United Way Announces Spirit of Snohomish County Award Winners
September 7, 2012
(Everett, WA) – At a breakfast event celebrating the best that the county has to offer, United Way of Snohomish County announced the winners of its annual “Spirit” awards—individuals and organizations who help improve people’s lives, work for the betterment of our community and inspire others to serve.
“It is an honor and a privilege to recognize the spirit of generosity in our community,” said Dennis G. Smith, president and CEO of United Way of Snohomish County. “The award winners are an inspiration to us all.”
Nominations are submitted in June and reviewed by teams of volunteers. The only award handed out by the organization itself is the Reeves/Sievers Founders' Award which is similar to a Lifetime Achievement Award. That award was given to the family of the late Bob Smith, longtime supporters of United Way and several other organizations in Snohomish County.
The other award winners included Dominick Juarez, a volunteer with Cocoon House’s U-Turn program, who won the Youth Award; Mary Jane Brell Vujovic, who works with the Workforce Development Council and won the Adult Award; Allyn Triezenberg, who helps organize the annual Letter Carriers Food Drive through the Snohomish County Labor Council and won the Spirit of Labor Award; and Campbell’s StockPot, in part for their support of the Meals on Wheels program and their commitment to volunteerism, who won the Community Partner Award.
Kathy LeMay, author of The Generosity Plan, offered a keynote address after the awards ceremony. In her remarks, she encouraged people to give both their time and their treasure to their community.
Chris Ingalls, with KING 5 News, served as master of ceremonies for the event, which was held at the Tulalip Resort Casino Thursday, Sept 6.
The event’s sponsors included The Boeing Company, AT&T, Union Bank, The Everett Clinic, Providence Regional Medical Center Everett, Jamco America, Inc., Fluke, Puget Sound Energy, Comcast, The Herald, Tulalip Resort Casino and Stadium Flowers.
Background on the Award Winners
Reeves/Sievers Founders' Award – The Smith Family: Mary Smith and Richard &
For decades, Bob Smith was a mainstay in Snohomish County’s nonprofit circuit, even earning the name “Mr. Fundraiser.” After his death over a decade ago, his family carried on his legacy of service. Over the years, family members have remained active on various boards in the region, and are active members of United Way’s Tocqueville Society. “We remain involved in the community today because of the impact my dad had on me, on all of us.” Richard Smith says. “He taught us the importance of leading by example. He believed that if you live in a community, it’s your responsibility to give back in any way you can.”
Youth Award – Dominick Juarez, Cocoon House
When Dominick Juarez volunteers with at-risk teens at Cocoon House’s U-Turn program, he has a unique perspective into their world. Several years ago, Dominick was in and out of school and involved with gangs and street culture. This perspective makes Dominick relatable to each teen in the program and allows him to have a greater impact. Dominick thanks his mom, supportive family and Cocoon House for having a positive influence in his life. Today, Dominick has two jobs, volunteers many hours at Cocoon House each week, and attends Everett Community College. After finishing his Associate’s degree at Everett, Dominick plans to transfer to the University of Washington to double major in biochemistry and neurobiology, then continue on to dental school.
Adult Award – Mary Jane Brell Vujovic
For Mary Jane Brell Vujovic, LIVING UNITED has always been a way of life. Her earliest memories are of volunteering with her mother, who taught her the value of service and investing in the community. Though she has lived an active life of service, Mary Jane admits that her favorite volunteer activity is serving on United Way of Snohomish County’s Community Matters Vision Council. Mary Jane chaired the council in 2009 and 2010, and was instrumental in developing the Help for Hard Times website that is still in use today.
Spirit of Labor Award – Allyn Triezenberg
Growing up in Southern California, Allyn Triezenberg was surrounded by vibrant diversity and a rich support system. Allyn recalls that people never went hungry, and neighbors supported each other. Very early on, Allyn was taught the value of community. The values of volunteerism that were instilled in Allyn at an early age have carried over into her work with labor groups, as helping the community is central to labor’s ideals. To help keep the spirit of volunteerism alive, Allyn is instrumental in organizing many labor service projects, and is the driving force behind Snohomish County’s annual Letter Carrier’s Food Drive.
Community Partner Award – Campbell’s StockPot
Coat drives. Blood drives. Meals on Wheels. United Way campaigns. Adopt-a-Family. Junior Achievement. Volunteering, donating and fundraising. If you’re tired just thinking about all of this, you’re not alone! Campbell’s StockPot employees are truly invested in the community. Besides hosting a successful United Way campaign each year, employees are also dedicated to the Meals on Wheels program, working with the Snohomish County Senior Services to deliver weekly meals to seniors in the county. Recently, StockPot gave Meals on Wheels a donation, allowing them to afford fresh fruit for their participants. The 200 full-time employees at StockPot’s Everett plant also support numerous blood and coat drives, Junior Achievement and Adopt-a-Family programs. Many employees also take advantage of Campbell’s "Dollars for Doers" program, which gives $500 to an organization for every 25 hours of volunteering a Campbell’s employee completes there.
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United Way is a community impact organization serving Snohomish County for more than 70 years. In addition to funding 102 programs through 39 agencies with a special focus on local health and human services, United Way of Snohomish County supports a number of initiatives focusing on early learning and education, financial stability for families, a youth program, North Sound 211 and an emerging initiative in survival English.
To find out more about United Way of Snohomish County, including how you can find help, how to volunteer and how United Way serves our community, please visit our website at uwsc.org.