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Community icon Chuck Davis retiring after 46 years

 

Mukilteo Boys & Girls Club director Chuck Davis speaks at the ribbon cutting ceremony for the new facility in March. Davis has led the club for 46 years and is retiring this September.

Not many people in Mukilteo are better known than Chuck Davis.

Davis has been at the head of the Mukilteo Boys & Girls Club for nearly half a century, and has seen the City of Mukilteo, as well as his club, grow exponentially over the years.

While most things in Mukilteo have changed since Davis took over operations 46 years ago, Davis, a Mariner High School grad and past Mukilteo Citizen of the Year recipient, has been a staple of the Mukilteo community, serving as a mentor for generations of Mukilteans.

That’s why, come later this year, it will be so very different to have someone else at the helm of the club, as Davis is retiring this September.

“It’s been 46 years working here, and they probably need someone younger with all the responsibilities we have here,” he said.

Did Davis, someone who’s lived or worked in Mukilteo for 65 of his 66 years, ever envision he’d stick with the job as long as he did?

“I never thought that,” he said, laughing. “It didn’t really sink in until about 38 years ago.”

The most rewarding experience through it all has been the kids, Davis said.

“When they come back as grown adults and say what you did for them as kids, that’s the best,” he said.

Another rewarding experience for Davis is seeing the growth of the community.

“In 1961, when we the Mukilteo Boys & Girls Club got the charter, there was about 750 people living in Mukilteo. Now, there’s over 21,000.”

With the population growth came the need for a new facility.

The old Mukilteo Boys & Girls Club that many who grew up here spent time in is in Old Town on Second Street. The building is one of the oldest in Mukilteo, and the club called it home from 1961 until this year, when the new Boys & Girls Club in Harbour Pointe opened its doors.

The road to opening the new club was long and wasn’t always easy, but Davis always had a feeling it would happen.

“I always knew we’d get a new club built in Mukilteo. We got the land back in 2006, and it took until 2019 to get it built and open,” he said. “We’d been wanting to build a new club for a while.”

After finding the land, Davis and other community members essentially started a campaign to get the facility built.

After a few hiccups along the way, in 2012, the campaign really picked up, and things got rolling for a groundbreaking in 2018. The ribbon cutting and grand opening ceremony was this March.

Brian Sullivan was with Davis essentially every step of the way. Sullivan, who grew up going to the Mukilteo Boys & Girls Club and has served in numerous local government positions – Mukilteo City Council, Mukilteo mayor, Snohomish County Council, and state representative for the 21st Legislative District.

Sullivan said he met Davis sometime between 1968 and 1974, and that three things come to mind when he thinks of Davis.

The first is how dedicated Davis is and has been to his work, whether taking the time to go to Seattle hotels and collect autographs of opposing baseball players for Boys & Girls Club fundraisers, or working to get the new facility open.

Another word Sullivan uses is “relentless.”

“We started (trying to get the new club) in 2006, and got the land that year … and I had to call all these agencies, and Chuck was on it every step of the way,” Sullivan said. “When the recession hit in 2008, we took a step back in the campaign, and Chuck kept it together, getting graphics out there and talking about the project whenever he could.”

The third thing that came to mind, Sullivan said, was how Davis is always trying to help raise money for the Boys & Girls Club.

“That club survived because of Chuck.”

Getting that new facility open, with the help of Sullivan and other agencies and community members, means everything to Davis, because it shows how his club is viewed.

“I think we have a very good community image and the community respects us and can see where we came from and where we are now,” he said.

Along with the growth in Mukilteo was the growth in the Boys & Girls Club of Snohomish County. When Davis started, there were just four clubs in the county. Now, there are 22, with 15 extensions, per the organization’s website.

“I’m proud of being in the organization and being a team player,” he said.

Mike Neumeister, an area director for Boys & Girls Clubs of Snohomish County, has known Davis for 25 years and said Davis is leaving behind a great legacy from his tenure.

“There are a number of generations who’ve been through the Mukilteo Boys & Girls Club, and now their kids or grandkids are going through it,” he said. “I think, overall, Chuck’s been a huge part of the Mukilteo community, and being grand marshal (of the 2018 Lighthouse Festival parade) shows how the community sees him and the legacy he’s leaving behind.”

So what’s in store for Davis after his retirement? Not much, yet.

“My wife still has a few years left before she can retire, so we’re staying put for now. I guess I’ll be a stay-at-home husband,” he said, laughing. “I’ll probably still help out at the club part time.”

One of Mukilteo’s longest-running traditions is the Boys & Girls Club Luau every September. That event has grown tremendously over the years, and the money raised helps the Mukilteo Boys & Girls Club. This year will be the 50th luau, and will be the first in the new facility. That is also Davis’ last day on the job.

Chuck Davis laughs at a joke from Brian Sullivan (off camera) at the ribbon cutting ceremony for the new facility in March. Sullivan has known Davis for roughly 50 years, and believes the Mukilteo Boys & Girls Club may have folded if not for Davis’ leadership.

“It just made sense,” Davis said.

Davis wanted to let people know well in advance of the luau because he’s hoping to see plenty of familiar faces there.

“I believe a lot of people who’ve helped out over the last 30 years or so will want to come,” he said. “I’m really proud of the luau and where it was to where it is now. I’d love to see as many old-timers and familiar faces as possible.”

The Boys & Girls Club Luau is 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 28, at the new Mukilteo Boys & Girls Club facility (10600 47th Place W). Tickets are $50, and can only be purchased online at https://bgcsc.org/mukilteo-luau/. There will be no walk-in tickets sold.

Author Bio

Brandon Gustafson, Editor, Mukilteo Beacon

Brandon Gustafson was named editor of the Mukilteo Beacon in October, 2017. Born and raised in Mukilteo, Brandon attended Mukilteo Elementary, Olympic View Middle School, and Kamiak High School, graduating in 2013. After high school, Brandon attended Shoreline Community College, earning his associate's degree while playing for the school's baseball team. He then transferred to the University of Washington, where he graduated in 2017 with a bachelor's degree in communications-journalism.

Email: mukilteoeditor@yourbeacon.net
Phone: 425-347-5634
Twitter: @MukBeaconBPG

 

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