Opinion

I Celebrate You: Tooting the horns of unsung heroes | Nandell Palmer

I“Each honest calling, each walk of life, has its own elite, its own aristocracy based on excellence of performance.” – James Bryant Conant

One of the most challenging processes of “I Celebrate You” is choosing the “right” candidates. Despite the written criteria for all to see, there are people who feel that a particular person should pass through the nomination process with flying colors notwithstanding his less than sterling attributes as they relate to helping others.

I did find solace in Dr. Conant’s truism. And if I were to use those words as a measuring stick when selecting individuals for honorees, then I should feel a lot more confident with my choices each year.

On Nov. 21 at the Federal Way Regional Library, 25 of those deserving honorees were lionized in front of an appreciative audience at “I Celebrate You 2010” for their selfless work. They came from various ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds, but all of them embodied Dr. Conant’s quote.

The evening was not without flaws, however. Some people had to leave because of over-crowding, and we went a little past the designated cut-off time, causing others to miss the delectable multi-cultural buffet. More could be done in the way of giving an extra spotlight to the honorees and less on the entertainment. We have taken notice of this shortcoming. The result will be a better event from this point on.

Here are the names of the honored grass-roots heroes: Anita Rylander, Edward Barney, Janice Siebenaler, Janine DeZwager, Al Sieg, Brenda Burke, Clyde Hunnicutt, Jr., Glenda Hughes, Hope Elder, Marvin Charles, Jeanette Charles, Katherine Burns, Taeho Son, Kay Kwong Shon, Joe Bullock, Pauline Anderson, Randy Simon, Richard Pudmaroff, Rose Ehl, Pia Seeger, Sue Graves, Lynn Bateman, Pattie Bateman, Tina Hendrix and Genevieve Benjamin.

Recognizable names like Elder, Siebenaler, Ehl and Jimi Hendrix’s niece, Tina, are some of the names that will readily bring out fuzzy feelings among local folks.

I would like to say a Texas-sized thank you to all of the devoted volunteers and companies that made it possible for us to have another successful event: Scott Lovrien of Chipotle, Susan Toohey of STG, Target, The Federal Way Harmony Kings, Umpqua Bank, Federal Way Farmers Market, Federal Way High School Jazz Choir, Marriott Courtyard, FOJS, Nations Realty, John L. Scott Real Estate, Ready Meds Pharmacy, Century Theater, Len Englund, East India Grill, Demetrius Diamond, keynote speaker Dan Shea of Weherhaeuser, emcee Carol Stanley of That Special Touch, King County Library System.

McGrath’s Fish House, American Family Insurance, Christ Church, Applebee’s, Ivar’s, Korum Automotive Group, Andy Hobbs of the Federal Way Mirror, Apple Computer, World Vision, Mail, Copy and More, Bath and Body Works, Redondo Family Chiropractor, Best Western Airport Executel, Walmart, Red Lobster, Marie Callender's, Palace Spa, Deidra Calmes, Tanisha Roberts, Terome and Ronda Fulmore, Kim Brazier, Bonnie McNeal, Eugene and Myla Montgomery, and my wife and sons, to name a few.

Aside from their trophies and certificates, each honoree walked away with at least three gifts. Let it be known that all the gifts received from the many businesses went directly to the unsung heroes. Many of the recipients have asked me to pass on their heartfelt gratitude to the respective gift givers.

For giving back to your community, you will always elicit two words whenever I see your names or logos: Conscientious consumerism!

I will not soon forget the students of FWHS and Auburn Mountainview High School for their kind acts toward their fellow students Leticia Granados, Landon Gallion and Kelsie Marr. Thank you for modeling the way.

Thanks to our distinguished guests Mayor Skip Priest, Councilwoman Linda Kochmar, Councilman Roger Freeman, State Rep. Mark Miloscia, Kabal Gill, Dr. Connie Sims, Barrie and Dr. Melody Gayle, Martin Moore, Pastor Jon Schmidt, among others.

One store manager offered up this maxim for our selfless honorees: “You need to have 20 people with their feet on the ground to support one person with his head in the cloud.”

So to all the thousands of unsung heroes out there still carrying others on your shoulders, know that it’s not too later for me to say I celebrate you!

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