Editor’s note: This is the fourth year Seattle Times Opinion has honored community members for their contributions in the past year. The inspiration for this feature is a 1937 Seattle Times cartoon by Sam Groff, which Times editorial page editor Kate Riley shares in a column.

Don’t despair at the shenanigans in the other Washington. This Washington has benefited richly from the contributions of many people either through sustained public service or poignant actions that make us all better.

Once again, The Seattle Times editorial board is celebrating real givers in our community — people who have improved our quality of life, or even just our mood — through generosity, commitment to public service, business or sporting accomplishments.

Through the leadership of Seattle Police Lt. Sina Ebinger, a community liaison extraordinaire, Seattle’s Navigation Team is making progress with homeless outreach and services. Across the lake, Kent Hay has been instrumental in developing Redmond’s coordinated response to homelessness, balancing compassion and accountability. Twenty-five years after founding Real Change to raise awareness and organize around issues of homelessness in Seattle, Tim Harris continues to amplify the voices of people directly affected by this crisis.

Microsoft President Brad Smith offers thoughtful leadership on a range of issues, including a creative $500 million package of loans and grants for regional housing.

U.S. Rep. Denny Heck, who announced he would not run for a fifth term, represented his constituents and the state well as a member of the House Intelligence Committee. The TVW founder was also a member of the state Legislature.


Through the new Center for an Informed Public, the University of Washington and Washington State University are building a powerful resource to help Americans distinguish legitimate journalism from misinformation and disregard bogus “fake news” cries.

Thanks to the leadership of state Rep. Tina Orwall, D-Des Moines, the state is making progress clearing a backlog of untested sexual assault evidence kits. The work has led to criminal charges and gives survivors the possibility of justice.

After an utterly preventable outbreak of measles, which hit Clark County particularly hard, the state Legislature advanced public health by eliminating philosophical exemptions to measles vaccine requirements this year.

Steve Pool of KOMO-TV and Lori Matsukawa of KING 5 retired after 40 and 36 years, respectively. They served the community with skill and grace.

Seattle Reign FC’s own Megan Rapinoe won the Golden Ball and the Golden Boot for her outstanding play leading the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team to a World Cup title. She takes brave political stances and charmed the nation with a single iconic pose. Seattle Sounders Coach Brian Schmetzer, a Seattle native and pillar of the soccer community, led the team to a second MLS cup this year.

Rosalie Fish, a champion high school runner and a member of the Cowlitz tribe, brought a laser focus to the plight of missing and murdered indigenous women by dedicating her performance at the state 1B track and field championship to the cause. She ran her races with a hand painted over her mouth to represent those who cannot speak for themselves.


The National Nordic Museum is on a roll, celebrating Scandinavian heritage and immigrants who helped build Seattle, in its new space in Ballard. This year, Congress designated it a national museum.

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Over six years guiding the UW football team, Chris Petersen placed the Huskies into the Rose Bowl and College Football Playoff and taught players his “built for life” philosophy for the world beyond football.

Ken Balcomb works tenaciously to boost Puget Sound’s endangered orca population through the Center for Whale Research, which he founded in 1985, and as a member of the governor’s Orca Task Force.