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Hydro races for community service
Racing couple uses boat and cleaning service to help others
By Ben Cape Staff Writer
Snoqualmie Valley Reporter
SNOQUALMIE - Mark and Elaine Evans have demonstrated that the fastest thing on the water may also be the most helpful. As driver of the American Maid U-4 hydroplane racing boat, Mark has won numerous state and national racing tides. Born into a family of boat racers and racing since the age of 12, Mark has become one of the best and most loved drivers in tie sport. His American Maid boat is one of tie first boats to have room for four people, so the driver can bring along people interested -in seeing what it is really like to travel on the water at speeds reserved for the daring.
"He loves his fans," said wife Elaine Evans. "He'll stick around as long as it takes for pictures and autographs." The namesake for Mark's boat comes from its primary sponsor and biggest fan, Elaine, who is also owner of American Maid cleaning service. Elaine transported her housecleaning service from Florida to Washington and the business has grown to 65 employees.
Along with the American Maid decals that grace Mark's boat is a decal for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. Elaine became interested in helping out the organization and has started to donate housecleaning services to women battling the disease. "One of the best things you can do for a woman is clean her house," Elaine said. "I even have cleaners as sole proprietorships who are single mothers and donate their own time."
Elaine's heart for philanthropy rubbed off on her son, Paul Gordon, a 2000 graduate of Mount Si High School who was named one of Teen People magazine's top teens for his work raising $240,000 for an organ transplant patient and for producing a video about school violence. His Paul Gordon Fund;' which raises money for children who need organ transplants, is - another organization the American Maid sponsors. "I grew up with nothing so I appreciate everything," Elaine said. "Contributing to your community is something you have to do in my family. It's not an option."
It was Paul's heart for the disadvantaged that helped introduce Elaine and Mark. When Paul was still in high school, he and Elaine went to a race and asked Mark to place a picture of a sick boy in Mark's boat. Mark obliged and won the race. Elaine and Mark eventually married. "I just about fell over [when we met]," Mark said.
The couple also hopes their boat can help people in other ways. They were present at the Mount Si High School Career Fair earlier this month where they talked about the different skills `needed for racing boats, from the technical skills needed to engineer the boat, to the art skills of air brushing a helmet.
"We want to help them get excited about something," Mark said. "We want them to ask themselves, 'Where will I go in the future?" For the couple, helping out their neighbor is as much a priority as winning races. "You always have to turn around and give back to the community," Elaine said.
• For information on the American Maid, visit www.u4hydro.com.