museum, a history tour piled into one location, if you will. She relates to many of the exhibits, having spent the last 60 years of her life here.

"You don't [necessarily] have to know anything about the history of the Valley, you learn it while you are there," McNeely said.

When McNeely isnOt spending time learning about the history of the Valley or helping others to understand it, she can be found attending Snoqualmie Valley Chamber of Commerce meetings. Her accounting background and accuracy for numbers made her a perfect fit for the job of treasurer, and during the two years she wasn't filing monthly reports, making sure the bills got paid and investing the surplus money, she served as the Chamber's secretary.

McNeely's knack for numbers also keeps her busy as the finance chairperson at Snoqualmie United Methodist Church. McNeely also sings in the church choir.

As if all that isnOt enough to keep her from falling over with exhaustion, she works six to eight days per month for Lisa Cole and Associates, doing accounting work.

She met Cole in 1988 at a Mount Si Business and Professional Women's meeting after retiring early from King County as an administrative services officer. Cole asked her what she did for a living, and after learning of her background in accounting, she said she might call McNeely when she needed help with the bookkeeping.

That experience in bookkeeping extends even further back to a stint working at the Valley Record, where she also wrote and edited stories.

McNeely received the call from Cole two weeks after they first met, and has worked part time ever since. During income-tax season, she increased her workload to full time for a couple of years.

"She's one in a million, you can't find another one like her," Cole said.

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