City of Destiny Awards recognizes top local volunteers

Mayor Marilyn Strickland and Tacoma City Council will recognize Tacoma’s top volunteers – six individuals and four groups – during the 25th annual City of Destiny Awards at 7 p.m. on May 10. This event, which is free and open to the public, will be held at the Stadium High School Auditorium, 111 N. ‘E’ St.


This year’s City of Destiny Award recipients are:

Neighborhood Group or Community Partnership: Tacoma Orthopedic Association

In the 1920s, Tacoma Orthopedic Association (TOA) consisted of a small group of women who volunteered their time to transport children to Seattle for specialty orthopedic care that was not available in Tacoma. Each year since then, TOA has grown. Today, as TOA prepares to celebrate its 90th anniversary, it has evolved into a strong organization of nearly 1,200 members who are proud of the role they play in making Tacoma a world-class location for pediatric care.


Corporation or Business: Tacoma Regional Convention and Visitor Bureau

In 1986, Tacoma’s first Visitor Information Center opened to assist those traveling to and from the World’s Fair in Vancouver, B.C., and its volunteers have been promoting Tacoma and Pierce County ever since. The volunteers that staff the Visitor Information Center know that what makes Tacoma a great place to live also makes it a great place to visit. And, thanks to their dedication and hard work, they have helped make Tacoma Regional Convention and Visitor Bureau (TRCVB) the resource it is today.

The award recognizes the organization’s team of more than 30 volunteers, who provide customer service to thousands of visitors and increase the economic impact of their visits by lengthening their stay and encouraging spending.

“Each volunteer has a strong commitment to our organization and the visitors they serve,” Tammy Blount, TRCVB President and CEO Tammy Blount said. “Our volunteers are a vital part of visitor services programs.”

In 2010 volunteers gave 3,383 hours in staffing the center, providing onsite conference services throughout the county and completing special projects. The team also gave more than 3,500 visitor referrals to Pierce County businesses.

Employee Group or Union Group:

International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 23

A key element of the Port of Tacoma’s success is its longshore labor force, International Longshore and Warehouse Union, better known as ILWU Local 23. It has approximately 1,500 members. Port management and longshore labor leadership work together to bring more shipping lines to Tacoma. They also cooperate on various projects and committees, ensuring port safety and high efficiency in handling customer cargo needs. But there is more to ILWU Local 23 than meets the eye. They are deeply involved in local community activities, and they volunteer to work behind the scenes to make Tacoma a better place. 


Youth Group: Wilson High School Key Club

Since November 2008, the Wilson High Key Club has committed itself to making our community better by investing in the children at Sherman Elementary School in partnership with the Communities in Schools program.


Youth Service: Kaijona Wade

Despite a demanding academic curriculum as a sophomore at Bellarmine, Kaijona Wade has volunteered an astonishing amount of time to make Tacoma a better place. She is all about perseverance and drive, plans to go to an Ivy League school and says that she thrives in highly competitive environments that encourage excellence. She sees herself having multiple career tracks, and her interests include acting, music and entrepreneurship.


Environmental Sustainability: Heather and Don Halabisky

What does environmental sustainability mean to you? In Tacoma, we are blessed with citizens who see a connection between the vibrancy of our city and a healthy natural environment, and the importance of balancing our environmental, social and economic needs. Heather and Don Halabisky are a couple who, with the support of a determined group of likeminded friends, has given new meaning to the term “environmental stewardship.”


Adult Leadership: Theresa Pan Hosley

Theresa Pan Hosley is an exemplary leader whose commitment, dedication and vision brought together a diverse group of community members. One year after Tacoma City Council passed a resolution of regret and apology for the expulsion of the Chinese in 1885, Pan Hosley, with the newly established Chinese Reconciliation Project Foundation board, made it a priority to educate our community and establish a historical memory concerning the events of 126 years ago. Their efforts led to the establishment of Chinese Reconciliation Park along Schuster Parkway.


Adult Sustained Service: Bob Mauer

Bob Mauer, or “Chef Bob” as he is fondly known, has always treated Tacoma Public Schools teachers and students with respect, good humor and kindness over the years, and his humility has endeared him to virtually everyone. He has helped provide the youth of Tacoma with the high quality education they deserve, and has been a tremendous asset to the teachers at Lincoln High School and to other teachers throughout the district.


25th Anniversary Award: Babe Lehrer

Babe Lehrer always makes an impression. Her friends know her as someone who makes chicken soup for anyone who is sick, offers a willing ear and constructive advice for those struggling with their personal or professional lives, and drives efforts that have a lasting positive effect on our community. For decades, she has worked to reinvigorate Tacoma’s artistic, educational and cultural richness, and the city is a better place because of her. She has many reasons to love Tacoma, but Tacoma has even more reasons to love her. 

Each award winner will receive a colorful glass sculpture crafted by students in the Hilltop Artists in Residence Program.

The City of Destiny Awards ceremony is also covered by TV Tacoma and broadcast on both the Click! Cable TV and Comcast Cable systems. It is supported by local businesses and organizations, including Click! Cable TV and ILWU Local 23, the event’s major sponsors.


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