Wednesday, October 21, 2015

2015 KSER Voice of the Community Award Celebration

This week KSER was honored to salute six individuals and organizations who make a real difference in our community at the 8th annual KSER Voice of the Community Awards Celebration.

Emcee Karen Crowley
There was a full house at this year's breakfast event, held in the Orca Ballroom at Tulalip Resort Casino.

Sylvia Anderson, CEO of the Everett Gospel Mission and co-chair of the Everett Community Streets Initiative was presented with an award for community impact by an individual. For 15 years, Anderson has headed the Everett Gospel Mission which has been providing food, shelter and other services to homeless people in Snohomish County for more than 50 years.

Sylvia Anderson
Also receiving a KSER Voice of the Community Award for community impact by an individual, was Washington State Senator John McCoy.  Senator McCoy was recognized for speaking up as a strong voice on many issues, especially for the teaching of tribal history and culture in schools statewide.

Senator John McCoy with Gloria Burton (l) Director, Catholic Housing Services and KSER Board President Nina Martinez
 An award for community impact by an organization was presented to Housing Hope, which has been serving the area since 1987. Nearly 90% of the homeless families who enter Housing Hope's program go on to obtain stable housing.  CEO Fred Safstrom accepted the award for Housing Hope.

Nina Martinez with Housing Hope CEO Fred Safstrom
The Sky Valley Arts Council was presented with an award for cultural impact by an organization. The council is working to develop an event center for the Sky Valley that would be a community place for music, dances, stage performances, education and more. Founding board member Debbie Copple accepted the award.

Debbie Copple of Sky Valley Arts Council
The award for community impact by a business was presented to Drew's List of Whidbey Island, an email-based resource that serves as a community bulletin board and classified ad system, all for free. What started as an exchange for a few friends in 2009, now has more than 6,000 subscribers. The voice behind Drew's List is longtime Whidbey Island resident Drew Kampion.

Voices of the Village in Arlington serves people with disabilities by encouraging them to join a performance ensemble that appears at community events year round. It's offered through Arlington's Village Community Services. Voices of the Village was presented with a KSER Voice of the Community Award for cultural impact by an organization. Michelle Dietz, Development Executive for Village Community Services accepted the award.

Michelle Dietz

During the breakfast everyone had the opportunity to fill out the above placards and suggest names of community voices they'd like to see get more community recognition.

We recorded more than a hundred great suggestions. If you didn't get to attend you can still forward your ideas to  And you can start thinking about which individual or organization you'd like to nominate for the 2016 Voice of the Community Award Celebration next fall.

And the morning wouldn't have been complete for Aletha Tatge until she got a selfie with KSER News & Public Affairs Director Ed Bremer!

Congratulations to each of the award recipients and thanks to those who attended and helped KSER salute these very special voices!