By Chris Hendrickson, Monitor
The city of Sultan honored resident Susie Hollenbeck during a recent council meeting as a part of Sultan’s Volunteer Spotlight program for the month of January.
Hollenbeck, who has lived in Sultan nearly all her life, is well known for her volunteerism and strong sense of community. She has often assisted in the removal of graffiti and has helped to facilitate the city’s annual “City Wide Pride” spring cleaning event. One of the founding members of the Block Watch program, Hollenbeck is a certified Community Emergency Response Team volunteer and often assists during events like the Sultan School District’s evacuation drill.
A painter by trade, Hollenbeck was diagnosed with ovarian cancer last fall, which has prevented her from being able to perform her physically demanding job. Sultan residents banned together in an effort to assist Hollenbeck during her chemotherapy treatments, earning its catchphrase “big heart, little city.”
Sultan’s Grants and Economic Development Coordinator Donna Murphy gave details of Hollenbeck’s service and City Administrator Ken Walker presented a certificate of honor in appreciation of her extensive volunteer work. Hollenbeck achieved over 311 hours of community service during 2013, in spite of her cancer diagnosis.
“When I asked Susie if she adopted a street, she stared at me and said, ‘I adopted the whole community,’” said Murphy.
Adopt-a-Street is Sultan’s volunteer program which enables residents to be responsible for litter pick-up and disposal on a particular roadway by “adopting” it. Adopt-a-Street was developed by longtime Sultan resident and community activist Bob Knuckey, who passed away in December.
Murphy also praised Hollenbeck for her assistance during the Snohomish County Conservation Futures grant application process which took place last summer. As a result of the application, the city will receive grant funding from the county which will be utilized to acquire the property necessary to develop a trail system connecting Osprey and River Park.
Hollenbeck addressed council, thanking them for the recognition and support.
“It’s been tough. I want everybody to know that the chemo is working,” said Hollenbeck. “I’m getting better.”
Without missing a beat, Hollenbeck gave an update on the city’s seventh annual “City Wide Pride” event, for which she is in the midst of preparing. The volunteer-driven spring cleaning day will take place on Saturday, April 26. Hollenbeck wanted the event to coincide with Earth Day, which takes place earlier in the week.
“Know that I’m still out there; still working hard,” said Hollenbeck.
“There’s hardly any garbage anymore,” she added jokingly. “It really is sort of a letdown when I walk through town and I don’t have a whole lot of stuff to pick up.”
To inquire about how to help with “City Wide Pride,” contact Donna Murphy at Sultan City Hall.
Hollenbeck has six more weeks of chemotherapy after which she hopes to be able to return to work. She later shared that she wanted to express gratitude to all those in the community who have reached out to offer their assistance during her course of treatment.
“The love, support and assistance has been beyond priceless,” said Hollenbeck. “I could never have done so well through the chemo and everything if it weren’t for everyone who has boosted me up both emotionally and financially!”
Hollenbeck could be seen raking leaves along Main Street even throughout her cancer treatments. She has maintained her sense of spunk and commitment to the betterment of Sultan, and is thankful to all who have supported her during the past several months of treatment.
“Thanks to everyone in all the ways that you have helped,” said Hollenbeck.
COMMUNITY AWARDS DINNER
The 16th annual Sky Valley Community Awards celebration dinner will take place on Saturday Feb. 15 at Sultan High School. A social hour and potluck dinner will begin at 5 p.m., followed by the awards ceremony at 6 p.m., both of which will take place in the commons area.
Sky Valley residents will be recognized and honored for their volunteerism and random acts of kindness. The 2014 Sky Valley Citizen of the Year will also be announced during the event.
PLANNING BOARD APPOINTMENT
Sultan City Council unanimously appointed Sean Gossett to the Sultan Planning Board on Jan. 23. Gossett, who has lived in Sultan since 2009, is a senior estimator for the firm M.A. Mortenson Construction; a construction company which specializes in large-scale projects. Gossett was recommended by Sultan Mayor Carolyn Eslick.
City Administrator Ken Walker introduced Gosset to council as a lifelong resident of Washington State and a graduate of Monroe High School. He shared that Gossett has a Bachelor’s of Science in construction management from Central Washington University and also serves as the chair of the Architectural Control Committee for the Sky Harbor Homeowners’ Association.
Gossett supplied the city with a letter of recommendation written for him by Keith Banes, a co-worker at M.A. Mortenson.
“Sean’s leadership style is one that will serve well in a board environment. He has the ability to have an objective discussion about issues, consider the facts and the views of others before coming to a conclusion or setting a direction,” wrote Banes. “He also is intelligent and can express himself and his opinions very thoughtfully.”
Gossett introduced himself to council.
“I appreciate the recommendation and appointment,” said Gossett.
He remarked that he was looking forward to getting caught up and would be spending quite a bit of time familiarizing himself with city code.
“One of my specialties is plowing through large amounts of paper and data quickly,” said Gossett.