2012 Unsung Hero award winners | 19th Annual Community Summit

The following women were the Unsung Hero award winners for 2012. They were selected from a pool of candidates considered for their service to the community outside political or professional positions of power; in other words, people who help simply because they can help and enjoy doing it. They were presented their awards in front of the 19th Annual Community Summit, held at Calvary Community Church in Sumner.

The honorees were:

Zina Golden – Zina has lived in Bonney Lake for 31 years and has been an active parent volunteer in the Sumner School District for 13 years. She has taken on many leadership roles in the schools, including serving on the PTO boards at three schools, giving countless hours managing the BLHS choir uniforms, and providing daily assisting at drama rehearsals and productions. Zina has served on an extensive list of school and district committees, volunteered at numerous special events, a regular classroom volunteer, and assisted in the office at Sumner High School. During the past two years, Zina has also been a volunteering in the office at Exodus Counseling and Treatment Services in Sumner. She is also active in women’s ministries and helps with sound technology at her church. Zina wanted to be part of the school environment where her children spent the majority of their day. Through supporting teachers, administration, and student activities, Zina has significantly impacted the learning environments in her school and strengthen many programs.

Rachel Heckroth – Rachel is a senior and International Baccalaureate student at Sumner High School. Although Rachel is active in her school with National Honor Society, a class officer, and a French tutor, it is her outreach through her church community in Lake Tapps that has impacted so many lives, both near and far. Rachel serves as the president of her Church Youth Council and is the youth representative to the Synod Council of Southwest Washington, is on the planning committee for the Pierce County Youth Hunger Summit, and coordinates service projects for the youth group. Rachel is a compassionate young woman who dreams and works for a just world. She is currently fundraising for her sixth mission trip and, after traveling to Kenya and witnessing the suffering first-hand, Rachel’s goal is to someday work with HIV/AIDS patients in developing countries. A mentor, advisor, and a role model for younger students, Rachel has shown that love and compassion tempered with hard work are key to making this world a better place.

Jan Sanford – Jan has been a Sumner school and community volunteer for over 20 years. A long-time Sumner Rotarian, Jan assumed a leadership role in raising funds for the YMCA and has been tireless in her energy and commitment to see this dream come to reality. Jan is instrumental in the “Backpack for Food” program through the Sumner Food Bank, which serves over 100 students. Jan is a member of the Sumner-Bonney Lake Education Foundation and sponsors many fundraisers that enhance the group’s ability to fund scholarships for local graduating seniors. She has a heart to truly serve each and every youth in our community who is experiencing financial hardship and took on the personal challenge to help a homeless BLHS senior get a chance to make it through high school and apply for college. Jan works with several low-income students to help them fill out applications and pursue programs after graduation. Jan is a constant source of encouragement and support and has made a powerful difference in our community.

Gabby DeGoede – Gabby is a senior at Sumner High School. Her character and leadership abilities distinguish her as a hero to those around her. A true servant-leader who does her work quietly, behind the scenes, Gabby helps make amazing things happen. Gabby has chaired the free community dinner, which provided toys for over 200 children and served dinner to 750 people. She helped fundraise the $6,000 needed for this winter wonderland event. Gabby also put on a Homecoming Social for close to 1,000 students and helped at the Sumner High School Benefit Night for a cancer patient. Described as patient and kind with everyone she interacts with, Gabby understands that it’s the little things you do that make the biggest difference and that the key to putting on big events is to build relationships along the way. Because of this, the Sumner community has benefitted in real and powerful ways. Gabby has the special combination of character and personality so effectively mixed with a desire to serve one’s community.

Barb Wigton – Barb is the Records Clerk for the Bonney Lake Police Department and has been the Coordinator for the Bonney Lake Giving Tree for well over 20 years. Each year, Barb coordinates with local school to obtain family information for students who would be without Christmas if it were not for this project. Almost 900 students received Christmas presents this year. Barb solicits help from the community to purchase gifts, make donations, sort and catalog donations, wrap gifts, and ensure that everyone on the list gets a gift. An annual food drive is also a part of this event and the food is distributed to the local food banks and area senior citizens. With Barb’s help, more than 17,000 food items and $3,675 were collected this year alone. When everything is distributed and all packages are delivered, Barb doesn’t waste any time in starting to gear up for the Giving Tree event for the next Christmas season.

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