Grabbing a beer at the Swiss Pub is generally a pretty casual affair, but visitors on Oct. 22 got a little more than they bargained for during United Way’s Pints for Pierce County celebrity bartending event. In bringing its “Live United” motto to life, the organization brought together high profile local celebs from the City of Tacoma, Pierce County government, Tacoma Public Utilities and the Tacoma/Pierce County Health Department. Celebrity bartenders included Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist; Pierce County Auditor Julie Anderson; Mayor Marilyn Strickland; City Councilmembers Ryan Mello and Victoria Woodards; Tom Pierson, president and CEO of the Tacoma/Pierce County Chamber of Commerce along with staff member Savannah Kimball; Tacoma/Pierce County Health Department Director Dr. Anthony Chen, Deputy Director Nancy Sutton and Technology Manager Brian Moore; and Tacoma Public Utilities Division Manager Tony Lindgren.
“This fundraiser is to highlight the spirit of collaboration between these organizations,” said Sean Armentrout, United Way’s vice president of community education and resource development. “To have individuals with such busy schedules here to support the United Way means a lot to us, because we know that when we rally as a community there is nothing we can’t do.” Cash tips and donations from the night benefit the United Way’s Community Solutions Fund, which supports 117 local nonprofits that strengthen the safety net of programs that help those who need it most. Chen took time out of his schedule to support these efforts because he calls the United Way a fitting partner for Tacoma/Pierce County Health Department. “It’s important for us to support United Way because they support the community,” he said.
Drawing from his own personal experience working with the United Way, Lindgren knows firsthand the hard work performed by the organization after participating in its Loaned Executive program. For three months, Lindgren worked at the United Way as a volunteer while maintaining employment at Tacoma Public Utilities and was able to experience the inner workings of the organization. “During that time, I realized how much effort the staff puts into this work,” he said. “It really goes a long way in the community.” Some celebrity bartenders were not only happy to support the United Way, but were also happy to participate for…other reasons. “It’s wonderful to support the United Way, of course,” Lindquist said before his sense of humor led him to finish his thought. “But also, I wanted to gain some bartending experience because it’s always good to have a backup plan.”