They are an auspicious group of individuals who have helped shape Renton into much of what it is today. They gave countless volunteer hours, opened their pocketbooks, and their hearts, and rolled up their sleeves. They committed acts of service without question.
They are Renton's elite who've earned the title, "Citizen of the Year."
The award has been given since 1969, when the first recipient was Rosalie Evans, a Renton Soroptimist. The organization still gives a scholarship in her name to a woman pursuing higher educational training.
Since 2001, in addition to naming the Citizen of the Year, the program also names two outstanding citizens. The Citizen of the Year program is a collaborative effort between the , and The .
The deadline for nominations this year is September 19. Nominations can be made online, or submitted in hard copy. Nomination forms are available on the City of Renton’s website.
The application form lists the criteria as, "The Renton Citizen of the Year program formally recognizes the contributions made by individuals who help nurture the soul and sense of community in Renton through their selfless acts of generosity and volunteerism."
Other past Citizens of the Year include:
- Ethel Telban, 1977. Telban was a lifelong librarian and worked for 20 years in the .
- Charles DeLaurenti, 1979. DeLaurenti served as mayor of Renton from 1976-1980.
- Char Baker, 1984. Baker was one of the original organizers of , and has worked for years on committees committees that bring arts to the City of Renton. She continues to serve on the board of Allied Arts of Renton, and is instrumental of the success of the .
- Three City Councilperson’s were named Citizens of the Year. Toni Nelson (1985), (1988), and King Parker (1999).
- Nelson served for more than 20 years on the , founded the and the Renton Downtown Committee, serves on the Renton River Days board, and spent many years serving with the South King County Human Services committees.
- Persson has been on the Renton City Council since 1999, served for 33 years with the Renton Police Department, has served on numerous boards and commissions, and has been an active Renton Rotarian and volunteer with Communities in Schools of Renton.
- is a current City Councilmember, first elected in 1995, and plans to retire after this year. Owner of , Parker has been a committed member of the community for more than 40 years. He has been a committed Renton Rotarian, and has served on the boards of Renton Technical College foundation, Communities in Schools of Renton, The Renton Community Foundation, and the Renton Chamber of Commerce.
- (2001)—an advocate of education, the arts, and the community, Kyes regularly gives his time and talent to organizations that need his artistic help. He continues to volunteer regularly in Renton classrooms on art projects.
- State Representative, (2004). Maxwell’s contributions to Renton cross every spectrum – business, politics, education, and charity work. She was a founding member of the Renton Community Foundation, formed the Maxwell Fund for Youth and Families, provided leadership to the Renton High School Excellence in Education committees, and served on the before she was elected as State Representative.
- Retired King County District Judge, Robert (Bob) McBeth (2006). Judge McBeth has been instrumental in raising thousands of dollars for charity in the Renton community. An active Rotarian to this day, Judge McBeth continues to work weekly at the Renton Rotacare free medical clinic, helped to raise over $200,000 for the Renton Rotary, and was instrumental in raising funds for the . He has served on the board for for many years.
- Rev. Kirby Unti (2007). Unti has been a long-time advocate for , Salvation Army, 40 Assets, Connection Adult Day Care, Congregations for the Homeless, the , and the Emergency Feeding Program and is a member and past president of Renton Rotary.
- Norma Cugini (2008). The Cugini family founded Barbee Mill and Mrs. Cugini has been a stalwart of community giving, touching virtually every non-profit organization in Renton. She was instrumental in founding the (KCSARC), the Downtown Renton Association, the first chair of the , and instrumental in the fundraising for the Salvation Army Food Bank.
- Jim Medzegian (2009), a retired Boeing executive hasn’t rested since his retirement. He organizes (passionately) the which benefits youth in the community and brings thousands into downtown Renton. He works tirelessly for the Piazza Renton group which organizes many of the downtown Renton events, including the and regularly volunteers for the Renton Chamber of Commerce.
- And last year’s recipient, Dr. Bob Thompson from who has worked in healthcare for more than 25 years, continues to be an advocate for the those who are less fortunate and need access to quality healthcare. He continues to volunteer weekly at the Rotacare’s free medical clinic, located at the site of the Renton Food Bank.
The Citizens of the Year Banquet is November 3 at the Renton Senior Activity Center at 5 p.m. The cost for the banquet is $35 per person. Reservations can be made on the Chamber of Commerce web site, or call 425-226-4560.