Seattle Parks and Recreation announced the winners of the 2010 Annual Denny Awards for Outstanding Volunteer Stewardship at a ceremony on December 7 in the Lake Union Park Armory. The winners are a cross-section of Seattle’s most tenacious, creative and hard-working volunteers who donate precious time and energy to improving Seattle’s parks and programs.
“It is always difficult for us to choose winners,” said Acting Superintendent Christopher Williams. “All of our volunteers make valuable contributions for which we are deeply grateful. Our intention is to single out those who whose work builds community, inspires others, and improves lives.”
Leading By Example Award
Patrick Jones, Plymouth Pillars Park Dog Off-Leash Area Steward
As the steward of the Plymouth Pillars off-leash area, Patrick is a leader in both his deeds and attitude. Patrick’s presence at the park offers dog owners a safe and inviting place to bring their furry charges. It also deters undesirable behaviors in the park that could make the off-leash area an unwelcoming place. Patrick builds community by encouraging park users to roll up their sleeves alongside him and get to work.
Clean Seattle Award
Mike Hemion, Underwater clean-up Volunteer with Divers Institute of Technology
The shorelines in Seattle are cleaner and safer, thanks to Mike’s ongoing shoreline and underwater cleanups. Teams of divers, organized by Mike, regularly clean trash from submerged parkland, including the shorelines of Lake Washington. He works collaboratively with Parks’ staff to strategize about where to pick up trash, and supports a healthy sound with his activities.
Making a Difference Award
Paul Kurose, Karate Sensei at Rainier Beach Community Center
For the past seven years, Paul has been a volunteer karate teacher at Rainier Beach Community Center. Paul’s donation of his teaching time means his classes are financially accessible for nearly anyone who wants to take them. He teaches children and adults in a firm, but generous style. He humbly demonstrates community building and service through his actions by inspiring his students to achieve their greatest potential.
Up and Coming Youth Award
Natalie “Wolfy” Whithan, Hiawatha Community Center Teen Council
At just 17, Natalie is already making a big impact in her community. She is a member of the Hiawatha Community Center Teen Council and the Youth Engaged in Service program. She has helped the center create more organized office systems, reshaped the Teen Advisory Council, designed colorful bulletin boards that highlight the teen program, led younger youth in fun activities, and ran special events at both the Hiawatha and Southwest community centers. She is a bright light to those around her.
Heron Habitat Helpers, Habitat Restoration at Kiwanis Ravine
The Heron Habitat Helpers (HHH) successfully nominated and achieved the first Wildlife Sanctuary in the City of Seattle at Kiwanis Ravine Park. Home of Seattle’s largest nesting colony of Great Blue Herons, the rookery has more than 80 nests. For the past 10 years, HHH has been a leader in conservation, demonstrating exceptional stewardship for the park, providing stellar leadership in enhancing the park, showing significant personal commitment, and generating a sense of community around the park.
Associated Recreation Council Volunteer of the Year Award
Darrell Glover, Alki Community Center Advisory Council
Darrell not only helps lead the center with important policy and monetary decisions through his work on the advisory council, but he also rolls up his sleeves to help out for special events. He advertises events to businesses, parents, and friends before the event; sets up tables, passes out equipment, and supports staff during the event; then takes out trash, sweeps up afterwards, and ensures the work is done before going home himself.
Community Stewardship Award
Seward Park Playground Improvement Foundation, Playground Development
The Seward Park Playground Improvement Foundation (SPPIF), lead by Maura Whalen and Betina Simmons, has been on a three-year-long adventure to create a stellar playground for the people of their community. SPPIF raised more than $300,000 to augment a levy-funded playground improvement project at Seward Park. They dedicated too many hours to count and all the energy they could muster to bring people together in their diverse community around the dream of a new playground for children.
Lifetime Achievement Award
Fran & Bunny Wood, Leschi Natural Area
For the past 15 years, Fran and Bunny have been advocates for the Leschi Natural Area. They have identified funding to support park restoration with native trees and shrubs and led work parties in the park once a month. Fellow volunteers report that they are always fun and easy to work with, which inspires them to keep coming back. The work parties serve not only to beautify and restore the park, but also to build community and neighborhood pride for this very special place.
Freeway Park Neighborhood Association, Freeway Park Oversight
Built in 1976 to much national acclaim, Freeway Park became an iconic city park. Unfortunately, it gradually fell into disrepair in the decades that followed – until the Freeway Park Neighborhood Association was formed in 1993. For nearly 20 years, the association has been working to restore the park to its former glory. Today, after a series of restoration and programming efforts led by the association, the park is a welcoming respite in a busy city – full of life, safe for visitors, and accessible to everyone.
The Denny Awards recognize the contributions of volunteers to Seattle Parks and Recreation parks and programs. They are named after David T. and Louisa Denny, who donated land for the first Seattle park in 1884 (Denny Park), where Parks’ headquarters are located.
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