Pierce County honors 150 volunteers

Ken Butler, a longtime volunteer for the Sheriff’s Department, will be honored as Volunteer of the Year during the 33rd annual Pierce County Volunteer Recognition Brunch on Sat., March 19. Butler has served for more than 20 years in a leadership role with the Sheriff’s Posse, whose members ride horses and represent the Sheriff’s Department in parades, rodeos and other community events. Butler is among 150 people who will be recognized for outstanding service to the community as volunteers on behalf of Pierce County government.

“This is one of my favorite events each year because it gives recognition to people who devote an amazing amount of time to making our communities better,” said Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy, a co-host of the ceremony.

“It is a great honor to participate in this ceremony and meet so many wonderful people,” said County Councilmember Joyce McDonald (District 2), the other co-host. “This is an excellent way to highlight their valuable contributions to Pierce County.”

Other honorees include:

— Robert Baltzell, Alison Lilley and Irene Reed, who will receive Special Achievement Awards. Baltzell has contributed approximately 2,500 hours on six Pierce County commissions, boards and task forces for nearly 24 years. Lilley and Reed are influential in a variety of WSU Master Gardener programs;

— Leo Randolph and Pat Wells, who will receive Longevity Awards. Randolph, a 1976 Olympic Gold Medalist in boxing, has dedicated more than 32 years as a mentor to the youth in detention at Remann Hall. Wells has volunteered more than 20,000 hours of service to 4-H;

— Hilltop Gardening Group, Search and Rescue 4×4 Unit and the County-City Building Information Desk group will be recognized as Outstanding Volunteer Groups.

Other volunteers will be recognized for work with Juvenile Court, Superior Court, Community Connections, and Parks and Recreation, among others.

In recognition of the hard work done by volunteers, the County Council and Executive adopted a resolution proclaming the week of March 14-20 as “Volunteer Recognition Week.” The proclamation was presented to the top honorees on Tues., March 15, during the County Council’s regular meeting. The recognition ceremony is managed by Lin Spellman, volunteer services manager in Juvenile Court.

“The 150 individuals being honored have unselfishly given a total of 725 years of volunteer service to Pierce County over the years,” Spellman said. “And they only represent a fraction of the 4,000 people who dedicated their personal time on behalf of Pierce County programs and services last year. That level of service is phenomenal.”

More than 500 people are expected to attend the recognition ceremony, which will be held at the Landmark Convention Center in Tacoma. The event is not open to the public because there is only enough room for the volunteers and their guests.

The full list of volunteers recognized this year, as well as more information about volunteer opportunities with Pierce County programs, is available online at http://www.co.pierce.wa.us/PC/services/volunteer/home.htm or at http://www.co.pierce.wa.us/xml/abtus/ourorg/exec/volunteer/2011volunteer.pdf .