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2022 Neighbor Day Recognition

Over the past two years, we have witnessed the true meaning of community and seen people across the city step up to support one another with compassion and kindness. To recognize these acts of kindness as part of our annual Neighbor Day celebration, we asked community members to submit nominations for people, businesses, and organizations who they feel went above and beyond to help support their friends and neighbors.

Below is what we heard from community, in their own words:

Barbara, Bitter Lake. “Barbara moved to our neighborhood a little over a year ago to help her friend who has medical needs. She quickly realized that there was a group of people who had established their housing in Bitter Lake park and talked with the organization that was supporting our unhoused neighbors to find transitional and permanent housing and offered to help. From then on, Barbara spent hours every day for many, many days talking with the Department of Social and Health Services and other agencies securing housing and covering other basic needs. She walked, biked, or bused with these neighbors to get or replace ID cards, cash checks, go to doctor’s appointments, or run any other errands. She also spent many days and nights at the camp, problem-solving, distributing food, cleaning up, navigating conflicts, and simply being a good neighbor — no judgment, no questions asked. She has many stories to tell because she’s built lasting relationships with many of our NOW mostly housed neighbors. She’s bought specially decorated cakes for birthday parties and raised money for funeral expenses for one of the people who moved to the tiny house village –and sat with their partner through the funeral. When her own bike was stolen by one of the people living at the park, she talked with the community established there, recouped her bike, and then reminded the person who stole it in a jokingly, kind way that it was her bike. Barbara also took care of our dog, Luca, for free when we traveled to Colombia to dad’s funeral who died of COVID, and during that week she even taught Luca how to shake.”

Nominated by: Victoria Garcia, neighbor

Dustann Jones, West Seattle. “Dustann is the volunteer Facilities Chair at Community School of West Seattle (CSWS), a play-based preschool for 3 to 5-year-olds. Not only has he headed up improvement projects to make CSWS a more COVID cautious space, but he also reliably shows up when unexpected building needs arise. His commitment to the facilities at Community School has created an environment where consistent early childhood education can be provided to students and families. When flooding happened in the school only hours before we were scheduled to host a COVID vaccine clinic, Dustann was there to address the issue and ensure there were no interruptions to the event. During our second vaccine clinic, Dustann brought his whole family out to remove snow from the parking lot so that attendees would have safe access to the building. Thank you, Dustann for all that you do for Community School of West Seattle!!”

Nominated by: Whitney Young, co-board member

Howard McOmber Sr, Renton. “Howard has volunteered to feed the homeless for at least 20 years in Renton with REACH. He has volunteered to help families even when my mom [his wife] passed from cancer 10 years ago and when his grandson passed from drug poisoning in August 2021. Throughout COVID, Howard – who will be 80 this year – has been feeding the homeless, caring for families, and helping make shelters or day places for the homeless. Howard makes everyone feel important because everyone is important to him. He shows everyone how to help others and has been this way forever. Howard is cheerful and compassionate about helping the homeless and has always been a good neighbor and champion. Howard has always reached far above and far beyond to perform acts of kindness and support the people in the community.”

Nominated by: Shallae DeMers, daughter

Mary Cole, Queen Anne. “While walking our dog near our home one evening in the summer of 2021, my wife Mary saw an older woman struggle to walk up her stairs with her grocery bags. She asked if she could help bring the bags up to the door. The woman was happy to have the help, and they chatted a bit. Mary learned that our neighbor was 93 and recently fell down her steps, requiring multiple stitches in her head. She said she felt unsafe and wanted to move to a retirement home, but her adult son was living with her and she didn’t know who would care for him. Mary has a brother who was in the same situation four years prior, and she successfully found supported housing services for him. Mary went home and typed up a page with directions on how to get housing support, and brought it to our neighbor. We later learned that her son was approved right away. This was a giant weight off the shoulders of their entire family, and it all began thanks to helping a neighbor carry groceries up her stairs.”

Nominated by: Richard Cole, spouse

Koji Intelkofer, Ballard. “Koji has been instrumental in the P-Patch program, especially at Greg’s P-Patch in Ballard. He has guided many of us in learning about vegetable gardening and is there helping others with their plots. He is always available for us and advocates for the program with City officials.”

Nominated by: Valerie Gleeson, fellow community gardener

Lisa Clarno – The Kismet Co., Ballard. “Lisa owns a hair salon in Ballard. She has helped so many people in the community during COVID by doing outdoor haircuts and traveling to front porches to give the immune-compromised people the joy of getting a haircut. Lisa is always keeping the neighborhood clean by picking up other people’s trash and dogs’ poop. Lisa smiles and waves to everyone and never discriminates. She is very kind, always willing to help someone if they need it. As a small business owner, she keeps an eye out for other small businesses nearby and is heavily involved in the community. She has gone above and beyond to serve those around her and in her community!!”

Nominated by: Sally Clarno, daughter; Alexis, neighbor

Ruth Callard and Nancy Helm, Freeway Estates Community Orchard, Green Lake. “In 2010, Ruth and Nancy organized a small group of neighbors to clear a piece of land in their neighborhood adjacent to I-5 that had been overtaken with invasive plants. They planted the first fruit trees and began applying for grants and organizing volunteers to help turn the land into a public space. Now, people grow vegetables and fruit for local food banks and the community, and flowers for pollinators. Every year Ruth, Nancy, and other volunteers maintain the space and host free events that are open to all (Cider Fest, Spring Plant Sale, educational classes, summer program at McDonald School). The site originally had no water so they wrote grants to purchase and install giant cisterns. Volunteers continue to put in a lot of hours and hard work to keep Freeway Estates Community Orchard a welcoming space for all to enjoy. During the height of the pandemic, many people found it to be one of the few places they could go, including parents whose children no longer could attend school in person. Many of the plants and trees have been donated or grown by volunteers.”

Nominated by: Sue Hartman, volunteer

Jonathan Ragsdale and Janet Becerra, Pancita. “I am nominating Pancita, specifically the cooks, Jonathan and Janet, who we get to work with at YouthCare. We have about eight different programs accepting meal donations at this time, and Pancita has been donating to six of them! They have been donating twice a month and have worked hard to ensure that they donate good quality meals. Recently, we have had an uptick in Latin American clients coming into our programs. We quickly found that these clients were missing the cultural connection that food allows them to have. Suddenly, we were hit with back-to-back requests for good quality Latin food, but had no donors to fulfill them. Pancita appeared and has been donating to us ever since! Pancita and its workers have given our clients an opportunity to reconnect with food the that reminds them of home, and I couldn’t be more grateful. Jonathan and Janet are EXACTLY what our community needs and have stepped up to ensure our youth have quality meals made with love!!”

Nominated by: Alexis Silva, partner organization

Petra Erickson-Rogers, Cherry Hill. “Petra is a 9-year-old neighbor who has positively impacted our block since moving in, starting with enthusiastically agreeing to weekly outdoor bell ringing in honor of health care workers. She encouraged her family and other neighbors to participate. It was a small thing that helped all of us deal with the pandemic. Because of where we live, she became aware of the Black Lives Matter protests and the Capitol Hill Occupied Protest. Petra made a Black Lives Matter sign that still hangs on her front porch. She became aware of homelessness and poverty and put out a box with items that people in need could take. When she saw me picking up litter she wanted to join, and now, we pick up litter together on our block every month. Petra knows more of our neighbors than I do and she brightens everyone’s life.”

Nominated by: Mary Pat DiLeva, neighbor

Nicole DeKay, Greenwood. “In May of 2020, my neighbor Nicole DeKay started a ‘Random Acts of Kindness’ Garden, a place where neighbors could offer and take free plants and plant starts. In December of that year, she realized the need for food security in our neighborhood and turned that space into the Greenwood Interurban Trail Little Free Pantry. She built the covered structure, including shelving, and later installed a refrigerator/freezer! Neighbors both donated food and accepted food as needed. Nicole was also able to secure donations from farms that were offering their produce and started picking up weekly donations from the Phinney Ridge Lutheran Church Food Bank to share with neighbors at the pantry. Gifts of Hope also donated many non-food items. This place has brought a lot of heart and soul into our neighborhood. It has helped when people needed food, and also made opportunities for others to share what they have and spread kindness. I happened to come across the pantry one day when going on a walk. It blew me away! I had wanted to start something similar where I live, but it wasn’t possible as a renter. When I got home, I excitedly emailed Nicole and thanked her for starting something so wonderful. As time went on I became more involved and want to do whatever I can to support Nicole and the pantry. When people were dealing with worries about the pandemic, job losses, and food insecurity, Nicole created a positive space that brought people together.”

Nominated by: Naomi Mittet, neighbor

The Station Coffee House, Beacon Hill. “During the pandemic, and throughout this harsh winter, The Station made sure that our neighbors experiencing houselessness could get warm and get free coffee in their shop. They support pop-up shops and are a safe place for people of color, trans folks, and houseless folks. The Station not only welcomes everyone, but it has also been carefully and lovingly created as an accessible space for all to gather. People experiencing crisis or homelessness are always welcomed and respected and can leave fed and caffeinated if they choose. Their business goes beyond coffee – it’s the unofficial Beacon Hill community center, and it regularly supports local artists, artisans, vendors, creators, and events, with an emphasis on lifting up the work of people of color. Our neighborhood is endlessly lucky to have a business that treats everyone as their neighbor and their friend.”

Nominated by: Naomi Fonkelstein, patron and neighbor; Brittany Pratt, neighbor.

Sarah Leal, Roxhill. “Sarah is an amazing neighbor! She organizes and hosts National Night Out for our block every August. She is always willing to dog sit; helps her young son earn a little money by taking neighbors’ garbage bins to the curb each week (a service that is much appreciated); and hosts playdates and crafts for the neighborhood kids. My family and I feel so lucky to have a neighbor like Sarah.”

Nominated by: Destinee Sutton, neighbor

Margaret Pyfer, Highland Park. “Margaret goes above and beyond every single day. She keeps our neighborhood safe by informing us of crimes as well as the positive neighborhood news.”

Nominated by: Candace O’Neill, neighbor

Larry Beach, Bothell. “Canyon Firs development in Bothell comprises a variety of neighbors from us ‘oldies’ who have lived here for 35 years, to the happily welcomed young, new families. Most of all, there’s Larry Beach, the thoughtful neighbor who kept us all sane through the past Covid years. Larry hired food trucks to park in front of his home, from Pecos Bill to Macho Burger and beyond! The line of hungry neighbors snaked around the corner, standing the recommended six feet apart that Larry chalked on the sidewalk. We socially distance dined on each other’s lawn while enjoying a much-needed social hour…all because of Larry. Larry’s dear wife, Trudy, passed away last year. Neighbors gathered to support him. Despite such overwhelming sadness, Larry continued to provide Canyon Firs with Friday food trucks and a neighborhood social life that will continue for as long as we all live here.”

Nominated by: Suzanne Beyer, neighbor

Janette Adamucci, Leschi. “In the early days of the pandemic, Janette recognized the shared alley on our block as a shared space for gathering. Through stay-at-home orders and many fearful months (or actually, years!?), Janette recognized that being outdoors and at a safe distance was still permissible. As such, she began to gather all the neighbors who lived adjacent to the alley for a once-a-week happy hour, affectionately known as the “Back Alley Happy Hour,” or the BAHH. The BAHH recently celebrated its two-year anniversary, an unbroken streak of neighbors coming together once a week for an hour to have a drink and chat. While the neighbors on the alley certainly knew and recognized each other in passing, there was not a universal depth of knowledge between each neighbor. These gatherings allowed for new conversations and friendships that would not have so easily bloomed. As new neighbors have moved into the neighborhood, Janette continues to extend invitations to newcomers. Under Janette’s organization, our magical, special little block has come to form a real community in a moment when human connection was toughest and most needed.”

Nominated by: The Members of the “The Back Alley Happy Hour

Police Chief Diaz. “Chief Diaz is a solid leader and has a heart for the community. He has respect for his teams and we have confidence in his leadership. I can say, I feel like things have improved security-wise in my neighborhood in Rainier Valley.”

Nominated by: Abdi Isaak, Seattle Resident.

Roger Roffman, Laurelhurst Park. “Roger is a quiet ‘rock’ in our neighborhood. He has always been the one to reach out to each newcomer, cultivate relationships without being intrusive, celebrate community achievements, and commemorate those who have moved away. He maintains an online roster, now up to 56 individuals or households, which facilitates the distribution of information on emergency procedures, disaster preparedness, and other civic topics. With all of us busy going about our own lives, Roger provides a common thread that gives us that sense of community that we find so valuable. He epitomizes the “Above and Beyond” spirit of this initiative and we hope he will be acknowledged accordingly. “

“On a one-to-one basis, his regular dog walks along the block allow us all more chances to connect and be part of our community. Roger plays a huge role in keeping us connected and making sure we have every opportunity to foster the relationships that make our community so warm and inviting. He is a stellar example of the kindness we need to keep our neighborhoods healthy and thriving.”

Nominated by: Kathryn A Gardow, Kendra Azari, Otero and James Flowers, Dean Jordan, Sally Marks, Brian Wallace, Doug Peltonen, Jonathan Himschoot, David Bradlee, John Sterry, Jerry Tonkovich, Kristi Stoddard, Emily Hansen, Beryl Schulman, Mazen Kader, neighbors; Laura Calvimonte, former neighbor.

Stephanie Morales/The Liink Project, Central District. “The Liink Project is a cooperative retail space, art gallery, and event space but it is so much more than just a physical space. It is a concept about the power of connection. It’s about knowing that when you have the right people in the right room anything can happen and it does organically. And that we have everything that we need right here among us.

Stephanie is making big opportunities for artists of color and providing a platform for people to show their talents. She is dedicated to her community and needs some support to keep doing the amazing work she is doing.”

Nominated by: Kendra Azari, artist

Jim Hand, Westwood Heights. “Jim lives in the same building as my mom, where there are about 200 residents. Jim is always offering to help neighbors, by providing rides to the doctor; trips to/or picking up things from the grocery store; helping with small apartment related chores; helping keep the building/property clean and tidy; doing wellness checks if residents aren’t answering phone calls; and much, much more. He can often be found outside the building when the weather is nice, talking to tenants, sharing a laugh, or offering help as needed. He never asks for anything in return, and he never says no! If you need help he is the first one there! Jim always has a kind word for neighbors, and is truly the epitome of a fantastic neighbor – I wish we all had a neighbor like him!”

Nominated by: J. Rush, friend; Marilyn Rushmer, neighbor/friend

Betty Jean Williamson, Beacon Hill. “For the past ten years Betty Jean, with the support of a small loyal board and group of volunteers, has created and led Beacon Arts to benefit the Beacon Hill neighborhood. Its most recent success has been to generate support for Historic Seattle’s purchase of the Beacon Hill Garden House as a historic site that will be used for local organizations and events. Fifteen years ago Betty Jean was involved with Rockit Space, which segued into Beacon Arts helping to stage events, produce art fairs, music and poetry, and the harvest festival Pear-a-dise at the Garden House. A few years ago, the organization added Beacon Hill Meaningful Movies to its programs. She collaborates with other local groups such as the Beacon Hill Merchants Association, El Centro de la Raza, local businesses, Jefferson Park teen program, and Seattle Parks and Recreation to forge real liveliness and neighborliness. To build and maintain momentum and publicize all the above, she produces a quarterly newsletter and coordinates web-based updates on local events. Besides Betty Jean’s successes in the past and present, her vision and enthusiasm are vital for future success. By offering internships and leadership mentoring opportunities, she widens the world of community-based support for the arts. Betty Jean is wise, patient, and kind. Soft-spoken but resourceful and persistent, she knows how to get the job done.”

Nominated by: Jonis Davis, Christina Olson, Jay Hollingsworth, Maria Batayola, Estela Ortega, and Miguel Maestas, neighbors.

Cameron and Pete Moore, C&P Coffee, West Seattle. “C&P Coffee is nestled in West Seattle in a century-old Craftsman house. Nineteen years ago, Cameron and Pete Moore started a coffee house that blossomed into a beloved neighborhood gem that has become a beating heart of the community. Before the pandemic, it was a gathering place—where couples got married; children celebrated birthdays; families had memorial services; book clubs and interest groups exchanged ideas and viewpoints; musicians jammed; writers and artists shared their talents; and most importantly, people gathered to talk to each other face to face. Even during the dark days of the pandemic, the ebullient crew of C&P welcomed the West Seattle community by opening window service and inviting folks to find respite in the front and back yards among the garden plants and twinkling lights. The doors are now open and once again people are gathering, talents are showcased, and special causes are illuminated. C&P is deeply rooted in community support and engagement. They sponsor fundraisers (for the local foodbanks, Toys for Tots, Westside Baby,, feature community causes (the Whale Trail, PoetryBridge), and other local small businesses/organizations (ie Paper Boat Bookshop, Seattle Yarn). We are so lucky and fortunate to have such a wonderful gathering place in West Seattle where we can soak in the kindness and generosity of Cam and Pete and their crew. C&P Coffee is a special place!”

Nominated by: Junko Whitaker, customer, neighbor, artist.

Andrea Suarez, We Heart Seattle, Downtown. “We Heart Seattle is a volunteer-driven organization cleaning up abandoned homeless encampments all across the City while building meaningful relationships with some of our city’s homeless. Everyone is welcome to help in their humanitarian aid efforts. Founder, Andrea Suarez, started by cleaning up around her own neighborhood and her initial efforts turned into a non-profit organization with many enthusiastic volunteers and supporters. A result is that ordinary citizens have the ability to influence the health of their neighborhoods and advocate with City officials and departments to do what’s best for our city environment.”

Nominated by: Erika Irwin, follower; Kathleen Brose, supporter; Kerry Flener, mother; Jan Hickling, supporter; Louise Ekins, friend; Denice Chase, supporter; JT Hammond, volunteer; Katy Rice, volunteer; Angie Gerrald, volunteer; Linh-Co Nguyen; Stacy Watson, volunteer; Natalie Margolis, supporter; Sarah Meyerhans, volunteer; Kay Mesirow, supporter; Rebecca Laszlo, founding board member; Sara Intriligator, neighbor; Ruby Morales; Magda Indrova, volunteer; Jennifer Bruce, supporter; Jessica Haselby, volunteer; Goker Tuncol, resident; Dennis Thireault, volunteer; Bret Wirta, volunteer; Dana Hurley, volunteer; Christine Neal, follower; Peggy Keene, volunteer; Jolene Hartnett, resident;

Kelly Brown, North Helpline, Lake City. “I’m nominating Kelly Brown for the way she handled North Helpline’s work in the community. When the pandemic struck, everybody was scared. Many businesses shut down, and among those to were many Social Services like food pantries or foodbanks. Kelly chose not to shut down, but hired more staff and created teams of employees and volunteers to work two-week shifts at a time. After one team’s shift was over, the next team stepped up to stay open, run the food bank and serve our pandemic-struck communities. This plan proved extremely beneficial when an employee fell sick with COVID. Thanks to our new policies on cleaning and sanitation and our teams that were put in place, no breakout occurred and the agency was able to stay open. If any staff on a team felt ill, they were sent home, the location was scrubbed down thoroughly, and the next team came in and stepped up. Over the last two years, this plan proved extremely beneficial. North Helpline was able to stay open, which was extremely impactful on the caseload of Home Delivery Clients. Going from 25 homebound folks to 250! Business practices and ideas like that serve the community in ways no one sees. Because when everyone is forced to stay in or homebound because of health conditions, or a Pandemic, unable to work, suddenly many folks find they can’t afford to buy the groceries and are asking for help for the first time in their lives. North Helpline rose to the challenge. They met the neighbors outside and continued to bring alevel of excellence that serves these neighbors of greater North East Seattle with dignity and compassion, keeping food on the table and a roof overhead.”

Nominated by: Jenn Eaglespeaker, employee

Black man with gray hair and beard, smiling. He is wearing a dark suit jacket over a red t-shirt.

Charles Wright, Holly Park. “Charles holds this neighborhood together. From bringing food to new neighbors to fixing lawnmowers and cars. Whether he is chasing burglars or growing a huge garden and sharing produce with the neighbors, everyone knows Charles. At Halloween, he gives out full-sized candy bars, and in the summer kids come home with full boxes of healthy popsicles. He teaches about why he has beehives, how to grow food, and why it’s important to help the local food bank. Whenever there’s a break-in, he’s there to repair the door or window. He knows every neighbor no matter what language they speak. He’s been a fixture for 40 years and would love the opportunity to honor him! He’s a hero in my book.”

Nominated by: Eileen Gibbons, neighbor

Michelle McIntosh, Lake City. “Michelle embodies the philosophy of community wellness in both her personal and professional existence. Despite being a nurse manager in infection control through the height of the pandemic, she made time to establish a community pantry (and a community refrigerator) in her own front yard that is kept fully stocked year-round and is used constantly by others who live nearby. Despite having a young family herself, hers is the home in the neighborhood where others go when they find themselves in trouble—sometimes for their next meal, sometimes for literal shelter in a crisis. Michelle also advocates for cyclists and safety in north Seattle and beyond, serving as a sort of ‘bike matchmaker’ for those in her extensive network who want to minimize their car use but also have young families and/or limited funds. Where many of us wring our hands at the crises all around us, she enacts solutions one person at a time, and there is no one she won’t help. In short, Michelle wants what’s best for her neighbors, and will seemingly stop at nothing to ensure a better quality of life for us all.”

Nominated by: Molly Whittaker, friend

Doug Sohn, Ballard. “Doug has done so much as a principal at Adams Elementary School and a leader of our school community. He has kept parents, teachers, and students calm and safe through the pandemic: ensuring we have enough PPE, tests, and extra filtration. He coordinates the distribution of gift cards to families needing extra assistance or experiencing financial hardship. Doug kept us fed when everything was closed and supplies were hard to come by, and continues to distribute food to families every week. He knows every student’s name and face (over 400 kids) and makes sure they all have the resources they need to feel safe and welcome so they can continue to learn under challenging circumstances.”

Nominated by: Jennifer Vickers

Ray, Central District. “Ray is a one-man traffic circle maintenance man! He cleans up trash and weeds, maintains the tree, and teaches his little ones how to be good neighbors. He also maintains the street in front of his house, all with a smile. Ray and his wife always decorate for the holidays and you’ll often see them walking around the neighborhood.”

Nominated by: Whitney Rearick, neighbor

Karen Gardner, Lake City. “I have been home doing remote work for the past two years since we went into lockdown. Being home gave me the opportunity to meet my neighbors and really get to know them. Karen lives right next door and she has become one of my closest friends. There is a 10-year age difference between us, but we are more like sisters than friends. She and I started daily walking through our neighborhood. We share so many interests and quirks. She is a bright spot in what has been a very hard time. Karen stocked my refrigerator when my husband was recovering from surgery. She lent an ear and was always available to share a laugh or a shoulder to cry on. She is so intelligent and kind. Karen is a shining example of a good neighbor; always willing to run an errand, pick up groceries, and help out in any way she can. This is a simple story, but she was a lifeline during Covid difficulties. Karen is the best neighbor and has become my lifelong friend.”

Nominated by: Sandra Lowe, neighbor

Northeast Seattle Together, Wedgwood. “North East Seattle Together (NEST) is a virtual village that helps our neighbors age in place and remain safely in their homes and community with the help of our neighbors. NEST builds and strengthens our community by connecting older adults with each other and with resources to age successfully in the places they call home. They nurture community by forming and supporting activities like pickleball and Feldenkrais; interest groups for poetry, science, and photography; plus support groups and lecture series to engage the NE Seattle community. NEST also coordinates an intergenerational volunteer network to assist our aging neighbors in performing tasks that they are no longer able to do, such as climbing ladders to change light bulbs, light yard work, and assistance getting around town, just to name a few. In 2021, NEST went above and beyond by assisting members with scheduling their COVID-19 vaccinations and coordinating rides. These efforts resulted in 99% of NEST members getting vaccinated. NEST is an amazing example of neighbors helping neighbors.”

Nominated by: Nancy Connolly, former board member

Vashon Interfaith Council to Prevent Homelessness, Vashon Island. “They have gone above and beyond in helping to ease the suffering of people here on Vashon.”

Nominated by: Christopher Phillips, neighbor

Paula Mueller, Queen Anne. “My first real contact with Paula was through the City of Seattle’s Blockwatch program, with which I myself have served as a Blockwatch Captain for quite a few years. Each Blockwatch Captain was independent, but Paula felt that all Queen Anne Blockwatch Captains needed to be in communication with each other. Consequently, she organized the Blockwatch Captain’s Network for Queen Anne Hill. Because of safety issues associated with the Hillside Motel on Aurora Ave, Paula became active in working with the property owner to help manage the crime associated with the vacant motel. In addition, she ran for a Queen Anne Community Council position and was engaged in creating a newsletter and getting neighbors involved in the Council’s activities. Her impressive work with the Council resulted in her being elected Chair and working closely with several of the Council’s committees. Because of Paula, I am actively involved with the Queen Anne Community Council its various committees. Finally, Paula has worked on a number of efforts to clean up several city greenbelts on the east side of Queen Anne Hill.”

Nominated by: Amy Carlson, neighbor

Yolanda Hong, Magnuson. “Yolanda cooks and bakes pretty much every single day for local shelters and food banks! She volunteers for everything! I can’t think of anyone more deserving to be recognized for their efforts. I don’t even know the full scale of what she does because she just gets down to business and doesn’t flaunt her volunteerism.”

Nominated by: Rachael Rose, friend and neighbor

Victoria Shutts, Meadowbrook. “I am nominating Victoria because in the last year, she has set up the best food pantry in front of her house to support our neighbors who may need a little extra help. Now you think you’ve seen a food pantry but you haven’t seen one until you visit the Shutts Food pantry. What started off as a simple food pantry has expanded in the course of a year to an affair. She now serves hot and cold beverages, always making sure she has hot coffee for the early am visitors. You can get a warm meal during the cold months or ice cream when it’s 100 degrees out. There are toiletries, warm socks and gloves, and to-go bags for those who need to pack some to go. To top it all off, there is a tent so you don’t have to stand in the rain and a seat if you want to rest a moment and enjoy your meal there. Victoria works endlessly every morning and evening to keep it clean, stocked, and welcoming to all visitors. On top of this, she goes above and beyond for those needing help. She recently raised funds to keep a family from getting evicted from their home and helped an unhoused gentleman get the medical care and supplies he needed. Her pantry allows you to “shop’ with dignity because she treats everyone who stops by with nothing but respect.”

Nominated by: April Lee, neighbor.

Casa Latina, Central District. “When my husband, Kristian, died in 2019, the workers of Casa Latina were instrumental in helping me move into my new home on Queen Anne. This was the third time I had used their “Day Workers” services, throughout the years, in helping me move The workers were always very respectful, on time, and kind. I would hire them, again, in a heartbeat. 💜”

Nominated by: Dolores Maria Rossman, client

SouthEast Seattle Senior Center, Rainier Valley. “Being older means battling invisible barriers to being healthy, and too often, doing it alone. Many seniors struggle in our community to get enough nutrients to stay healthy. They can’t afford healthy food, lose their appetite or the motivation to eat from loneliness, aren’t mobile enough to get to local stores, or may be physically unable to cook. SouthEast Seattle Senior Center (SESSC) quickly pivoted its in-house Community Dining program and mobilized its volunteers to ensure our aging neighbors wouldn’t go hungry during the pandemic by hand-delivering more than 400 nutritious lunches per week. A yummy meal and a warm ‘hello, how ya doing!?’ can go a long way for our neighbors who are homebound and isolated. This work still continues today! In April 2022, SESSC officially re-opened its doors to our aging community and began rolling out in-person programming. These programs empower older adults to holistically age well and make mind, body, spirit, and community connections. At SESSC, aging well is a right–not a privilege. The Center is at the forefront of ensuring our senior neighbors stay healthy, cared for, and fed!”

Nominated by: Briana Stevenson, board member.

Rainier Valley Food Bank, Rainier View. “They do amazing work all the time but did particularly amazing things during the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Nominated by: Robert Valentine, volunteer

Lisa Anderson, Magnolia. “Lisa organized a neighborhood get-together at the start of the Covid lockdown. Every Friday the entire block gets together to blow bubbles and wave to bus drivers. That tradition continues two years later.”

Nominated by: Antony Andersen, friend

Heather McNair, Licton Springs. “Heather does all she can for anyone who asks. There have been many times she has gone out of her way to help me, to the point where I have dubbed her the ‘Queen of Kindness.’ As of 4/12, I am unable to drive for six months. I know I can ask her to run to the store, pick something up from a member of our Buy Nothing group and drop it off to me, or anything else, and she will go out of her way to try and do it. Heather will not only do this for me, she will do it for anyone who asks. And it’s not like she doesn’t have anything else going on. She has clients she works for and takes care of. Her autistic adult son lives with her, and she makes sure she is home to cook for him every day.”

Nominated by: Janet Wilson, neighbor fellow Buy Nothing member

Sue Hartman, Tangletown. “Sue Hartman is a neighborhood treasure and urban agriculture legend. Since retiring as adult garden manager at Tilth Alliance, she has shared her veggie and flower growing skills with several neighborhood groups and activities, including Freeway Estates Community Orchard (FECO), Friends of Meridian Playground (FOMP), and the Tilth Alliance Edible Plant Sale. Sue is always generous with her time and knowledge. At FECO she is in charge of growing fresh vegetables for local food banks. She grows veggie starts at her home and then nurtures them carefully at the FECO community garden until harvest. At FOMP, Sue expertly identifies desirable and invasive plants and coaches volunteers as to when and how to manage them all. Sue is smart, fun, and honest. We are so lucky to have her caring for our neighborhood plants and people, too.

Nominated by: Barbara Burrill, friend & fellow volunteer

Aljoya Senior Residence Gardeners, Northgate. “In 2006, thanks to a grant and a lot of energy from a group of volunteers, a wonderful, little known 1/3-acre parcel was transformed into a beautifully landscaped, fairy garden, and P-Patch Community Garden. Over time, however, volunteer energy and the garden itself faded, resulting in a neglected, little-used space by our community. Aging did not serve this garden well, but aging gardeners were about to help save it!! Enter the senior gardening group from Aljoya Senior Residence. They compost, weed, and grow over 240 pounds of produce every year for the Lake City Food Bank. One of the members, Gitte Zweig, had a vision to use her considerable pruning skills to bring this overgrown garden back to life. Under her tutelage, blackberry was conquered, dozens of cardboard boxes were laid down, and 10 yards of wood chips were spread over this area to quell morning glory, future blackberry tendrils, and weeds. An orchard was planted under her direction, new perennials, grasses, and bright flowers grew in the entry garden to greet dog walkers and visitors to the garden. Joy is seeing how the gardeners from the Aljoya Senior Residence and Gitte transformed a weed patch into a place that is now frequently visited by families with children in the community and neighbors who just want a beautiful place to walk, see the p-patch plots, and enjoy the view. The Maple Community Garden is unique in that it is both a park and p-patch, and in that regard, it is a wonder for children to see how things grow, for office workers in the neighboring office building to enjoy a picnic lunch, to allow enjoyment of the outdoors in an increasingly urban/dense Northgate community, and to allow people of all ages/walks of life – seniors, children, apartment dwellers, and lovers of nature, to enjoy a revitalized peaceful place. More foot traffic created a park that is used as a park and is once again a community asset. This award nomination is being submitted to showcase the contributions of the gardeners from the Alijoya Senior Residence and to give a posthumous thank you nomination to Gitte Zweig. Implementing the vision of a revitalized community garden is something Gitte did with all the tenacity, skill, and physical ability in her power. She left the garden last summer, saying it had become too much. Our garden was sad to learn she had passed just a few weeks after leaving. The garden owes Gitte much for her past contributions, and to the continued contributions of the gardeners from the Aljoya Senior Residence who energize our garden to make our community stronger every day.”

Nominated by: Alice Hanson, gardener

The Market Commons Team, Pike Place Market. “The second you enter the Market Commons, you’re greeted by the warm smile of either Velma Cherokee Chaney or Crystal Barnard Dixon. From connections to social services to just some friendly conversation, Crystal and Velma are around to ensure that The Market Commons feels like ‘the living room of Pike Place Market.’ Combining their diverse backgrounds with their love for the Market, these women work in tandem to ensure every neighbor who walks through the door receives the proper help and connections to not only survive, but thrive. Lead by Crystal Dixon, Director of Strategic Impact, who has been the visionary for this program and inspiration to the whole community and her team – Stella, Velma and Kathryn – The Market Commons launched emergency programs to keep the small businesses of the Market not only surviving, but thriving, the Market workforce support through everything and hundreds of market residents safe, feed and from isolation. Crystal sees the community center as the natural extension of Pike Place Market’s intention to create a safe and healthy neighborhood for all. “It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity,” Crystal remarks. “We can create a community center so rooted in the values of Pike Place Market.” Velma is ready to answer your questions and make you feel at home! The Market Commons is Velma’s first full-time role after interning and volunteering for social service agencies throughout Seattle. She is passionate about giving back and supporting the seniors who are an integral part of the Market community! It was still fairly new at the beginning of the pandemic and became absolutely critical for the emergency response to small businesses, workers and senior residents in the Market. Every day these women perform countless acts of kindness for hundreds of people. We are so honored to have them in our midst.”

Nominated by: Lillian Sherman, colleague

Than-Nga “Tanya” Nguyen/ChuMinh Tofu, Little Saigon. “I am nominating Tanya and ChuMinh Tofu for their generosity and activism in the Little Saigon neighborhood. For the past 3.5 years, Tanya and the restaurant staff have been preparing and cooking food each Sunday for anyone in the neighborhood who is hungry. Than-Nga’s warmth, generosity, strong love, and community-centered values have organized a consistent group of volunteers to support this growing project. I want to uplift her strength and determination in this nomination as well. During the pandemic, when the number of people needing support increased, and small businesses in Asian communities were hit hard by a decrease in business and an increase in anti-Asian racism, Tanya continued to provide the food and space for the meals. She also increased their scope from 50 meals to sometimes 200 meals over a single weekend. She is a community leader that continues to remind us that public safety, public health, accountability, and healing are all collective responsibilities that are only possible if we have relationships with each other and take care of each other. Tanya teaches us that all people are deserving of care and understanding and that we should respect the agency and dignity of every person.”

Nominated by: Chloe Huber and Alex Chuang, Sunday meal volunteers

The opinions expressed and information contained in this article were generated by and are reflective of individual community members and do not necessarily reflect the policies, plans, beliefs, conclusions, or ideas of the City of Seattle.