There are three words that Puyallup School District human resources director Ailene Baxter would use to describe Annie Boulet: selfless, inclusive and transformative.
“Who she was, how she interacted with people — she was truly a once-in-a-lifetime kind of person,” Baxter said.
Boulet was a longtime counselor and teacher in the Puyallup School District. On Dec. 9, 2009, at the age of 42, she passed away from a cerebral aneurysm that ruptured, causing bleeding in the brain.
“At the time that happened, she was out jogging,” Baxter said. “She’d set a goal — (to) jog between telephone poles.”
The aneurysm was unexpected and landed Boulet in the hospital, where she died shortly after. Boulet’s death hit her co-workers at the Puyallup School District hard.
Here we are nine years later and still feeling it.
Ailene Baxter, human resources director at Puyallup School District
“Here we are nine years later and still feeling it,” Baxter said.
But while the feelings remain, so does an event that celebrates Boulet’s life — the annual Annie B. 2-Miler, an untimed two-mile walk or run that raises money for InvestEd, a charitable nonprofit designed to assist students in need and help them gain full access to education. Last year, the event raised more than $4,700.
The fundraiser was started by colleagues of Boulet’s and the Kiwanis Club of Daffodil Valley in the spring of 2010. Before her death, Boulet was working at Ferrucci Junior High School as a counselor. Previously, she’d worked at Emerald Ridge High School and had grown up in the district, attending Maplewood Elementary, Aylen Junior High and Puyallup High School.
“We started talking about how to remember Annie,” said Stan Silvernail, president of Kiwanis Club of Daffodil Valley. “She was into exercise and diet. We said, ‘Let’s have a walk and have it be for a cause that Annie cared about.’”
We started talking about how to remember Annie. She was into exercise and diet. We said, let’s have a walk and have it be for a cause that Annie cared about.
Stan Silvernail, president of Kiwanis Club of Daffodil Valley
Silvernail, now retired, was a counselor in the district and had known Boulet when she was student. He’s been a Kiwanis member since 2002.
“We already had a relationship with Ferrucci,” Silvernail said. “We worked with their Builders Club ... It was natural.”
As a counselor, Boulet often worked with struggling students, and knew about InvestEd.
“She saw it work here, and it was important to Annie because she wanted every student to be successful,” Silvernail said.
“Her kindness and her gentle spirit often gave voice for students who were quiet,” added Baxter.
Baxter was the principal of Ferrucci Junior High for six years and remembered Boulet helping students whenever she could. Sometimes, she would partner with a student during gym class and complete a circuit with them.
Imagine the power to an insecure junior high student — Annie right next them, exercising and being the best person she could be.
“Imagine the power to an insecure junior high student — Annie right next to them, exercising and being the best person she could be,” Baxter said.
The tradition of celebrating Boulet’s life continues with the eighth annual Annie B. 2-Miler, scheduled for 3 p.m. May 17 at Sparks Stadium, 601 7th Ave. SW.
“She truly had a wide reach in terms of the number of kids and families that she interacted with,” Baxter said. “It’s a void that won’t ever be filled.”