News Columns & Blogs

The Olympia Project hopes to harness energy of upcoming leaders

When you think of civic leaders, the image that usually comes to mind is of a middle-age taxpayer who has his or her career well under way. You don't often think of the 20- or 30-something generations, who you might assume are out partying somewhere.

Now, a group of 20- and 30-something Olympians is organizing to prove that they not only care about their community but also are ready to step up and take leadership roles.

Sean Murphy and a group of friends have created The Olympia Project to harness the energy and creativity of their peers to make our community a better place to live, work and play. They’ve started with a Facebook page, of course, and a Web site is now up and running at They met at Swing recently to hear a presentation about the city of Olympia’s comprehensive plan and to organize their official kickoff event in January.

The idea is to make community participation fun by doing it together. They have 13 events planned for 2010 that will engage young people in volunteer work and also provide nonpartisan civic education and engagement opportunities.

The Olympia Project is committed to helping young people be active volunteers and informed voters, savvy charitable donors and knowledgeable community leaders.

The group’s first event on Jan. 30 will collect food items for the Thurston County Food Bank at local grocery stores.

If you want more information, contact Murphy at

And, speaking of people doing good things for others, a newspaper carrier for The Olympian recently went above and beyond in the wee hours of the morning.

An Olympian subscriber in Boston Harbor wrote to tell us about her carrier, Bruce Runyan, who “went above and beyond the call of duty even though he had a second job that he needed to go to.”

The reader said she saw Runyan drive by her house as usual, but then abruptly stop and put on his flashing hazard lights. She then noticed that a vehicle had crashed into a telephone pole. Runyan was first on the scene.

Our carrier made sure the victim was breathing and called 9-1-1. He enlisted our reader’s help to stay with the victim while he drove to a nearby fire station and brought help.

Our reader wrote, “I can only hope that if I am ever in a situation or accident like that there is someone like him there to help me. I am honored that he is my newspaper delivery person and hope that he is recognized for being a truly good person.”

More “CATS” are coming! One of the highlights of the Washington Center for the Performing Arts this season is the national tour of the musical “Cats” in March 2010. The center staff announced this week that they have added a third, matinee performance.

Next up at the performing arts center is a tribute to Woody Guthrie called, “Ribbon of Highway” on Jan. 15.

A big thank you to everyone who donated to the Christmas Forest fund-a-need this year, which benefits Providence St. Peter Hospital’s family birth center. During the recent gala auction, people donated more than $150,000 in about 10 minutes to help purchase two critical life-saving anesthesia machines for emergency situations during childbirth.

George Le Masurier, publisher of The Olympian, can be reached at 360-357-0206 or