Hank Lazzar, center, walked into a surprise party at the MSC on Oct. 26. Olivia Sullivan/the Mirror

Hank Lazzar, center, walked into a surprise party at the MSC on Oct. 26. Olivia Sullivan/the Mirror

Longtime MSC volunteer celebrates 100th birthday

Hank Lazzar began volunteering for the Multi-Service Center in March 2002.

Longtime Federal Way Food Bank volunteer Hank Lazzar has a lot to celebrate — 100 reasons, in fact.

Lazzar turned 100 on Oct. 12. At a surprise birthday party hosted at the Multi-Service Center (MSC), co-volunteers-turned-friends and family members celebrated the centenarian on Oct. 26.

“A complete surprise,” he said of his party.

“I just keep thinking ‘A hundred? Boy, that’s something,’” said Lazzar, the Mirror’s Hometown Hero for the month of October. “Turning 100 is just another day, really. But I’m glad I made it.”

Lazzar volunteered as a driver for the food bank for nearly 20 years, picking up food hauls from local grocery stores and making deliveries to families and individuals in the community. His official start date with the MSC was March 6, 2002.

“The thousands upon thousands of people you affected in your time here is just tremendous,” said Dan Lancaster, director of the food bank, to Lazzar. “You helped a lot of people and I know we’ll never forget it.”

Growing up in Sunnydale — previously located between where Burien and Des Moines are now — Lazzar’s childhood home is now covered by the third runway of the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

Lazzar, a 2nd class petty officer, served in the U.S. Navy. He spent time in the Philippines, and though he wasn’t counting, he served for three years, four months and 21 days.

When he returned, he worked for Firestone Tire and Rubber Company in California. He got tired of the blue skies, he said, and the family returned to the Seattle area. He continued working for Firestone, then took on a new gig as a milkman for several dairy companies.

After a few cycles back and forth between California and Washington, the family settled in the Pacific Northwest. Today, the family tree is still growing: Lazzar has four kids, four grandchildren, nine great grandchildren and four great-great grandchildren.

After more than 35 years in the dairy industry, he then took a job with The Boeing Company for five years until his retirement. In his newfound downtime, he turned to volunteering.

He drove people to appointments for the Federal Way Senior Center, then drove buses for the Des Moines Senior Center.

After a few years, he began his first shift at the Multi-Service Center.

“We just have fun,” he said, adding that the camaraderie among the coworkers, MSC staff, and the people on his routes, are the greatest joy. Almost every Friday afternoon, Lazzar and his fellow MSC drivers can be found catching up over lunch at Scoreboard Pub in Federal Way.

Over the years, there’s been a cut vehicle gas line, a stolen truck, snowy days and plenty of smiles. Small connections built by daily routines and dedicated commitment.

People say Lazzar’s optimism and activity have given him a long life.

“[I admire] his dedication … he loves us all,” said volunteer Saul Saldana, 84, who has been with MSC for 14 years and worked with Lazzar as a helper.

Lazzar is witty and straightforward, quick to smile and crack a joke. As he ate a piece of his birthday cake, he looked around the room with a smile.

“I’m glad to be here.”


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Hank Lazzar smiles for a photo with fellow volunteer drivers of the MSC. Olivia Sullivan/the Mirror

Hank Lazzar smiles for a photo with fellow volunteer drivers of the MSC. Olivia Sullivan/the Mirror

Directors of the Multi-Service Center and Federal Way Food Bank celebrate with Hank Lazzar on Oct. 26. Olivia Sullivan/the Mirror

Directors of the Multi-Service Center and Federal Way Food Bank celebrate with Hank Lazzar on Oct. 26. Olivia Sullivan/the Mirror

Olivia Sullivan/the Mirror
Hank Lazzar holds his 100th birthday cake.

Olivia Sullivan/the Mirror Hank Lazzar holds his 100th birthday cake.

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