Federal Way Mirror's January Citizen of the Month: Lou Olmstead

Lou Olmstead has volunteered in the Federal Way community for decades. She was selected as The Mirror’s January Citizen of the Month.  - Courtesy of Bruce Honda
Lou Olmstead has volunteered in the Federal Way community for decades. She was selected as The Mirror’s January Citizen of the Month.
— image credit: Courtesy of Bruce Honda

Many people have put their trust in Lou Olmstead over the years, so much so that they even voted her to serve on the Federal Way City Council before it existed.

Olmstead won the council election in 1985, but voters turned down incorporation, so the council was not formed.

Nevertheless, the lifelong volunteer has served the Federal Way community for many years.

“Her volunteerism is like changing a tire on a car that is always moving – she never stands still,” said Maureen Hathaway, who nominated Olmstead for The Mirror’s Citizen of the Month. “Lou is never trying to get recognition for her efforts. She is an unsung hero who has made a difference in our community as not only a volunteer but as a community activist for many years. It is easy to nominate Lou, since she has been a consistent and consummate volunteer with a servant’s heart.”

A Tacoma native, Olmstead graduated from Lincoln High School. She earned her registered nursing degree and worked at Tacoma General Hospital, before marrying the man she had first met in third grade. They moved to Federal Way in 1968 after her former husband got a job with the Boeing Co.

She began volunteering for various organizations when her four children were in school.

“I felt like I needed to do my share and I felt like I needed to keep going,” Olmstead said. “I enjoy it and I have time, although sometimes it gets hectic all at the same time, but I do enjoy it.”

What does Olmstead think of her nomination for Citizen of the Month?

“I’m not sure I deserve all that,” she laughed.

But Hathaway said that Olmstead furnishes rides to doctors appointments for people, donates food to the Reach Out program for the homeless and helped to get a hospital in Federal Way.

Olmstead has worked on several campaigns, including for state Rep. Linda Kochmar, former Councilmember Diana Noble-Gulliford and former Mayor Skip Priest.

She has been involved in many organizations, including the Historical Society of Federal Way and the Federal Way Symphony board.

She currently serves as the deacon at Steel Lake Presbyterian and volunteers in the church office every Monday.

Olmstead’s family and friends recently held a big celebration for her 80th birthday at a local country club.

“I had 66 good friends sign in my guest book,” she noted. “I guess I’ve made a lot of friends over the years in everything I’ve done.”

To nominate a Federal Way resident for Citizen of the Month, email Nominations are due by the 20th of each month.


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