Tukwila Hero To Be Honored At Red Cross Breakfast Thursday


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Tukwila resident Serges Hakizimana (pictured, left) will be honored on Thursday, March 11th, by the American Red Cross at their 2010 Heroes Breakfast in downtown Seattle.

Hakizimana, originally from Burundi, has been serving as part of the Red Cross Language Bank in Seattle, where he learned how to bring people together and help them understand each other. From there he started organizing people in other ways, establishing community funds, cultural training and more.

Before Hakizimana was born, his parents fled the ethnic violence of Burundi. They educated their son in refugee camps, which was not an easy task. Although safe from the violence that drove them from their homes, Burundian refugees faced new challenges of confined living, being told where to live and what to eat. They were never required to pay for the things they were given, but nor were they permitted to have jobs or earn money.

In 2007, Serges was one of the first Burundians who relocated to the King County area. Recognizing his unique skill with language, his case worker directed him to the Red Cross Language Bank in Seattle, where Serges learned how to bring people together and help them understand each other. From there he started organizing people in other ways, establishing community funds, cultural training and more.

There are now 30 Burundian refugee families in the Seattle metro area who rely on Serges as their leader. He has taught some of them enough English to find work, and helped others get a small business loan to establish a farm in Kent. Through it all, he serves as a role model, balancing his time between work, volunteer, school and community.

Fifteen heroes will be honored at the 14th Annual Heroes Breakfast – sponsored by Costco Wholesale. Here are the details:

WHAT: 14th Annual Red Cross Heroes Breakfast

WHEN: Thursday, March 11th from 7:30am – 9am

WHERE: Washington State Convention Center, located at 800 Convention Place in Downtown Seattle (Click here for directions)

INFO: All proceeds will support disaster relief efforts in King County. More information available here.

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