Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland and the City Council will recognize Tacoma’s top volunteers — six individuals and four groups — during the 24th annual City of Destiny Awards at 7 p.m. on Tues., May 11. This event, which is free and open to anyone who is interested in learning more about the volunteer experience, will be held at the Stadium High School Auditorium, 111 N. E St.
This year’s City of Destiny Award recipients are:
I. Youth / Jamie Colson — Jamie Colson, a senior at Stadium High School, is an achiever. Like many achievers her age, she’s evaluating her options and trying to map out how life will look after high school. With several university acceptance letters and scholarship incentives already in her back pocket, she hasn’t made any snap decisions. What really distinguishes Jamie from other achievers, however, are the types of activities she chooses to spend her time on — such as fundraising with her school’s Sparrow Club, helping bag groceries for My Sister’s Pantry, and volunteering at the Tacoma Humane Society and other organizations.
II. Youth Leadership / Bethany Rogers — When asked what she wanted to do when she was older, Bethany Rogers — a 16-year-old Wilson High School junior — did not skip a beat. She plans to be a doctor. She would love to be a pediatrician or a neonatologist, which is a subspecialty of pediatrics that consists of the medical care of newborn infants. When asked why, she says that it is because she is generally interested in children . . . in their unique needs and in their unusual ability to maintain their grip on things, even under extreme duress.
III. Youth Sustained Service / Brandon Hawn and Zachary Hawn — Although the Youth Sustained Service Award is typically given to a single individual, certain considerations were made when we received a nomination for Brandon and Zachary Hawn. These 17-year-old brothers have a lot more in common than the genetic imprint that makes them identical twins. They’re both deeply interested in the natural world, have a desire to give back to their community and share evenly matched levels of determination to make it all work while balancing a Herculean academic curriculum. And, together, they’ve put in over 1,400 hours of volunteer service over the past four years.
IV. Adult Leadership / Andrea Smith — Andrea Smith has always lived in Tacoma, and she feels that quality parks are hugely important to our citizens’ quality of life. The daughter of a University of Puget Sound professor and a Tacoma school teacher, Andrea feels that Tacoma is very fortunate to have its own dedicated parks district and has worked quietly over the years as a volunteer with the Greater Metro Parks Foundation to help Metro Parks sustain its more than 80 parks, facilities and open spaces, special events, programs and services.
V. Adult Sustained Service / Karl Anderson — Much of the work that Karl Anderson has done has been under the radar. He actually prefers it that way. But Paul Miller and many, many other esteemed members of our community mobilized to shine tonight’s spotlight on this man who has served Tacoma for well over 25 years and contributed to the efforts of well over 50 local area organizations. Nomination, after nomination, after nomination, was received this year by members of the City of Destiny Awards’ Citizens Recognition Committee all voicing the same thing — that Karl Anderson has provided a level of service to Tacoma that is so extensive, and virtually unparalleled, that the entire community really ought to get to know him better.
VI. Neighborhood Group or Community Partnership / Bikes for Kids — Before retired policeman Harold Neufang passed away at the age of 94 back in 2000, he spent his time repairing donated bicycles and giving them to needy children. After he passed away, and his one-man production line ceased, a small group of men and women from the Marine View Presbyterian Church in Northeast Tacoma picked up his torch. With only a simple desire to sustain the magic that he had begun when he was alive, and zero technical knowledge of bike repair . . . Don Cowan, Bill Peterson and their determined crew of friends got right to work and learned what they could about gears, spokes and bearings.
VII. Corporation or Business / Bridges: A Center for Grieving Children — One of Tacoma’s greatest strengths is its safety net of resources for those in need. When families in Tacoma are impacted by overwhelming tragedy, they don’t have to stumble through it alone. The community volunteers at “BRIDGES: A Center for Grieving Children” are trained in adult and family grief dynamics. And, since 1988, they’ve been providing a safe, supportive haven that makes healing a little bit easier.
VIII. Union Group / Teamsters Local 117 — Teamsters Local 117 was first chartered by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters in 1936. It has grown to be the largest Teamsters local union in the region today – representing around 16,000 men and women in just about every profession imaginable at more than 200 employers throughout the Seattle – Puget Sound region.
IX. Environmental Sustainability / Puget Creek Restoration Society — What does it mean to be environmentally conscious? For some, it means recycling empty soda cans, eating locally or finding alternative ways to commute to and from work. The volunteers at the Puget Creek Restoration Society have taken it several steps further and banded together to protect Puget Park, which spans approximately 66 acres and reaches from Ruston Way to the Proctor neighborhood. Its waterway flows to Commencement Bay and Puget Sound, and is one of only three creeks in Tacoma repopulating the Northwest’s salmon count. Below the tall trees at Puget Park, volunteers at the Puget Creek Restoration Society can often be found teaching local residents and visitors about the importance of conserving Tacoma’s streams, wetlands and green spaces.
Each award winner will receive a colorful glass sculpture crafted by students in the Hilltop Artists in Residence Program.
The annual City of Destiny Awards event is also covered by TV Tacoma and broadcast on both the Click! Cable TV and Comcast Cable systems. On Click!, TV Tacoma can be seen on Channel 12 within Tacoma City limits and in Pierce County, with the exception of University Place, where TV Tacoma can be found on Channel 21. On Comcast, TV Tacoma can be seen on Channel 12 within Tacoma City limits and on Channel 21 in Pierce County. TV Tacoma is not on the Comcast system in University Place, but is accessible anywhere via the Internet.
The City of Destiny Awards ceremony is supported by local businesses and organizations, including Click! Cable TV and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 23, the event’s largest sponsors.
Since 1987, the City of Tacoma has honored over 200 outstanding volunteers through its City of Destiny Awards program. The Citizens Recognition Committee of individuals appointed by the City Council selects the winners. Nominees must have volunteered time and energy, not money; volunteered without financial compensation for their work; volunteered within Tacoma’s city limits; volunteered within the past 12 months in projects described for Leadership and Group categories.
For more information, visit http://www.cityoftacoma.org/DestinyAwards .