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City Hall volunteer retires after 18 years at the front desk

Helenanne Botham has been helping people from her position at the City Hall information desk for 18 years. - Courtesy image
Helenanne Botham has been helping people from her position at the City Hall information desk for 18 years.
— image credit: Courtesy image

When Helenanne Botham started volunteering at Renton City Hall the year was 1995.

Eighteen years have passed and a lot of changes since then and now Botham, who is almost 88 years old, is retiring. She volunteered more than 4,000 hours at the info desk and other city events, like River Days.

“It’s grown a great deal,” she said of City Hall since she started there.

She began her volunteer hours in the old building at 200 Mill downtown Renton.

“Once we got into the new building, it helped that we didn’t have departments spread all over town,” Botham said. “It was very nice to get into the new building and it’s grown since then too. And we’ve of course annexed a lot too in recent years.”

She’s learned a great deal about the way Renton operates and had a good time doing it, from the help desk.

“Helenanne is very congenial, thoughtful, and always helpful,” said Jason Seth, Renton deputy city clerk. “She has a great sense of humor and loved to share stories about her family while working her shift.  She was a prior recipient of the Outstanding Service Award for her volunteer work at Renton River Days.”

Botham has been volunteering for city projects ever since 1982, with the Friendly Kitchen and the Renton History Museum.

“It just interested me the City Hall opportunity,” she said, citing meeting people and a behind-the-scenes peek at city operations as a main interest.

Most recently she’s proud of projects like the Center of Hope day shelter, which is housed in the bottom of City Hall.

Now with eyesight problems, Botham said it will be a challenge to commute from her home in the Highlands to City Hall, so she’s leaving her post. She will miss the City Hall staff and the people she meets at the desk, but looks forward to spending more time with family and friends.

“I’m very proud of Renton; we’ve done a lot of good,” Botham said.

She doesn’t think there was ever a time she didn’t want to volunteer at City Hall.

“It’s just been really very rewarding and really fun,” she said.

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