Archive for the ‘Fundraisers’ Category

Breeanna Messner, back in her prairie days. (Shelli Trumbull photo)

It’s a 2-for-1 deal.

Kick in some moola to support a great cause and you can help out a prairie legend and greatly benefit homeless women in California.

Coupeville High School grad Breeanna Messner, a four-sport (volleyball, cheer, basketball, softball) star in her Wolf days, is currently living in San Diego as she prepares to apply to medical school.

In between her college days, and her next college days, Messner, one of the most talented, kindest people on the face of planet Earth, is busy working to help others.

She’s currently working on a project to create and distribute free, reusable feminine hygiene products to homeless women in the San Diego area.

The plan is to produce 150 pads, giving three apiece to 50 women.

Messner, who is doing the work herself, has launched a GoFundMe to raise the money needed to buy flannel material, towels, snap buttons, thread, Ziploc bags, and sewing necessities.

She’s raised just over half of her $1,000 goal and we, her many die-hard fans in Wolf Nation, can help her get over the top.

To read Messner’s full proposal, and/or donate, pop over to:


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“Circumnavigate Whidbey 2018” brought out the fans. (Photos courtesy James Steller)

Steller (left) teamed with Neil Rixe (center) and Greg White to complete a two-day journey around Whidbey Island.

A rousing send-off as the runners hit the track at Coupeville High School.

Steller slices through the waters off of Whidbey.

Fathers competing to benefit their children (and many others).

They ran, they biked, they kayaked, they swam, and they raised some big bucks.

A pack of athletically-inclined Coupeville parents put in 19 hours of outdoor activity over Labor Day weekend, pulling off “Circumnavigate Whidbey 2018: The Traverse” and raising $21,000.

James Steller, Greg White, Neil Rixe and Andrew Wyman piled up more than 150 miles as they worked their way around Whidbey Island.

Money raised through donations goes to help the Community Foundation for Coupeville Public Schools, which funds educator grants, awards scholarships to graduating CHS seniors, and provides assistance to financially disadvantaged students.

Founded in 1997, the group’s mission is to “provide an extra measure of support to students and educators at Coupeville Public Schools.”

Steller, a marathoner and endurance runner, launched the inaugural “Circumnavigate Whidbey” last year, and this time around was joined by fellow parents, which lightened the assault on his body (at least a little).

“I love where we live. The people and this island’s beauty and rural nature are amazing,” he said. “Our families and friends are special!

“The finishing lines were so heartwarming,” Steller added. “Each day we were tired, but the loud cheers from the big crowds made it all worthwhile.”

The group was almost down a member at the start, as Wyman was in a bad bike accident while training, but he was able to bounce back and participate in the running part of the event.

As they navigated the waters and road of Whidbey, the group came face-to-face with Orca whales while kayaking.

All four men are fathers of school-age children, and their offspring came along for the adventure, as support staff, and, in some cases, putting in miles running with their dads.

“It was really fun to have the Coupeville kiddos with us for portions of the course,” Steller said.

Numerous people helped to make the weekend event a success, and Steller sent a special thank you out to one of them.

“I want to recognize Chic Merwine, the president of the Foundation, who just recently retired from his job at Coupeville schools,” Steller said. “He dedicates so much of his life to the district and has made such a big difference.”

Whether they provided assistance, cheered from the sidelines or chipped in with money, the many members of the community who backed the event will see it pay off in the coming months and years.

“The folks and businesses that supported the effort with donations – thank you!,” Steller said. “There will be at least 15 or so innovative and enriching grants for teachers that will affect so many of our Coupeville students because of you!”

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It took 12 years, but I finally killed the “car that wouldn’t die.”

They might throw a parade.

Arguably the worst car in Coupeville, the one every store owner was afraid to see enter their parking lot — in case it never exited — is no more.

It took me 12 years of use and major abuse, but I finally killed the “car that wouldn’t die.”

One final scream (from me or the car?) as the power steering departed for the great junkyard in the sky, and we finally reached the point where no mas was truly no mas.

12 years, though.

From the tail end of my video store life, through doing yard work on a 25-acre chunk of rock-encrusted property, a return to the dish pits of my youth, and then a full embrace of eking out a living pounding out thousands of stories here at Coupeville Sports.

Let’s be honest here.

I have no car repair skills and put that car through the wringer, and yet it endured. How we’ll never know.

It was the car covered in moss, dirt and rust.

The one which lost chunks of paint off the hood, chunks which flew across and hit oncoming traffic like kamikaze birds.

Until I covered the hood in bumper stickers, which then, little by little, chipped away and flew free across the prairie.

At one point those stickers advertised the Whidbey Examiner, from back in the days when it still operated as a scrappy independent newspaper and I wrote a gazillion stories in return for … yeah, pretty much those stickers.

The passenger side mirror? Sheared off while exiting a bank drive-in after a long day of work. I’m pretty sure the wall was attacking me…

The front of the car? Mangled by a major collision with a deer (who definitely attacked me, flying down a hill, spearing me, then sticking his tongue out at me as he wobbily bounded away to tell his buddies the story).

Which is why the licence plate was strapped on with weed eater cord for years. As you do.

The driver’s seat? It broke a year or two back, making me adept at working on my inner core when taking turns.

Yet that hunk o’ junk endured. Until it didn’t.

With a new school year just weeks away, that puts me in a spot.

Writing a blog, especially one focusing on small town sports, is not a way to get rich quick (or ever), but my readers have been hugely supportive over the past six years, enabling me to use my writing to pay my limited bills.

As I try and scrape together a few bucks to replace the dead hunk o’ junk with a slightly-more-working hunk o’ junk, if you want to help keep Coupeville Sports alive ‘n kicking, maybe check out my GoFundMe:


Any help is appreciated as I try to reclaim my standing as the car owner most likely to give shop owners the cold sweats when I pull into their lot.

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Your go-to place for donating school supplies for Coupeville students in need.

It’s the time of the summer to donate.

Cascade Insurance Agency runs its annual Backpack Project Aug. 1-15, and you can help by bringing them school supplies which will be passed on to Coupeville students in need.

Swing by the office (404 S. Main, right next door to the grocery store) any time between 9 AM-5 PM, Monday through Friday, and there will be handy-dandy donation boxes awaiting you in the front office.

New school supplies (pens, glue bottles, backpacks, notebooks, you name it) is the name of the game, and a warm feeling in your chest is the reward.

If you can’t stop by during normal business hours, call 360-682-2162 or email shelli@cascadeinsuranceagency.com to make other arrangements.

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James Steller and Co. will circumnavigate Whidbey Island Labor Day weekend to raise money for Coupeville schools.

He’s back at it, but this time he’s bringing some friends along for the adventure.

James Steller, one of Whidbey’s top runners and supporters of local schools, will once again be circumnavigating the Island Labor Day weekend.

But, unlike last year, when he attempted to go solo and put himself in the hospital for a bit, this time out Steller will be joined by “a small group of crazies.”

Neil Rixe, who coaches track and robotics at Coupeville High School, dentist Andrew Wyman and firefighter Greg White, a Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Famer for his old-school high school athletic exploits, will join Steller.

The quartet, who have seven kids among them, all involved in Coupeville schools, will launch “Circumnavigate Whidbey – 2018 – The Traverse” Sept. 1-2.

Each of the two days starts and ends in Coupeville, with the foursome (or more, if others join), running, biking, kayaking and swimming.

It will take 120 miles of biking, 24 miles of running, eight miles of kayak, and one mile of swim for the group to travel around the perimeter of Whidbey.

The event raises money for the Community Foundation for Coupeville Public Schools, a non-profit organization which supports local teachers by funding projects and issues scholarships to graduating seniors.

The Foundation annually puts $25,000 back into local education.

Last year’s inaugural edition of Circumnavigate Whidbey raised $15,000 in donations, but just about wrecked Steller.

A veteran triathlon and marathon athlete, he attempted to run the entire length and found even his well-seasoned body had trouble achieving the feat.

While it might have been a small setback in the moment, Steller was cheered by how the community stepped up with donations, and how, in the end, several other athletes jumped in to try and get him to the finish line.

After a lot of thought, and some personal reflection, he decided he couldn’t let the event die.

“The decision for me to try this again took me until June to finally make up my mind,” Steller said. “I knew that it was great for the Foundation, really bringing in both publicity and significant monies for our year of grants and scholarships.

“I just knew my body couldn’t run it.”

That was when he hit upon an idea to mix things up.

“In my past, I have done both the Ski To Sea and triathlons,” Steller said. “So my wife and I were talking and said, why can’t we do something like that on Whidbey?

“My ultimate ambition is to make it a tradition and have folks who participate do their own fundraising.”

While he has three compatriots lined up, Steller is open to adding other athletes to the mix.

As the founder of the event, he has the logistics and route ready to go, but would encourage anyone wanting to join to commit to raising $500 for the Foundation.

If you’re content to cheer from the sideline and donate to the cause, there’s still something special in it for you.

For every $100 you donate, you get an entry into a raffle for a two-night stay at the Ocean’s Bluff Farm’s guest house.

A small jewel tucked away on the Island, it offers “expansive ocean and Olympic views, farm animals and serenity.”


To get an idea of what the guest house looks like, pop over to:



For more info on Circumnavigate Whidbey, or to donate, pop over to:



If you’re interested in joining the “band of crazies” and taking to the road or waters of Whidbey, drop Steller a line at jsteller@hotmail.com.


PS — Check out this vintage video about the Foundation from 2011 and see how many future Wolf athletic stars you can ID. I got at least seven.

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