Personal computer group seeks those who need the technology
SEQUIM — Members of the Sequim PC Users Group have an abundance of refurbished desktop computers and are looking for people who need them.
“It’s a good position to be in — we just need people to give them to,” said Tom LaMure, club president emeritus.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, club members have helped social services groups support individuals and families by providing computers to work and/or attend school from home.
Now, some of those agencies have received funding to purchase new computers, laptops and/or tablets.
However, donated computers continue to come into the club.
As of this week, the Sequim club has more than 100 refurbished desktop computers for those in need.
The only criteria for an individual or family, LaMure said, is that a recipient “should need, want and will use it but honestly can’t afford it.”
He added, “There’s no paperwork or credit checks needed; it’s an honor system.”
Technology needs range from families with multiple children homeschooling and/or working remotely and sharing one computer to seniors who may have never owned a computer before.
“Occasionally I run into people who say they don’t want anything to do with computers, but maybe they’re ashamed to admit they can’t afford one,” LaMure said.
In recent years, club members say they’ve seen demand shift from desktops to laptops and tablets and cellphones.
“People use cellphones for everything now, but there are a lot of practical things that are not conducive on the phone,” LaMure said.
Al Lynn, a club volunteer for four years and computer industry veteran since 1978, said donations and demand ebb and flow, but laptops remain popular and are given out quickly.
Shop volunteers are certified Microsoft refurbishers, and each computer comes with Windows 10, monitor, keyboard, mouse, LibreOffice (typing program), tutorials and more installed, and they are ready to connect to the internet and use.
Some computers are available with a Linux operating system, if desired.
When the club began refurbishing computers, they had more requests than they could fill, but the club’s Tech Team grew and enhanced its procedures over the years, LaMure said.
So far, more than 1,000 computers have been given to those in-need through organizations such as First Step, Peninsula Behavioral Health, Peninsula College and Sequim schools.
LaMure said club members consist of a diverse work background, regions and political beliefs, which they check outside before they come into the shop to help the community.
“I just love it,” said Lynn, who has a background in software. “It’s relaxing for me.”
The Sequim PC Users Group’s mission is “Making Computer Technology a Reality for Everyone.”
To be considered for a computer donation, contact the club at 360-797-5771 or firstname.lastname@example.org, visit spcug.net or mail to: SPCUG, P.O. Box 1994, Sequim, WA. 98382-4030.
For more information, check the group’s Facebook page.
Matthew Nash is a reporter with the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which is composed of Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News, Sequim Gazette and Forks Forum. Reach him at email@example.com.
Android Phones and Tablets – SESSION 1 One Hour Video Here
May 31, 2019
Jim Hurley (SPCUG) Interview with Mark Schildnecht AKA Mark in the Morning DJ at KSQM-FM Sequim,WA. 5-31-19 Audio HERE (13 minutes)
|Rolland Douglas Kenitzer (1930 – 2018)|
Rolland Douglas (Koenitzer Jr.) Kenitzer, age 87, died June 11, 2018, in his home in Sequim. Rolland was born to Rolland and Stella Koenitzer, in 1930, in West Allis, Wisconsin. During his childhood he discovered a love of boating after his father completed a 25-foot cabin cruiser that they sailed on Lake Ontario, the Welland Canal and Lakes Erie, Huron and Michigan.
Rolland graduated from Oberlin High School in Ohio, and attended Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio. He graduated, in 1952, with a BS in Physics and a minor in Mathematics. He was drafted during the Korean War and served two years at Camp (now Fort), Detrick in Frederick, Maryland. After getting out of the Army, Rolland continued his education at UC Berkeley in Physics. After two years, he took an engineering job at Raytheon, in Santa Barbara, where he met and married his wife, Diane Samuelson. They were married November 1, 1958.
In 1962, Rolland took a job with Lockheed Missiles and Space at the tracking station they operated on Oahu, Hawaii. He moved his wife and young family there where they lived and enjoyed island life for three years. In 1965, they moved to Cupertino, California, where Rolland continued to work for Lockheed in a variety of positions until he retired in 1990. He also became very involved in the Cupertino Planning Commission and City Council plus continued learning by taking computer programming classes at De Anza College.
Upon retirement, it was time to leave the fast pace of Silicon Valley. Rolland became interested in the Coast Guard Auxiliary. In 1992, he was sworn in and was an active member until his passing. Rolland also volunteered for over ten years at the Sequim Museum and Arts Center and enjoyed the Sequim Computer Club. Additionally, he loved raising irises, rhododendrons, was an avid reader and accomplished photographer. He never lost his love of learning.
Rolland is survived by his beloved wife, Diane (Samuelson) Kenitzer; son, David (Alice) Koenitzer of Vacaville, California; daughter, Laura (Greg) Weilert of Sisters, Oregon and grandchildren, Candiss, Heather, Erik, Dylan, and Valerie. He will be missed by his family and friends.
A Celebration of Life will be announced at a later date.
Published in The Peninsula Daily News from Nov. 23 to Nov. 24, 2018
Rolland was a long time member of SPCUG, he was always willing to help. He worked with me at the Museum and Arts Center (MAC) the SPCUG Tech Fair and the SPCUG Tech Shop. (Steve S.)
From left are Michelle Rhodes, of the Shipley Center; Tom LaMure and Jim Hurley of the Sequim PC Users Group; Steve Solberg of SPCUG and the Shipley Center’s IT specialist; and Shipley Center Executive Director Michael Smith. Sequim Gazette photo by Patricia Morrison Coate
Network links unite entities: Groups pay it forward to donate computers to Sequim’s Shipley Center
It’s been said, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know, and who they know and who they know — networking at its best.
Earlier this year a four-link chain was forged and the end result was seven refurbished computers for Sequim’s Shipley Center.
The players were the Peninsula Credit Union in Port Townsend, the Sequim PC Users Group, the Sequim Sunrise Rotary Club and the Shipley Center, Sequim’s senior center. SPCUG is a nonprofit that refurbishes outdated computers and gives them to other nonprofits, and occasionally individuals.
Jim Hurley, a longtime SPCUG member, explained the process.
“I had contacted the Peninsula Credit Union a long time ago and told them what we do here — I’ve known the manager of the Port Townsend branch since 2009,” Hurley said. “He put me in touch with their IT (information technology) guy a year ago. They’d already donated seven or eight computers to us and contacted me, saying they had more to give us.”
Michelle Rhodes, development program director at the Shipley Center, put the word out to SPCUG that “maintaining our old computers was becoming problematic.”
SPCUG volunteer Joe Mirabella was the lead on the refurbishing project, with other club volunteers assisting. The club is a registered Microsoft refurbisher, one of just a few in Washington, which allows it to purchase its software and licensing at a greatly reduced rate.
“The Shipley Center, as a nonprofit, also has access to software at a significantly reduced price through Tech Soup,” Rhodes said.
Before donating the computers, the Peninsula Credit Union pulled out all the hard drives to ensure its customers’ privacy. SPCUG took the Dell machines and put in new 240 gigabyte solid state hard drives, 8 gigabytes of RAM memory and Windows 10.
Tom LaMure, the club’s president, said one of its members also was in Rotary and told that group about SPCUG’s need to buy new hard drives and memory, so Sunrise Rotary donated $980.
“This was done by SPCUG volunteers who donated their time, talent and expertise to help somebody else out,” LaMure said. “I’m excited about all the entities that donate without expecting anything in return. Our objective is to make computer technology a reality for everybody and we’re closing in on it.”
The club has refurbished more than 600 donated computers over the years.
“This is a true partnership and we are very lucky to have SPCUG support us,” Rhodes said. “We really enjoy these computers. The club also has a computer help clinic at 1 p.m. Mondays that’s free for members and that help us encourage people to join the Shipley Center. We’re very grateful for SPCUG because it also helps out with other technical equipment here. We truly could not operate at the capacity we do without SPCUG.”
Steve Solberg is the IT specialist at the Shipley Center and also a member of the club.
He said, “If you bought these seven computers, they’d probably retail for $1,000 a piece.”
The computers were installed in May and are available to members in the separate computer lab from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday. People can do research on the Internet, check their email or write a letter, Rhodes said.
For more information about the Shipley Center at 921 E. Hammond St., call 683-6806. For more information about the Sequim PC Users Group, visit https://www.spcug.net/.
SPCUG: Altruistic computer club makes wishes come true; members say objective is making technology a reality for everyone. Sequim Gazette December 28,2016
No matter what your age, imagine the thrill and gratitude of receiving a free, up-to-date computer, when you needed but couldn’t afford one, courtesy of the generosity of the Sequim PC Users Group.
“About five years ago, we were asked by the Sequim Kiwanis to refurbish computers,” said club president Tom LaMure, but after that Kiwanis club disbanded, the users group made refurbishing donated computers a project of its own.
“We’ve given away over 565 computers since we started keeping track and started with Windows XP (old) moving up to Windows 10 (new),” LaMure said.
“The recipient should be somebody who needs, wants, will use and can’t afford a computer,” LaMure stressed. For example, he said, a Peninsula College professor had two sisters in his class who needed computers to do his assignments. He contacted the group, SPCUG passed along two state-of-the-art laptops and the sisters made a modest donation to the group.
The club has nonprofit status and is a Microsoft Registered Refurbisher, which allows it to buy certified Microsoft operating systems at a greatly reduced rate. The club’s dues — $25 each annually from about 110 members — go to pay for accessories like batteries and power cords or any other defunct parts that need replaced and aren’t on hand in the shop’s inventory.
Gesturing to computers on the work benches and desktops standing like dead soldiers in the next room, LaMure said, “These were doomed for the trash. It feels good to know that we’re keeping potentially useful computers out of the dump and we’re giving people access to the window into the world and all of mankind’s knowledge, the good, the bad, the ugly and the beautiful … it’s all there and is their choice with a click.”
LaMure confesses he’s not as tech savvy as the group’s refurbishers, so he puts his networking skills to use by coordinating with social service agencies like First Step, Peninsula Behavioral Health, the Boys &Girls Club, Habitat for Humanity and the Sequim Food Bank plus veterans groups and foster families solely on a referral basis. Other nonprofit groups are encouraged to contact LaMure at firstname.lastname@example.org to be considered.
Asked if the refurbishers directly present the computers to the people they’re giving them to, LaMure said, “Not usually. We give them to the ‘case workers’ who work with the various social services and they take them to their clients, but we do get thank you notes that I relay to the team.
“On the other hand, occasionally someone will come to get a computer, like a mom who is home schooling that may have contacted us or college students who’ve been referred and I invite them to come by. Another thing that happens occasionally is that someone who has received a computer that crashes or they do something that needs attention may bring it back to the shop to get it fixed. Sometimes we can but if not we simply give them an exchange and away they go.”
The club accepts donations of desktops, laptops, keyboards, mice and monitors — but not printers and scanners — and anyone receiving a new computer this Christmas is encouraged to pay it forward by donating their older system to SPCUG.
“People don’t know what to do with their old computers,” LaMure said. “We do ask them NOT to destroy the hard drive — we wash it clean over a couple of hours and they can watch — so we don’t have to buy a new one.”
The core group of refurbishers gathers from 9 a.m.-noon every other Monday plus every Wednesday and includes Jim Hurley, Bill Tibbits, Joe Mirabela, George Hutchinson, Jason Cooper, Kelly McKillip, Gerlinda Scharinger, Rolland Kenitzer, Chuck Jones, Alan Lynn, James Minton and Richard Dietz.
“They all have such eclectic backgrounds — some are ex-Boeing, some are computer professionals, some have trained on how to refurbish computers. This is an amazing group and I’m just so proud and excited that these guys come in every week,” LaMure said.
“Fortunately, I’ve been able to provide a nice facility to them at no cost and it gives them a place to come and interesting, rewarding work to do. I guess the fact that they are all good, caring people helps, too. They spend lots of time and, of course, incur peripheral expenses, but give freely. It’s really a feel-good thing our club is doing,” LaMure said.
Sequim PC Users Group, founded in 1994, considers education a key part of its mission, so at 1 p.m. on Mondays, it holds a computer clinic at the Shipley Center, 921 E. Hammond St., Sequim, where its volunteer techs answer questions one-on-one and can help install malware protection for SPCUG and Shipley Center members. The group has monthly meetings and weekly get-togethers to discuss new and old concerns and things to learn about computers.
Those interested can call the club’s message phone at 360-797-5771 for more information.
“Our objective is making technology a reality for everyone,” LaMure said. “I’m so excited that we’re able to help people in need get what they need to get.”
Sticky Notes from the Web: here
Bob Holt, left, and Jim Langhoff repair four CD drives so that the Sequim PC Users can burn eight discs at a time. Sequim Gazette photo by Matthew Nash June 14, 2013
May 8, 2012
SPCUG Donates to Sequim High School Robotics Club
SPCUG Treasurer Tom Flanik Presents a $ 500 donation from the Sequim PC Users Group to the Sequim High School Robotics Club on April 30th.
Steve Solberg & Jim Langhoff of the Sequim PC Users group work on refurbishing old computers for the Kiwanis program.
PC group honors Williams, a founding member
Published on Wed, Mar 16, 2011
by AMANDA WINTERS
As the Sequim PC Users Group prepares for its first tech and media fair, members are taking a moment to recall the time, money and effort one of the founders put into establishing the group 18 years ago and using it to benefit the community.
Jim Williams, 94, of Sequim, is the “sole survivor” of the group that formed SPCUG in 1992, foreseeing a growing need in the community for computer-based skills.
Williams doesn’t describe himself as a computer man. Indeed, he spent most of his life telling people what to do as an engineer and owner of a heating company, he said.
As a Rotarian for 35 years, a member of the National Engineering Standards Committee for 20 years and a former president of the American Society of Engineers, he just knew how to get things done.
Computer skills needed
Williams sold his heating company in 1988 and moved to Sequim in 1990. He bought a computer but couldn’t use it. He didn’t know how, he said.
So he signed up for a computer class at Peninsula College and began his journey of not just learning, but also teaching computer skills.
In 1993, the principal of Sequim High School asked Williams to set up a computer program. The only problem was that the school had just one computer, Williams said.
“The only guy learning is the guy on the keyboard,” he said.
Let’s make a deal
Williams, with the help of John Junell, worked on getting components for the 24 computers needed to establish a program at the high school.
Williams approached the school board with an offer: If they covered half the cost of the computers, he would cover the other half. They agreed.
Students spent a couple of weeks assembling the computers, then began learning.
Williams taught the computer skills class for a year and 17 students learned how to use a program called Computer Assisted Design, which is an important tool for modern engineers.
“When they left, they had something they could get a job with,” he said.
Williams believed so strongly students should learn how to use CAD that when the school upgraded to new computers he donated $5,000 to buy the newest version of the software.
“It’s important for the students to learn,” he said.
Williams will be honored for his contributions to community computer learning by the SPCUG this weekend at its Tech and Media fair.
Note: Jim Williams passed away in Mesquite NV February 4, 2016 age 100 years old.
Reach Amanda Winters at email@example.com