December 12, 2006
The $50,000 donation to The Friends of the Ketchikan Public Library Building Fund was greatly appreciated by the organization. The generous donation was received recently in the form of a check from the Ream Family Scholarship Fund.
Ream is well known for his ongoing monetary support of Ketchikan students and the community. For the past several years he has personally funded two Kayhi scholarships each year. He annually hosts a party at his home before the Kayhi Alumni picnic in Washington.
"I have very fond recollections of Ketchikan," says the civil engineer. The Ream family lived in Ketchikan before moving to Kodiak. Norm Ream's brother Joel is a Kayhi graduate of 1939, and his sister, Anna Mae Ream Zugish, graduated in 1942. Their father worked on the Navy base in Kodiak, and when World War II broke out, the Reams were evacuated to Seattle and the youngest sister Betty, graduated from high school in Seattle.
Ream says he hasn't been back to Ketchikan that much in intervening years, but more recently he makes a trip north to confer the scholarships at the Kayhi Scholarship Awards Ceremony. He has some local help in sorting through the applicants, but Ream makes the final decision. "In 2004 he surprised everyone by awarding not just two $2,500 scholarships, but giving seven other applicants $1,000 each just for applying," said Robert McClory, Kayhi Chairman of the Counseling Department.
"He told the assembly [students], You never know, I might do it again," McClory said.
"He's a very generous man," said McClory, "and Ream has set up other endowments for causes he feels strongly about. He brings a new lift to philanthropism," he added.
Ream also duplicates the high school scholarship awards in Wrangell, in honor of his mother who was from there and a strong believer in education.
"Ream's attention to the Ketchikan library project was aroused when he learned that his high school classmate, Marjorie Ann Voss, left her estate to the City of Ketchikan specifically to benefit the construction of a new library and to give historic items to the City Museum. Items from the estate are being evaluated and prepared for public sale," said Judith Anglin, Library Director.
The library project is conceptual at this stage, but a new library is on the long-term capital project horizon.
Ream stops by the library when he's in Ketchikan to browse through newspapers. He observed that both the library and the museum, sharing the Centennial Building, clearly needed more space.
Ream is a graduate of the University of Washington, where he earned both his bachelor's and master's degrees. He served in Okinawa during World War II, and later was called as an Army Reserve Officer to serve in Korean War. He is married, has three children and two grandchildren.
The Friends of the Ketchikan Public Library is a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization that exists solely to support the local libraries. "Since beginning a building fund a few years ago, the group now has almost $90,000 in the fund," said Susan Fisher, treasurer. The Southeast Alaska Pilots Association has made regular large contributions, fueling the base for the fund, and the Rainy Day Quilters Guild helped bolster funds by donating a quilt, which was the centerpiece for a raffle. Other fundraising has included ongoing sales of coffee mugs, water bottles, locally roasted coffee, handmade quilted stars and other items, a dunk tank sponsored by the Plaza, and a sock hop. Many other people have contributed to both the Friends and the City building funds.
Anglin and Fisher noted that fundraising and donations are needed to help leverage money in applying for future grants. "The Friends hope to use their Building Fund money in ways the city government might not want or be able to," said Fisher. While the library construction falls to the city government, the Friends long have supported the library with equipment, furnishings and staff support.
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