I Celebrate You 2010: Federal Way's unsung heroes | SLIDESHOW and VIDEO

In December 2009, students at Federal Way High School held a graduation ceremony for Leticia Granados, a classmate who lost her battle with leukemia just weeks later.

In October 2009, teens at Auburn Mountainview High School nominated special needs students Landon Gallion and Kelsie Marr for homecoming king and queen — then mounted a campaign to help the two win.

Selfless acts like these are the essence of I Celebrate You, an annual event that honors unsung heroes who make a difference in the lives of loved ones.

The 2010 event, held Nov. 21 at Federal Way Regional Library, was sponsored by Write a Blessing Media founder and Federal Way resident Nandell Palmer. I Celebrate You represented multiple cultures as well as a range of ages. The event also featured performances by local musicians including the Federal Way High School Jazz Choir, Federal Way Harmony Kings and Korean dancers Four Seasons. Carol Stanley served as the emcee.

Honorees were recognized for being outstanding citizens, mentors, volunteers, mothers and fathers. At the core of each nomination was the selfless nature of each honoree to give instead of receive.

"It wasn't hard to stand in your shoes. All I had to do was reflect on the people who made a difference in my life," said keynote speaker and Federal Way resident Dan Shea. He noted the gratitude that filled the room and praised the event's founder: "Nandell, you restore my faith in humanity."

Whether recognizing the single mother who put her kids through college, or honoring the teacher who kept kids from dropping out, I Celebrate You helps foster "that sense of giving back, that joy of seeing people feel celebrated," Palmer said. "I want it to be about community spirit."

In fact, Palmer's event is going international. Modeled after the Federal Way events, I Celebrate You South Africa will take place Dec. 7, 10 and 15 in Pretoria, King William’s Town and Cape Town.

"Something like this has no border," said Palmer, who will attend the South Africa celebrations next month.

2010 Honorees

Anita Rylander

Edward Barney

Janice Siebenaler

Janine DeZwager

Al Sieg

Brenda Burke

Clyde Hunnicutt Jr.

Glenda Marie Hughes

Hope Elder

Marvin and Jeanette Charles

Katherine Roberts-Burns

Taeho Son and Kay Kwong Shon

Joe Bullock

Pauline Anderson

Randy Simon

Richard Pudmaroff

Rose Ehl

Pia Hong Seeger

Sue Graves

Lynn and Pattie Bateman

Tina Hendrix

Genevieve Benjamin

Check out a video from the event:

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