On learning of Clay Eals’ planned departure from Encompass, I was immediately reminded of a famous line from one of the old “Laurel & Hardy” comedy films of the late ‘20’s: After botching another of Hardy’s well-thought-out schemes, Ollie is seen admonishing his partner Stan for his misbegotten action by yelling …”well, that’s another fine kettle of fish you’ve gotten us into!” Naturally in this scene, like all the scenes of this classic duo, Oliver Hardy was only thinking of himself and Stan Laurel was only trying to do what was best for everyone, including Ollie.
I caught myself in mid-stride of my thought by realizing what I had always known. That you, Mr. Clay Eals, are among the most selfless gentlemen I’ve ever had the honor of working with. Being the consummate professional as you are, Encompass became your calling and your passion. And not unlike our early teachers and therapists, who trekked daily from their homes in Seattle to Snoqualmie because our children became their calling, so too are you in their vaunted league as you made your way every day into the Valley from West Seattle, making your mark for each and every family seeking the services of Encompass.
Your uncanny ability to bridge the gap between journalism and public relations is truly a gift and underappreciated by almost everyone not privy to the longstanding animosity between professional reporters and the PR crowd. Your journalism credentials and excellent reputation among your peers provides the necessary access into an editor’s office, giving you the chance to tell the Encompass story effectively and with relevance to the community.
Twenty years ago our agency was under the public radar, struggling for recognition and financial support. Today, that has all changed. Your efforts have given Encompass a voice throughout the Valley, and more recently into the Issaquah-Sammamish Plateau area. We are indebted to you for your stubbornness to get our story out there into print and online.
Taking on the important community service role of Executive Director of the Southwest Seattle Historical Society will be another opportunity for the seeker of new challenges which you have become. It will be especially rewarding to you and your family as they feel your three-hour daily commute convert to more quality time with them. All of your past successes and interests have led you to this moment. It is now your time to set the table.
Dick Ryon, former President and Emeritus
Member, Encompass Board of Directors