Burien City Council Names John Feeney ‘Citizen of the Year’
Burien City Council members unanimously named John Feeney Burien’s 2012 Citizen of the Year on Monday, Feb. 13.
Feeney will be introduced and honored at a reception during the council’s next meeting Feb. 27.
The Citizen of the Year Award is given annually to a person or organization that makes “a significant contribution to the community.”
Feeney, who has participated as a volunteer, working with high school students on local conservation efforts, “is deeply involved with several elementary schools, helping with reading programs and additional warm clothing projects,” his nomination reads.
“John Feeney works himself into the ground to help the people of Burien without asking for anything in return,” it continues. He is described as “a true hero.”
A retired driver/salesman for Gai’s Bakery, he has helped teach students at New Start High School identify and properly remove invasive plants in Salmon Creek Park and Salmon Creek Ravine, working side by side with them “through rain and snow.”
Next, he taught them how to properly plant and mark native plants – an activity for which New Start High School and the students received a King County Earth Hero award.
Feeney did this for a second year, teaching by example “students who had never been taught how to do physical work” and “rose to his challenge.”
He also mentored a student who needed a senior project to graduate in building a greenhouse for the school.
And, the nominating statement notes, he created a clothing bank with donated clothes, racks and more for homeless students attending New Start.
Several council members said privately after their Monday meeting that one of the things they found appealing about Feeney in voting him this award is that he goes about his volunteer activities quietly, never seeking recognition for his contributions to these students.