Pierce County honors its volunteers

Longtime 4-H leader Cathy Swenson was honored as the Volunteer of the Year during the 34th annual Pierce County Volunteer Recognition Brunch on Saturday, which was held at the Landmark Convention Center and drew approximately 500 guests. Swenson has volunteered with 4-H for nearly 50 years. She has led the clothing project for more than 43 years, teaching high-risk youth about clothing construction. Swenson also has been an active Pierce County Fair Board Member for more than 14 years and has been involved with the 4-H Washington State Fashion Revue for 22 years.

Other honorees include Elizabeth Cable, who was awarded the Special Achievement Award for her service with the Sheriff’s Department since 1993. Cable has volunteered with the Sheriff Department’s Warrant Unit the past five years and most recently volunteered with the Sex Offender Reporting Unit; Doreen Barry, who received the Longevity Award for 33 years of service with 4-H. Barry, mainly working with youth involved with the dog and horse programs, has mentored youth who now have kids and even grandchildren participating in local 4-H programs; Christianna Friend, who was awarded the Young Adult of the Year Award. Friend has volunteered countless hours as a Youth Leader in the Washington State University Pierce County Extension 4-H Youth Development. She represents Pierce Count on county, regional, and statewide committees.

Other volunteers were recognized for their work with Juvenile Court, Superior Court, Community Connections and Parks and Recreation.

“The 137 volunteers honored this weekend have devoted 40,000 hours this year alone. Eight of our honorees have given 20 to 45 years of service,” said Lin Spellman, who manages the event for Pierce County. “This is what makes our county great — the expertise, compassion and caring that these volunteers bring to their job sites every day.”

“This is one of my favorite events of the year because this is what community-building is all about,” said Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy, a co-host of Saturday’s ceremony. “The strongest communities are the ones whose members contribute time and effort to programs and services that serve vulnerable populations, or just make our neighborhoods better.”

“We are honoring people who care deeply about giving back to their community,” said County Council Chair Joyce McDonald (District 2) the event’s other co-host. “This brunch is a way to express our heartfelt appreciation for their contributions to Pierce County.”

To show their appreciation, the County Council and County Executive co-sponsored Resolution 2012-16 proclaiming the week of March 12 as “Volunteer Recognition Week” in Pierce County.

For more information, visit http://www.co.pierce.wa.us/PC/services/volunteer/home.htm .