Who will reign as our No.1 citizen?

“It's the size of the deeds that counts”
By Pat Ratliff | Mar 07, 2013
Juliana Van Buskirk is event coordinator for the Edmonds Citizen of the Year event.

Everyone in Edmonds is special. That’s why you live here.

But with privilege comes responsibility – and the immediate need is to name your nominee as the 2013 Edmonds Citizen of the Year.

Since 1993, this grand annual event, sponsored by the Edmonds Kiwanis Club in collaboration with the Edmonds Beacon, has spawned a herd of imitators in Snohomish County.

But just as nothing compares to an original, the Edmonds award remains the gold standard for marking civic achievement.

“The Citizen Award began 20 years ago and has gained momentum every time out,” says this year’s event coordinator, Juliana Van Buskirk. “Our total intent is to honor an individual whose service to our community warrants our appreciation and gratitude.”

The award is a kind of history lesson of modern-day Edmonds. Good people, good projects, good results – all reflected in the roster of outstanding recipients.

Some winners of the Citizen of the Year award have passed from the scene.

But the legacy of their lives has not. It remains strong in the hearts of those with whom they shared their time and place.

• • •

Coordinator Van Buskirk, who chairs the Edmonds Kiwanis’ Community Affairs committee, spells out the contest requirements:

Fill out the nomination form in this issue, enter online at the Chamber of Commerce website www.edmondswa.com, or pick up a form at the Edmonds Library or the Edmonds Chamber Of Commerce, and submit the form to –


P.O. Box 221

Edmonds, WA 98020.


Deadline for nominations is Friday, May 10.

This year’s winner will be introduced at the Chamber of Commerce luncheon Thursday, May 23.  And she or he will be profiled in the issue of the Edmonds Beacon published that day.

Nominations are requested from individuals or groups in Edmonds. Size, shape or religious affiliation is of no consequence – it's the size of the deeds that counts. It’s a challenge for the Kiwanis judging panel to evaluate all the nominees fairly, but it’s one they relish.

Whomever they select as 2013 Citizen of the Year, the winner will join an illustrious list of predecessors.

Here they are:

• • •

• 2012 – Mary VanMeter was named the 2012 Citizen of the Year for her tireless work with many causes around town. She worked in the background mostly, saying she preferred to be a “worker more than a leader.”

VanMeter was one of the early leaders in the founding of the Edmonds Summer Market. She also served as a board member and treasurer for the League of Snohomish County Heritage Organizations, volunteered at Edmonds United Methodist Church, and the Friends of Frank DeMiero Foundation, and sang with the Sno-King Chorale

After winning the 2012 Citizen of the Year Award, as part of her recognition, she rode in the Edmonds 4th of July parade.

Despite a long battle with cancer, VanMeter summoned up enough energy and determination to ride in that parade waving an American flag, as high as she could, in true “Mary fashion,” one day before she passed.

She had a contagious smile and an indomitable spirit.


• 2011 – Laura Spehar won the Citizen of the Year Award for her involvement in a large number of projects and groups in Edmonds, from Friends of the Library to the Edmonds Native Plant and Wildlife Habitat Demonstration Garden, Friends of the Edmonds Marsh, Floretum Garden Club, Edmonds Kind of Fourth, Edmonds in Bloom, Edmonds Art Festival, Edmonds Wildlife Habitat & Sustainability Project and many more.

• 2010 – Peggy Kennedy was named Citizen of the Year in part for her 30 years of service to the community as coordinator of the Edmonds Food Bank. At 80+ years of age, she leads a program that feeds more than 400 needy families.

• 2009 – Prior to winning the award, Peggy Pritchard Olson said, “Getting involved in your community is the best thing you’ll ever do.  And that’s true for everyone.”

• 2008 – Dale Terwedo, owner of Terwedo Financial Associates in downtown Edmonds, earned the title for his exhaustive public service – working with the Children’s Hospital Legacy advisory board, the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation (Ride for Kids) among others.

• 2007 – Chris Keuss, then executive director of the Port of Edmonds, was selected by the Kiwanis’ panel of judges for “his outstanding leadership.” The Port had recently been named Marina of the Year from over 10,000 marinas across the U.S.

• 2006 – The husband-wife team of Vern and Barbara Chase were hailed for their exemplary roles on behalf of the YWCA Pathways For Women, Floretum Garden Club, Edmonds Library board, Cascade Community Singers, Edmonds In Bloom… the list goes on.

• 2005 – Grace Fisk found it a little embarrassing that people called her “Amazing Grace” for her indefatigable work with the Edmonds Museum, Friends of the Edmonds Library, DAR, Edmonds United Methodist Church and the Creative Retirement Institute.

• 2004 – Dale Hoggins, best known as the Edmonds Cemetery board member who organizes the Memorial Day ceremonies every year, has made huge contributions as a teacher, school principal, state legislator and volunteer extraordinaire.

• 2003 – The husband-wife team of John Quast and Laurie Dressler spearheaded the Washington Tea Party, an ad hoc group that fought off a King County bid to locate the Brightwater sewage treatment plant in Edmonds.

• 2002 – Jeri Hamilton, a dedicated volunteer for local causes and beloved by all who know her, was one of the most popular choices ever anointed as Citizen of the Year.

• 2001 – Josephine Fye finally graced the podium after being nominated no fewer than five times: in 1996, '97, '98, '99 and 2001.  She was instrumental in launching the Edmonds In Bloom program.

• 2000 – Ove and Eleanor Green were recognized for exemplary contributions to the mentoring program at Edmonds Elementary School.

• 1999 – The award to Don Bartholomaus became a lasting memorial to his selfless support for innumerable Edmonds undertakings.

• 1998 – Rob Morrison, now also deceased, left a legacy that included his leadership in the “Main Streets” economic development plan and as organizer of the 20-20 Visionary Project.

• 1997 – Chuck Cain, then owner and operator of the Edmonds Lumber Company, earned the honor for a range of contributions that included serving as a volunteer firefighter for 30 years.

• 1996 – former Mayor Laura Hall;

• 1995 – then-Edmonds City Council president Dave Earling; and

• 1994 – Stan and Valerie Dickison, the inaugural selectees.

• • •

And now … the 2013 nominations, please!

• • •

The selection guidelines reflect the principles set forth by Kiwanis International:

“To give primacy to the human and spiritual rather than the material values of life.

“To encourage the daily living of the golden rule in all human relationships.

“To promote the adoption and application of higher social, business and professional standards.

“To develop by precept and example a more intelligent, aggressive and serviceable citizenship.

“To provide a practical means to form enduring friendships, render altruistic service and build better communities.

“To cooperate in creating and maintaining that sound public opinion and idealism which make possible the increase of righteousness, justice, patriotism and goodwill.”

And Van Buskirk adds, “Those principles fit the profile of some very fine individuals in our city.  It’s our privilege to honor them.”

Questions about the contest?  She can be reached at 206-390-5400.

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