City of Destiny Awards honors volunteers May 24

At the 19th annual City of Destiny Awards on April 27, Mayor Bill Baarsma and the Tacoma City Council will honor five individuals and four groups for their boundless generosity and community service. The ceremony, open to the public, will take place May 24 at 7 p.m. at the Jason Lee Middle School Auditorium, 602 N. Sprague Ave.

City Council members will present the awards. An appointed 15-member Citizens Recognition Committee chose the winners from 45 nominations. This year’s City of Destiny honorees are:

– Tony Anderson (Adult Leadership) – Anderson is a community all-star and dedicated volunteer. As president of the Tacoma Athletic Commission, Tony has worked on a number of events that have not only brought world-wide recognition to Tacoma, but have also provided a positive start for local athletes, many of whom have moved on to professional careers. Some of the events he has worked on include: the Golden Gloves Boxing Tournament, Athlete of the Month Luncheon and the Athlete of the Year Banquet. Anderson is also the Chairman of the Tacoma Sister City Cultural Baseball Exchange, which has facilitated 17 exchanges thus far between Tacoma and Kitakyushu, Japan – giving young men the opportunity to experience different cultures and grow their knowledge. Additionally, Anderson serves as Chairperson on the Tacoma Sister City Committee. The sister city committee’s activities are as diverse as its members, which include: the Children’s Peace Festival, Performing Arts Festivals, the Youth Leadership Institute and the International Film and Food Festival. To top it off, Anderson is also Chairman of the Bob Maguinez Memorial Committee for Metro Parks Tacoma, where he has helped raise $246,000 to remodel the Heidelburg Sports Complex and $34,000 for a Bob Maguinez Scholarship.

– Monique LeTourneau (Youth Leadership) – Monique LeTourneau, a senior at Henry Foss High School, is head of her class in volunteerism and leading the way with community projects. For the past four years, LeTourneau has been the principle organizer of the Youth Day Caring event which gathers more than 500 high school students to promote community service. LeTourneau has also organized events for her church, spends hours a month teaching junior high students and participates in a youth summer mission and hunger retreat to raise awareness and money for community service. This year, she was selected to be the United Way Board of Directors Youth Representative and is the originator of the Key Tag program, which provides crisis hotline numbers for teens. To fund the Key Tag program, this ambitious teen coordinated two concerts, raising enough money for 4,000 key tags – the balance of the proceeds was donated to Habitat for Humanity.

– Sally & Willy Carson (Adult Sustained Service) – Think of Sally and Willy Carson as the angels among us. In 1988, this dynamic duo began to devote their lives to hungry and needy people within our community. Over the years, the Carsons’ garage has transformed into a full-service goodwill, with a hug thrown in at no additional charge. They give out food, clothes, household items, furniture and encouraging words to those who seek help 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. During the holidays, the Carsons spread the holiday cheer by providing food baskets and presents to those in need. They also help maintain a food bank at the Campfire Boys & Girls Club. Last year, the Carsons helped 13 homeless teens celebrate their graduation from high school with donations of money, gifts and clothing – this year their goal is to help 20 homeless teens. With 20 years of giving under their belts, the Carsons are proof that a little help can make a big difference.

– Christine Mayorga (Youth Service) – Christine Mayorga, is a ‘model’ citizen and natural born leader. This Nordstrom Teen Fashion Board member is also a bilingual senior at Belleramine Prepatory School who has overcome adversity and a learning disability, all of which has inspired her to start serving her community. Mayorga has volunteered more than 320 hours working with high-risk youth trying to instill a sense of purpose and self -esteem. Her community involvement includes volunteering at the Three Cedars AIDS Hospice, the Whittier School ECAP Program, the AIDS and Hunger Walk, Adopt a Family and the Nativity House. Her leadership and drive has inspired others in her peer group to take action and get involved with World AIDS Awareness Day. Additionally, Mayorga serves on the Tacoma 2 Community Accountability Board with the Pierce County Juvenile Court.

– Daryl & The Diptones (Community Group) – These oldies are goodies. After 20 years of making music, this group of musical friends has raised more than $2 million dollars for local charities. They got their start in the spring of 1984 at a school fundraiser and have been making music ever since. In 2004 alone, the band played at Patron of South Sound Culture, the AHEPA Greek Crab Feed, the American Parkinson Disease Association, YMCA Pilkey Endowment & Hilltop Health Ministries, the Metro Park Gala for people with disabilities and more. This band has a big heart and a lot of soul.

– Tacoma Processing & Distribution Center, Community Outreach (Employee Group) – In three years time, The Tacoma P & D C, Community Outreach Committee has given the gift of compassion and time to projects and agencies throughout Tacoma. This dedicated group has delivered gifts to 576 families who need assistance and to 573 seniors who live alone or have little to no family visitation. During the Christmas holiday last year, the committee assisted 21 families, 72 children and 34 appreciative seniors. The committee members also help out the Washington Special Olympics and the YWCA, they conduct food drives for local food banks, as well as assist Metro Parks with the Chip-In program. The outreach committee has a strong community presence and serves Tacoma well with their sincere efforts.

– University of Puget Sound Food Salvage (Young Adult Group) – The food salvage program, initiated six years ago by UPS students, wants to put an end to hunger and wastefulness in our community. Twenty loyal students are the heart of this program and together they are attempting to conquer hunger by working cooperatively with and delivering food to the Guadalupe House, the YWCA, and the Tacoma Rescue Mission New Life Square. Initially the Food Salvage volunteers focused their efforts on the ‘Keep Them Warm and Fed,” a program under the umbrella of the Catholic Community Services that serves dinner to the homeless. Since then, they have packed more than 11,000 pounds of food. Over time their roles have expanded into helping the annual Hunger Walk, providing service at the Hospitality Kitchen and working with the North End Neighborhood Council to coordinate a blanket and coat drive.

– Simpson Tacoma Kraft Company, Community Care Team (Corporate) – This team of devoted employees has made a lasting impact in many community programs throughout Tacoma. A few of the programs the Simpson’s Community Care Team worked with include: Network Tacoma, Faith Homes Shared Housing Services, Emergency Food Network, The YWCA Women’s Shelter, My Sister’s Pantry and the Helping Hand House. The team’s philosophy is to give thanks often for all that we have received and to give to others who are less fortunate. This past year the Simpson’s Community Care Team actions spoke louder than words – their volunteers worked many hours renovating several homes by taking on tasks such as painting and building shelves to repairing a garage. Simpson Tacoma Kraft Company, Community Care Team is a trendsetter within the corporate world and they are being sought after to share and spread their best practices.

City of Destiny Award winners will receive a glass sculpture crafted by students in the Hilltop Artists in Residence Program. A reception will follow the ceremony in the school cafeteria.

TV Tacoma, the City’s municipal television station, will record the event to show as a special presentation from June 1 to June 15. The programming times can be found at: http://www.cityoftacoma.org/DestinyAwards. Cable viewers will find TV Tacoma on channel 12 (within the Tacoma city limits) and channel 21 (Pierce County).