It was a full house Thursday evening at the Hilton Garden Inn in Issaquah, as the 160+ community gathered to honor individuals, business owners, and groups that embody the spirit of giving back to the community.
Sammamish City Councilman John Curley gave the keynote at the event, giving a heartfelt and humorous talk about why volunteerism is so important, and how, when people know what the problem is, they will step up to the task.
Nearly two dozen community members were recognized for outstanding service.
When John Rittenhouse's name was announced for the Human & Spiritual Values Award, sponsored by Kiwanis, the room erupted in applause. Rittenhouse, a former Issaquah Councilmember, was recognized for, among other things, his tireless work on developing a human services campus in the city.
"To confine this giant of a human being into words is impossible," Marilyn Taylor said of Rittenhouse. Her comment could have applied to any one of the 18 honorees.
As with Rittenhouse, keeping track of the multitude of service accomplishments of those honored was a delightful challenge in a feel-good evening, from youth volunteers, to teen volunteers with mile-long service resumes, it seems clear that the spirit of service is alive and well in Issaquah.
To top off the evening the 2011-2012 King Issaquah and Queen Issaquah, Josh Rehn and Laurie Carlisle, helped crown the new 2012-2013 King and Queen, Darrin Helfrecht and Robyn Barfoot,
The awards ceremony was sponsored by Rowley Properties and hosted by the Greater Issaquah Chamber of Commerce.
Following is the complete list of sponsoring organizations and honorees:
Denise Smith, Volunteer of the Year
Larry Schwitters, Environmental Excellence Award
John Rittenhouse, Human & Spiritual Values Award
Audrey Johnson, Tiger Mountain Community High School Rotary Student of the Year
Nicole Migotsky, Issaquah High School Rotary Student of the Year
Tucker Goodman, Liberty High School Rotary Student of the Year
Issaquah Chamber of Commerce
Renee Zimmerman, Citizen of the Year
Jeff Anderson, Business Person of the Year (Issaquah Trophy & Awards)
Issaquah Schools Foundation
Barbara de Michelle, Golden Apple Award Winner
Eastside Fire & Rescue
Greg Barton, Lifesaver Award
City of Issaquah
Master Sergeant “Top” Demarco, Hall of Fame Award
Barbara de Michele, Hall of Fame Award
Issaquah Park Board
Allie Lustig, Youth Leadership Award
Elliot Roberts, Volunteer Sportsperson of the Year
Vicki Hoffman, Volunteer of the Year
Shirley Chung, Youth Leadership Award
Ileah Hoeke, Salmon Days Volunteer of the Year
Joe Forkner, Salmon Days Spawnor Roll Award (cartographer)
Issaquah Education Association
Bill Mokin, IEA Public Education Advocate of the Year
Life Enrichment Options & AtWork!
Michelle Bretl, Caring Community Award (Individual)
Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery, Caring Community Award (Organization)
2012 – 2013 King & Queen Issaquah:
Darrin Helfrecht, Principal Financial Group, King Issaquah
Robyn Barfoot, Cougar Mountain Zoo, Queen Issaquah