Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber selects Citizen-Soldier Award recipient

The Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber announced Tuesday it has presented the 2013 Howard O. Scott Citizen-Soldier of the Year Award to Washington Army National Guard Staff Sergeant Stephen Ryan.

For the last six years,Ryan has volunteered numerous hours with Pierce County Friends and Athletes, one of the largest independent Special Olympics programs in the state. The organization provides spiritual, social, educational and athletic opportunities for developmentally disabled youth and adults in an inclusive environment where activities are designed to be share with loving, non-disabled friends. He has assisted with the bowling and track and field events in preparation for the Washington State Special Olympics.

Staff Sergeant Ryan is also the head usher at Lakewood New Hope Community Church, where he spent a year as a board member. He has been a leader in small group study as well as an active participant in the men’s ministry. Staff Sergeant Ryan and his wife, Cathy, assist members of their church with the care of a child with Down syndrome and a young man with multiple mental conditions. In October 2011, after Pierce County Shuttle suspended its handicap rides to Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Staff Sergeant Ryan stepped in and continues to give a ride to a wheelchair-bound employee of Waller Hall. Without Staff Sergeant Ryan’s help, the employee would not have a way to get to and from work.

Whether Staff Sergeant Ryan is serving as a loyal member of the Washington National Guard in uniform, or as an active, caring and giving member of the Pierce County community, Staff Sergeant Ryan’s compassion, commitment and community impact and beyond makes him deserving of the Citizen-Soldier of the Year Award.

According to Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber officials, Staff Sergeant Ryan is a valued non-commissioned officer who has served the Washington Army National Guard with distinction for more than 12 years. He is highly regarded in the maintenance community as one of the best practitioners of the Standard Army Maintenance System Enhanced. Staff Sergeant Ryan has performed flawlessly in any position he has held throughout his illustrious career. His off duty work with the 951st Maintenance Company’s Family Readiness Program is a tribute to his dedication to his unit and fellow Soldiers. He continues to volunteer and give his personal time to the men and women of the 951st as a leader and mentor of our citizen Soldiers.

“America’s Credit Union was excited to present this year’s citizen-soldier award,” said Amy Tiemeyer, Military Relations Liaison at America’s Credit Union, which sponsored the award. “America’s Credit Union has supported our area soldiers and their families since 1954, so it goes without saying that we would jump at the chance to honor such an exemplary citizen soldier.”

Each year, the Citizen-Soldier Award memorializes Howard Scott who grew up in Tacoma and served the nation when called upon during World War II. He returned to succeed as a banker in Tacoma, giving of his time to community service organizations, believing and enjoying this in his belief that doing so is one’s responsibility.

Amy Tiemeyer (left), Military Relations Liaison at America's Credit Union presented this year's Howard O. Scott Citizen-Soldier of the Year Award to Cathy Ryan on behalf of her husband, Washington Army National Guard Staff Sergeant Stephen Ryan, who was on temporary duty assignment. (PHOTO COURTESY TACOMA-PIERCE COUNTY CHAMBER)

For earlier Tacoma Daily Index coverage of the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber’s annual Citizen-Soldier Awards, click on the following links: