Thurston County’s Hidden Sector

Many special ‘Days’ to enjoy

Today was the ‘Worst Day of the Year,’ in case you were wondering


If you are a regular reader of this column, you are aware that I track the 1500+ “National Days”.

For instance, yesterday was International Cat Day (so give your kitty extra loving if you forgot). To show full equality, tomorrow is Spoil Your Dog Day (here I thought that was every day!). Today is Book Lovers Day (shout out to Timberland Regional Library), International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples, Rice Pudding Day (some of these days do not make sense to me), National Veep Day, and National Spirit of ’45 Day.

However, the most important celebration (or un-celebration) is that today is the worst day of the year – my apologies if today is your birthday/anniversary. According to a friend of ours, Craig “Junior” Miller, a sports broadcaster in Dallas, the second Tuesday in August is the worst day of the year. Specifically, 2:00 pm was the worst moment. (Congratulations, you survived!)

If you want the full story, check it out here. I’ll make a note later in the year to let you know when the best day of the year is.

Now that you have survived the worst day of the year, let’s look at a few nonprofits to keep you busy.

Take a Walk on the Brewery Side

The City of Tumwater Parks and Recreation in partnership with the Olympia-Tumwater Foundation hosts the next free Guided Riverwalk Tour at Tumwater Falls at Brewery Park this Friday, August 12. Our family participated in this tour earlier this year and can attest that these hour-long walks are easy-paced and packed with the history of Tumwater Falls.

Local historian Don Trosper serves as your guide and even if you spent your life in Tumwater, I bet you will learn something new. Registration is required, tours are only offered in the summer and they fill up fast. Click here to register. For more details call (360) 786-8117 or email

School’s almost back - and kids need supplies

To help every local child go back to school with the supplies they need to succeed, KXXO Mixx 96.1 is hosting a School Supplies and Cash Drive this Friday, August 12, from 6 am - 6 pm.

Proceeds benefit the Little Red Schoolhouse Project (LRS), a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation operating under the fiscal sponsorship of Family Education and Support Services. LRS was founded in 1991 in response to the need to provide, at no cost, school supplies and backpacks to families in Thurston County so every child can begin the school year with their basic needs for school, sending them "back to school with pride." Last year almost 2800 students were helped. For more details on donating go to or call 360-943-9696.

Volunteer for the Ring of Fire Fighting

A couple of weeks ago, I took off my columnist hat and reported on a home fire in Rochester. While I took photos and interviewed neighbors and those battling the blaze, I also noted that some were local volunteer firefighters.

Volunteer firefighting was one of the first volunteer opportunities offered in the United States. In 1736 Benjamin Franklin founded the Union Fire Company in Philadelphia which is considered by many to be the start of America’s modern volunteer fire service. Click here to learn more about the 275-year history of volunteer firefighters.

There are opportunities to volunteer for our local fire departments. For instance, Southeast Thurston Fire Authority, which serves the cities of Yelm, Rainier, and surrounding unincorporated areas, has training available for those interested in becoming a volunteer firefighter.

In addition to becoming an active fully functional responder (Firefighter/EMT), there is additional training available to provide support. For instance, while I was covering the Rochester fire, I saw someone who was ensuring that all of the personnel were provided with water and cold towels. That might not seem like a big deal, but that is a life-saving duty and you could tell the volunteer took their job very seriously as did all of the fire personnel they supported. Click here to learn more about the training and requirements.

Soliciting your ideas

If you know of a nonprofit that is doing something great, celebrating a success, needs some outstanding volunteers, or hosting an event, let me know! This column (aside from a little education) celebrates nonprofits!

Mary Beth Harrington, CVA (Certified Volunteer Administrator) lives in Tumwater. She travels the country speaking at conferences and to individual organizations articulating issues facing nonprofits. Send your ideas to her at


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