Vote for your favorite Jefferson Awards winner by Friday!
Did you miss Monday's Evening Magazine special?
Watch video clips about the 2012 Washington State Jefferson Award winners here!
And don't forget to vote online!
Richard Adler – Seattle, WA
In his work as a personal injury attorney, Richard worked with a number of clients suffering from Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). Many of his clients and their families struggled to get the care and services they needed. Richard stepped in to fill a void, becoming president of the Brain Injury Association of Washington (BIAWA). He then went to work in the community. In addition to coordinating care and services, Richard has also been the legal guiding light behind two key Washington State bills for TBI survivors. The “Tommy Manning Act,” was named after a TBI survivor and established funding for TBI support services in Washington State - a first! He then championed the “Zackery Lystedt Law” establishing guidelines for the management of concussions for young people involved in sports. It was the first law of its kind in the United States. Richard then forged relationships with nationally known sports physicians, the National Football League, and the Centers for Disease Control, and has fostered the passage of similar legislation in a majority of the 50 states.
Maureen Browning – Snohomish, WA
In 2004, Maureen formed Friendship Adventures (FA) in an effort to better the life of her brother, Dean, who has Down syndrome and others with developmental disabilities. After participating in many Special Olympic sponsored events, Maureen saw a gap in the social network of the participants. She and a group of others formed a “family” in the Seattle area that includes “kids” of all ages, shapes and sizes. Friendship Adventures sponsors a variety of events that incorporate recreation, education and leisure. Adventures include activities such as themed dances, yearly visits from Santa and other community “celebrities” like the Seattle Seafair Pirates, special game and movie nights, and annual trips to Leavenworth for sleigh rides, hayrides and barn dances; all of which engage participants through learning and building friendships. Although Maureen does not take full credit for the success of Friendship Adventures, instead giving credit to her 100+ volunteers, she has dedicated her time, resources and love to the friendly faces of Friendship Adventures.
Greer Gates – Poulsbo, WA
When Greer Gates was 7 years old, the term “cancer” entered her vocabulary when she saw the effects on a family friend, Nancy, who was struggling with ovarian cancer. Greer was inspired to act with a vision that she could make a difference not only for Nancy, but also for so many others affected by this devastating disease. She began making and selling jewelry, donating all the money to cancer research with the goal of someday seeing a cure. Greer, now 14, has sold more than $37,000.00 in her “Jewels of Hope” creations. This success gave Greer a strong foundation for her work and led her to help other kids develop their own charitable projects. Greer is working on a book for other kids about philanthropy and community involvement. It lays out the steps that kids of any age can take to start their own endeavor, including finding a cause they are passionate about, deciding what type of item they can produce and sell or what service they can offer to raise money for their cause.
Maria Koh – Seattle, WA
Maria’s distinguished career at the University of Washington Medical Center as a hospital and clinic nutritionist led to the development of cutting-edge education for health providers and consumers. Early on, she began to extend the reach of her workplace into volunteer work and has made an important difference for children, elderly and new immigrants to this community. Maria has worked with organizations including the NW Kidney Center, Chinese Information Service Center, REACH, Kin-On Nursing Home and the American Diabetes Association. Her many contributions include but are not limited to coordinating other volunteers, advocating for appropriate and culturally relevant outreach in at risk communities, and raising money to build facilities and start or maintain underfunded programs. She has also developed special programs to reach Asian immigrants through her volunteer work with the Seattle School Board, and the Seattle Public Library. For more than 35 years, she has quietly but aggressively helped shape the Seattle community. Her contributions have made a positive difference to the health and well-being of individuals and communities.
Cindy Nofziger – Seattle, WA
Cindy returned to visit Sierra Leone in June of 2004, and a local friend asked if she could help him rebuild a school in his village that was destroyed during the recent civil war. Without any experience, her determination to “try” as she had promised led her to take the first step. She found time nights and weekends to turn drawings by children in the village into notecards and sold them to raise money. That notecards project provided the seed money and soon the village school was built. But Cindy did not stop there. She had seen so many more villages that had been destroyed and children with no place to go and no hope. She founded the nonprofit Schools for Salone and formed partnerships with contacts in Sierra Leone, leveraging land donations by the government and volunteer construction help. The organization is changing lives and communities. It has now built 12 schools, has another under construction, built a library, built water wells in villages and helped to supply books and support teachers.