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Give them shelter

By PAT JENKINS

The Mirror

Brenda Moulton likes helping people. She's been doing it for a living since 2001 as an administrative specialist at the Seattle-King County Public Health clinic in Federal Way, answering phone calls from clients and setting appointments for them.

Many of the clients –– often with little money, no health insurance and unemployed –– ride the Metro bus that stops about a block from the clinic, as do patrons of the food bank and other social services of the nearby Multi-Services Center. That gave her an idea for another way to help.

Those people shouldn't have to wait for the bus in the rain, Moulton decided, so she started a campaign in October 2003 to get a shelter for them. Exactly 12 months later, after spending some of her workday lunch hours collecting information for her lobbying effort, Metro put a shelter at the stop.

It made her feel good, she said, to see the system work for people who might otherwise be overlooked, like the mother with two young children she saw one pre-shelter day trying to keep her brood safe and dry while waiting for the bus.

"That touched my heart. I used to be in the same situation," said Moulton, who raised three children to adulthood. "I know what it's like to have to depend on the bus for transportation. I think when you see people who can use a hand, you should help them."

She surveyed businesses and organizations located near the bus stop on how much their customers and clients use it, then gave the information to Metro to help make her case for a shelter. And one day last October, as she arrived at work one day, there was the shelter –– Kelly green and three-sided, with a bench and a roof.

She credited Paul Alexander of Metro and Mary Anne Zukowski, a Federal Way traffic engineer, for their support.

"They followed through. I appreciated that so much," Moulton said, adding with a modest laugh, "I kept after them."

"Brenda did a lot to make it happen," said Patty Baker, a clinic co-worker who helped her with the survey. Getting the shelter "was a great help to our customers and other citizens."

Moulton, who lives in Federal Way, also asked the city for a crosswalk at South 336th Street and 13th Avenue South, the intersection where the bus stops. Officials declined, noting there are two signal-controlled crosswalks a block or two away. She understood and is grateful for the shelter, she said.

"I like helping people. I like it when somebody sees somebody in need and helps them," she said. "Sometimes we don't think we're in a position to make a difference. I'm glad we were able to do something in this case."

Editor Pat Jenkins: 925-5565, editor@fedwaymirror.com

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