West Seattle volunteers nominated for Parks’ Denny Awards

Congratulations to 6 people associated with West Seattle programs/facilities who have been announced as nominees for the Seattle Parks and Recreation Department‘s annual Denny Awards for Outstanding Volunteer Stewardship. The Parks Department has just sent out a news release announcing nominees and that the awards will be revealed at a December 7th event on Lake Union – read on:


Seattle Parks and Recreation invites volunteers, supporters of volunteers, and the community to the 2010 Annual Denny Awards for Outstanding Volunteer Stewardship. The event will be held on Tuesday, Dec. 7, at 6 p.m. at the Lake Union Park Armory, 860 Terry Ave. N.

Acting Superintendent Christopher Williams will recognize all nominees, and present awards to winners. Winners will be announced at the event.

Everyone is invited to enjoy great food, unique live performances, and door prizes. This event is free and open the public. This will be one of the last public events at the Lake Union Park Armory before the Museum of History and Industry converts it to a museum.

“Each year, about 40,000 individuals volunteer for Seattle Parks and Recreation, contributing almost 300,000 hours of service, worth nearly $6 million,” said Williams. “The Denny Awards ceremony is our small way of thanking our volunteers for their contribution to making Seattle Parks and Recreation the best it can be.”

The Denny Awards recognize the contributions of volunteers to Seattle Parks and Recreation parks and programs. They are named after David T. and Louisa Denny, who donated land for the first Seattle park in 1884 (Denny Park), where Parks’ headquarters are located.

The 2010 Individual Nominees are:

Francesca Annis, Child Care and Event Volunteer
Francesca is a volunteer at Delridge Community Center in West Seattle. She volunteers weekly in the pre-school program helping the 3- to 5-year-olds with their ABCs, 123s, music, arts, physical activities, and field trips. She also assists staff with special events, including the Fall Carnival and Family Friday Movie Nights. In addition, she created an online community of parents with a Facebook page called “Kiddie Academy Parents.”

David Bills, Volunteer Coach
David is a volunteer at Hiawatha Community Center. He has volunteered at the center for the past eight years, coaching three different basketball teams. He is a great coach with a can-do attitude who inspires the kids to reach their highest potential. He shares his love of the game with the kids, teaching them to be competitive, but never at the expense of sportsmanship. He teaches kids to win and lose with grace and composure.

Darrell Dobson, Deadhorse Canyon/Green Seattle Partnership
For 14 years, Darrell has devoted himself to the restoration and preservation of Lakeridge Park’s Deadhorse Canyon. Deadhorse Canyon is the 39.5-acre, forested portion of Lakeridge Park in Southeast Seattle. During Darrell’s stewardship, those familiar with the canyon have seen it transformed from a little known and largely inaccessible woodland to one of the neighborhood’s most attractive and pleasant natural area parks.

Tom Foley, Southwest Community Center Advisory Council
Tom has been a leader in initiating a number of projects that have increased quality of life for the people who use the Southwest Community Center. He initiated and sought funding for a weight room next to the pool. He also serves as a mentor to the teens who visit the center, directing them to service learning projects and checking in to see how they’re doing. He is the center’s archivist, too — photographing events and people at the center.

Darrell Glover, Alki Community Center Advisory Council
Darrell not only helps lead the center with important policy and monetary decisions through his work on the advisory council, but he also rolls up his sleeves to help out for special events. He advertises events to businesses, parents, and friends before the event; sets up tables, passes out equipment, and supports staff during the event; then takes out trash, sweeps up afterwards, and ensures the work is done before going home himself.

Mike Hemion, Divers Institute of Technology
The shorelines in Seattle are cleaner and safer, thanks to Mike’s ongoing shoreline and underwater cleanups. Teams of divers, organized by Mike, regularly clean trash from submerged parkland, including the shorelines of Lake Washington. A recent cleanup in Leschi yielded 6,000 pounds of trash, including 111 tires, 633 bottles, 499 pounds of building materials, 242 pounds of rope, and 62 bags of garbage.

Darrell Howe and Darcy Thompson, Frink Park
Darrell and Darcy have been active and enthusiastic volunteers, stewards, and volunteer coordinators in Frink Park for more than 10 years. They have worked on coordinated restoration projects in more than 15 of the park’s 27 acres. They have researched and worked hard to eradicate non-native plants that kill off indigenous ground covers, shrubs, and trees. They fight this uphill battle without the aid of power equipment or an irrigation system – to the betterment of the native forest.

Patrick Jones, Plymouth Pillars Off-Leash Area
As the off-leash steward at the Plymouth Pillars off-leash area, Patrick is a leader in both his deeds and attitude. Patrick’s presence at the park offers dog owners a safe and inviting place to bring their furry charges. It also deters undesirable behaviors in the park that could make the off-leash area an unwelcoming place. Patrick builds community by encouraging park users to roll up their sleeves alongside him and get to work.

Paul Kurose, Sensei Karate Teacher
For the past seven years, Paul has been a volunteer karate teacher at Rainier Beach Community Center. Paul’s donation of his teaching time means his classes are financially accessible for nearly anyone who wants to take them. He teaches children and adults in a firm but generous style. He humbly demonstrates community building and service through his actions by inspiring his students to achieve their greatest potential.

Sharon Levine, Walk With Dogs Program
Sharon participates in the Lifelong Recreation programs where she demonstrates leadership in keeping Seattle – and everyplace else she goes – clean of trash and litter. To every event she takes several plastic bags with her and spends a great deal of time picking up man-made debris. Several other Lifelong Recreation program participants have now followed suit, and take trash bags with them too. She has also adopted several parks near her home to help keep them clean.

Ms. Purple, Mentor and Me Program
Ms. Purple is a volunteer at the Jefferson Community Center who established the Mentor and Me Program for teens. According staff at the center, she “is a wonderful, beautiful and devoted individual who has the heart and soul of an angel.” Her program encourages teens to believe in themselves, creates a lifelong bond, and gives them a chance to express themselves thereby gaining confidence.

John & Charlotte Shoecraft, Basketball and Track Program
John and Charlotte are volunteer coaches with the track and basketball programs at Van Asselt Community Center. Not only do they support the center and the youth who participate in athletics, their leadership style is one of inclusivity. They led their teens in raising money that allowed them to attend the Hershey (PA) National Track Meet over the summer. They frequently work behind the scenes to organize programs, plan events, and make sure youth get the support they need.

Paul Talbert, Friends of Seward Park
For more than 10 years, Paul has been the keystone and the always dependable hub of the Friends of Seward Park (FOSP). He is a hard-working leader who listens. He is competent, fair, very hard-working and generous. A fellow member of the FOSP says, “We would not be much of a Friends group without him. And the park would be the worse for it.”

Gary Thomsen, Project Earth Care
Gary is a former Seattle Public School teacher who, with his students, created Project Earth Care – a nationally recognized program that gets youth and community members working together on environmental issues. Under this umbrella, Gary has worked on the Longfellow Creek headwaters project and the Pelly Place and Genesee Ravine revitalization projects. Through his many projects, he has spent more than 800 hours and marshaled more than 1,100 community members and students to help Seattle’s parks.

Natalie “Wolfy” Whitman, Hiawatha Teen Council
At just 17, Natalie is already making a big impact in her community. She is a member of the Hiawatha Community Center Teen Council and the Youth Engaged in Service program. She has helped the center create more organized office systems, reshaped the Teen Advisory Council, designed colorful bulletin boards that highlight the teen program, led younger youth in fun activities, and ran special events at both the Hiawatha and Southwest community centers.

Fran & Bunny Wood, Leschi Natural Area
For the past 15 years, Fran and Bunny have been advocates for the Leschi Natural Area. They have identified funding to support park restoration with native trees and shrubs and led work parties in the park once a month, and are always fun and easy to work with – which inspires many to volunteer with them. The work parties serve not only to beautify and restore the park, but also to build community and neighborhood pride for this very special place.

The 2010 Group Nominees are:

Freeway Park Neighborhood Association, Freeway Park Oversight
Built in 1976 to much national acclaim, Freeway Park became an iconic city park. Unfortunately, it gradually fell into disrepair in the decades that followed – until the Freeway Park Neighborhood Association was formed in 1993. For nearly 20 years, the association has been working to restore the park to its former glory. Today, after a series of restoration and programming efforts led by the association, the park is a welcoming respite in a busy city – full of life, safe for visitors, and accessible to everyone.

Heron Habitat Helpers, Habitat Restoration at Kiwanis Ravine
The Heron Habitat Helpers (HHH) successfully nominated and achieved the first Wildlife Sanctuary in the City of Seattle at Kiwanis Ravine Park. Home of Seattle’s largest nesting colony of Great Blue Herons, the rookery has more than 80 nests. For the past 10 years, HHH has been a leader in conservation, demonstrating exceptional stewardship for the park, providing stellar leadership in enhancing the park, showing significant personal commitment, and generating a sense of community around the park.

Seward Park Playground Improvement Foundation, Playground Development
The Seward Park Playground Improvement Foundation (SPPIF), led by Maura Whalen and Betina Simmons, has been on a three-year-long adventure to create a stellar playground for the people of their community. SPPIF raised more than $300,000 to augment a levy-funded playground improvement project at Seward Park. They dedicated too many hours to count and all the energy they could muster to bring people together in their diverse community around the dream of a new playground for children.

1 Reply to "West Seattle volunteers nominated for Parks' Denny Awards"

  • susieq November 25, 2010 (8:58 pm)

    Congratulations to each and every nominee! You are a big part of what makes Seattle, and especially West Seattle, so great. Thank you!

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