At Monday night’s Burien City Council meeting (May 17, 2021), Roxana Pardo Garcia, along with Don and Charlette Berg, were voted as joint ‘Citizens of the Year’ for 2020.

After a brief discussion, the idea for a joint nomination was presented by Councilmember Nancy Tosta, and the vote to award both was unanimous.

The Citizen of the Year award recognizes participation and commitment to the community by public, private, and non-profit entities during the previous calendar year.

These two choices were made because both “demonstrated commitment to the public during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Garcia left her job during a pandemic to create Alimentando el Pueblo, a campaign to distribute culturally relevant food items to the Highline area of King County:

“To follow a vision of bringing a culturally relevant food drive to members of the Latinx in a hyperlocal area. She is an organizational genius as well as a visionary.”

About the Bergs:

“Volunteer countless hours at Transform Burien serving our city’s homeless and low income residents. They both have a passion for helping needy individuals in our community and getting to know them as people. They have both worked for Transform Burien for 13+years. In that time they have cooked, served meals, handed out food and clothing and helped the homeless wash their clothes, Transform Burien serves close to 30,000 meals to the homeless each year and Don is there to help get that food out to the homeless. “

The award(s) will be presented at the June 7, 2021 Council meeting, subject to change due to the recipient’s availability.

The purpose of the Citizen of the Year award is to foster a strong commitment to the community by its citizens and encourage participation among public, private, and non-profit entities in community-based activities. While the resolution specifies that the recipient should be chosen in January and presented in March, due to competing priorities, and the fact that COVID delayed the issuance in 2020, this item has been delayed until this time.

The resolution states that “the criteria qualifying a party for this honor are intended to be subjective and broadly construed. It may be for a single contribution in a single calendar year, or for a body of work over any period of time.” However, in the recent past, the recipients received this award based on their actions the previous year.

Previous Citizens of the Year include:

    • Cyndi Upthegrove (2019)
    • Para los Niños (2018)
    • Larry Cripe & Wendy Meyers-Wenger (2017)
    • Cassidy Huff (2016)
    • Eric Mathison (2015)
    • Maureen Hoffmann, Betty Olson Vacca and Neighbors of Seahurst Park (2014)
    • Michael Noakes and Donna DiFiore (2013)
    • John Feeney (2012)
    • Maggie Larrick and Eric Dickman (2011)