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Three Renton volunteers to be honored by Gov. Inslee
For 12,500 hours – that's about 300 work weeks, 93-year-old Grace Hanson has served coffee and cake at the Renton Senior Center coffee bar and helped the nutrition program run smoothly as its cashier.
Her volunteer efforts have not gone unnoticed, even if it took two tries to get her to come to Olympia to receive her honor. Hanson is one of three Renton residents who will be honored today for their service to their community as part of Washington Volunteer Appreciation Week.
Hanson, along with Raymond Kusumi and Bryan Barnett, will receive a 2013 Outstanding Volunteer Service Award from Gov. Jay Inslee at the Executive Mansion in Olympia today.
Hanson began her volunteer career in 1999, with a tap on her shoulder. Hanson took a short break this week from her barista duties to talk, sitting close to the coffee bar so she could help customers. Hanson pointed to a table off in the distance.
"I was sitting out there, at that table," she says. "The fellow who happened to have that day came out and poked me on the shoulder. He said, 'Do you mind going in there and serving coffee for me? I got to leave,'" she said.
"I didn't know anything about it, but I said sure," she said. "I went in and I've been there ever since."
Hanson was approached last year about receiving the volunteer honor, but she declined. She wasn't sure how she would get to Olympia. Her sons were disappointed she didn't go, she said, so this year she had a ride. She said she loves working at the coffee bar because it keeps her busy.
"She's a sweetheart," called out a customer from a distance.
Hanson sold her car and pickup, so she walks the six blocks to the senior center.
"Six blocks over and six blocks back adds another year to my life," she said, laughing.
A regular in the Renton CROP Hunger Walk, she's collecting donations for the May 5 walk. Hanson was nominated for the award by RSVP of King County. RSVP, part of Senior Corps, is a federally funded national service program and is sponsored locally by Solid Ground.
Raymond Kusumi will be recognized for his leadership of Renton Emergency Communication Service (RECS), where he serves as team leader.RECS provides communications support to the city when normal communications methods are disrupted and also maintains the city’s Neighborhood Information Centers at schools.“The city is fortunate to have a volunteer like Ray,” said Deborah Needham, Emergency Management director. “He provides excellent leadership and dedication to the volunteer groups that he serves.”Under Kusumi’s leadership in 2012, RECS developed portable communications stations and converted a donated aid car into a mobile communications unit, according to the City of Renton. He also was instrumental in getting a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program started at Hazen High School last year.
Bryan Barnett volunteers with Habitat for Humanity Seattle-King County.Barnett helps regularly on site as a construction volunteer and has served in leadership roles for many years at the affiliate. He has created a construction site manual to be used for volunteer construction job site trainings, led volunteer trainings, served as a project manager for the Habitat for Humanity House of the Immediate Future constructed in conjunction with the Seattle Center 50-year Anniversary Celebration, and served as a site supervisor on a Habitat for Humanity construction site.