Historical Society of Federal Way honors local people who made a difference

Starting June 4, the Historical Society of Federal Way will showcase a new exhibit called “Who Am I?” that will celebrate Washingtonians and four specially-chosen citizens and groups who are local to Federal Way.

The locals highlighted in the exhibit are Police Chief Andy Hwang, Marlene Beadle, the Pacific Islander Community Association, Andrea Graham and her 7-year-old daughter, Arianna.

Suzanne Vargo is the Exhibits chairperson and she regards them all as heroes.

“Our four local heroes have contributed greatly to our safety, mental and physical health, through their knowledge and efforts here in Federal Way and surrounding communities,” she said.

According to Vargo, the exhibit will display Washingtonians who “fought long hard odds to accomplish their goals, that in turn helped shape their communities” and that the four local heroes will especially highlight this theme.

“These individuals care deeply about their fellow citizens and they show us this through example every day. Our heroes have heart,” said Vargo.

Hwang has been Federal Way’s chief of police since 2014 and he is one of Washington state’s few Asian-American police chiefs: “Andy is doing his job brilliantly,” said Vargo.

Beadle, who died in 2009, was the owner of Marlene’s Market and Deli, one of the first natural food stores in the South Puget Sound. Vargo describes Beadle as a “groundbreaking female pioneer” whose family now operates the store.

The Federal Way-based Pacific Islander Community Association provides programs that center on community power. When the COVID-19 vaccination was made available, PICA provided doses to the community at their facility.

Arianna and Andrea Graham are well-known in Federal Way for their Love Landings work that helps spread awareness and acceptance of people with Down syndrome. Arianna, who was prenatally diagnosed with Down syndrome, was awarded the Whitney Bellinghausen Community Service Award in 2021.

“Who Am I?” was made possible through “Legacy Washington,” a collaboration between Washington State Archives and Washington’s Secretary of State Steve Hobbs, whose office makes these exhibits available for free to any historic organizations.

The exhibit will be open at 12-4 p.m. on Saturday, June 4, and will remain at the Heritage Center through September. The Historical Society’s regular hours are noon to 4 p.m. Wednesday to Friday.

Courtesy photo

Courtesy photo