2004 City of Destiny Awards honor seven

What do a longshoreman, a seventh-grader and an avid blood donor have in common? They are all giving their time and energy to make Tacoma a better place to live.

At the 18th annual City of Destiny Awards on April 27, Mayor Bill Baarsma and the Tacoma City Council will honor four individuals and three groups for their boundless generosity and community service. The ceremony, open to the public, will take place at 7 p.m. at 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 58 nominations. This year’s City of Destiny honorees are:

– Ginny Eberhardt (Adult Leadership). Eberhardt is a community activist and dedicated volunteer. As the chair of the Community and Cultural Arts Advisory Council of Metro Parks Tacoma, she’s greatly appreciated for the professional way she’s spearheaded numerous events. She’s the volunteer coordinator of Empty Bowls, an event benefiting the Emergency Food Network of Pierce County and also an art fund that allows low-income families to participate in cultural activities. Eberhardt serves as the volunteer coordinator of the Family Holiday Celebration at the Manitou Community and Art Center and at the Taste of Tacoma’s Art a la Carte. As chairperson of the West End Neighborhood Council, Eberhardt is best known as the tireless champion of Tacoma’s West End. She also serves as chair of the Community Councils of Tacoma and has served on the city’s Human Rights Commission. Eberhardt was recently selected for the Citizens Advisory Panel for the Washington State Association of Sheriffs, Police and Citizens. Eberhardt is also a sacristan Eucharist minister at St. Charles Borromeo Church.

– Myranda Morris (Youth Leadership). Myranda Morris, a seventh-grader at Jason Lee Middle School has logged more volunteer hours than most people do in a lifetime. From a rhododendron planting event to the Festival of Trees, Morris has sowed volunteerism in every facet of her life. She spearheaded a beautification project at Jason Lee Middle School, gathering 35 volunteers who planted 50 rhododendrons donated by the American Rhododendron Society.

Morris participates each year in the Hilltop Action Coalition Neighborhood Cleanup, benefiting more than 1,300 households. Morris also helps kids create craft projects at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, First Lutheran Church and the African American Museum.

– Rick Olson (Adult Sustained Service). Rick Olson donates his heart and soul to Tacoma – and even his blood. Olson’s given more than 25 gallons of blood over the past 35 years. Olson’s favorite hobby is volunteering and his list is impressive. From bookkeeping to computing, from serving on boards to pounding on them; Olson has volunteered for Rotary clubs, Mary Bridge Hospital, the Point Defiance Zoological Society, the American Heart Association, the American Red Cross, the Tacoma Symphony Orchestra, Faith Homes, Shared Housing Services, First Lutheran Church’s Youth Ministry, FISH Food Banks, the Children’s Museum and the Emergency Food Network-Olson just about does it all.

– Geoffrey Liu (Youth Service). Geoffrey Liu, a member of the varsity tennis team at Foss High School, knows how to serve both on and off the court. A Foss senior with a grade-point average of 3.893, Liu plays in the Foss symphonic, marching and jazz bands. Liu volunteers his time with the Foss Associated Student Body and as a peer mentor and tutor for fellow students. For the past two years he has volunteered as part of the stage crew for school musical productions. He participates in the Read Across America program that helps elementary students understand the joys of reading. Liu co-founded the Asian Student Association at Foss, which has raised money to support impoverished families while increasing awareness of Tacoma’s Asian community.

– New Phoebe House Association (Neighborhood or Community Group). The saying “out with the old, in”with the new” is a recurring theme for the New Phoebe House Association – helping women leave their old lives behind and encouraging them to pursue a new drug- and/or crime-free life. The association left its old life behind in July 2002 when it closed its doors because of debt. One month later, a group of committed individuals met regularly, sought support from the community and worked hard to secure funding to re-open the doors on Christmas Eve 2002. A year later, the association has served more than 44 women, providing food, shelter and the tools necessary to help them stay off the streets.

– International Longshore & Warehouse Union – Local #23 (Union Group). The International Longshore & Warehouse Union Local #23 (ILWU) gives generously to Tacoma all year round. Each year at Maritime Fest, union members volunteer to provide choreographed and narrated container-handling displays and for the first time last year, the group sponsored the Kids Fishing Tank. Veterans love to fish, too. The ILWU takes Veterans Administration Hospital patients fishing on American Lake, helping them reel in a big catch. For 20 years union volunteers have donated to the Hospitality Kitchen at St. Leo’s Church, serving and preparing food the fourth Saturday of each month. And, for nearly 14 years, the ILWU has made seasons bright for hundreds of local families. In 2003, about 300 children received $200 worth of gifts. Sixty low-income families received $200 gift certificates and 10 military families received $100 gift certificates to Fred Meyer.

– Mt. Tahoma High School JROTC Thunderbird Battalion (Youth Group). The 160 cadets of the Mt. Tahoma High School JROTC Thunderbird Battalion serve the community in countless ways. They reach out to the residents at Manor Care Nursing Home, helping with everything from craft projects to barbecues. The group works with second- through fourth-graders at Fern Hill Elementary to increase the youngsters reading ability. During the Pierce County AIDS Walk fund-raiser, 24 of the cadets helped setup and teardown the event along with other critical services. And, they ended last year with a Christmas food drive, providing 15 low-income families with four to five boxes of food.

City of Destiny Award winners will receive a glass sculpture crafted by students in the Hilltop Artists in Residence Program. The Coats, an award-winning a cappella group, will provide the ceremony entertainment. 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 May 1 to May 9 at the following times: May 1 – 8 a.m. & 5 p.m., May 2 – 1 a.m., 3 & 8 p.m., May 3 – 4 a.m., 2 & 8 p.m., May 4 – 4 a.m., Noon & 11 p.m., May 5 – 9 a.m. & 8 p.m., May 6 – 1 p.m. & 9 p.m., May 7 – 4 & 10 a.m., 2 & 10 p.m., May 8 – 8 a.m. & 5 p.m., May 9 – 1 a.m., 3 & 8 p.m. Cable viewers will find TV Tacoma on channel 12 (within the Tacoma City limits) and channel 21 (Pierce County).