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Breakfast celebrates volunteers
QUILCEDA VILLAGE — A sea of nearly 600 people attended the United Way Spirit of Snohomish County breakfast at the new Tulalip Hotel Sept. 10.
With Bob Drewel as master of ceremonies and author Robert Fulghum as keynote speaker, the early morning gathering provided some pretty good entertainment.
Fulghum’s most recent book, “What on Earth Am I Doing,” speaks to the message of the event to launch United Way’s fundraising campaign, which is being led by Buzz Rodland. While Rodland promised no political content at the breakfast, he couldn’t help but make the joke, “My political advice is, please go out and buy a car.” He got away with it since he was one of six car dealers who are underwriting a car for the grand prize to the best fundraiser. This year’s goal is $7 million.
The crowd represented the do-gooders of the county and awards were presented in five categories to some of the best of them.
A high school student in Everett, Megan Wilson spoke about her service to Deaconess Children’s Services, and how volunteering has changed her.
She told the large audience how kids often grumble about how hard it is to get the five hours of community service.
“I tell them ‘What’s so hard?,” she said.
The adult award winner, Sarri Gilman started Cocoon House thinking she would get it up and running and then move on in a couple of years, but she stayed 12 years, just in time to launch yet another nonprofit organization, Childhood Lasts a Lifetime, for homeless children.
The Spirit of Labor Award was presented to Doug Scott, who has helped the United Way Strategy Team and the Letter Carrier’s Food Drive among many other projects.
“My reward is the smiles on their faces,” said the active YMCA volunteer.
The Founders Award went to Bob Dickson, “an icon in the business world” and a founding member of Frontier Bank. The Community Partner Award went to Campbell’s StockPot, whose employees sorted 24,000 pounds of food for a food bank.
Other volunteers noted include Tillie Groen, who volunteers at the Stillaguamish Senior Center as a kitchen helper. The volunteer coordinator there, Karen Kay said that Groen’s laughter brings joy to the senior center. To Kay, Groen’s giggle is a reminder of healthy aging at the senior center.
This was the 12th year that United Way recognized extraordinary people for their community involvement and volunteerism.
Spokesperson for United Way of Snohomish County, Deborah Squires pointed out that Fulghum’s question, ‘What on Earth Am I Doing?’ was beautifully answered by the honorees who contribute to the community through giving, advocacy and volunteerism
“They live United Way’s credo, ‘Live United,’” Squires said.
United Way’s mission is to lead positive change that transforms communities in Snohomish County and improves people’s lives.
For information on how to contribute to United Way’s effort, call Squires at 425-374-5501 or e-mail to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.