At the Burien Community Center on Friday night, Mar. 10, 2023, local business nonprofit Discover Burien held its first awards dinner since 2019, and they had some making up to do.

Due to the COVID pandemic, the first batch of winners they honored are from 2020 – the year they had to cancel the event – so these people have waited three years to get their much deserve awards.

None had been given out since 2019, as subsequent events since then were canceled.

Public Servant of the Year: Mark Hayden

“Public Servant of the Year went to someone we all probably know and recognize. This individual works tirelessly to keep our Downtown Commercial area safe, responding to issues and really caring for our community….not just because he is a Burien Police 
Officer but also because this is HIS COMMUNITY. Burien is lucky to have him.”

Best Employer Award: The Point Liquor and Eats

“Best Employer Award goes to a business that opened in 2016 with great success in being the neighborhood “3rd Place.” We can honestly say we have never had bad service and the staff are like family to the community.”

Best Bloody Mary Award: The Point Liquor and Eats

“Each year we pick a different category for the community to vote on. In 2020 we picked best Bloody Mary! This Award goes to The Point Liquor and Eats, who by the way has won ‘Best Drink’ in the Taste of Burien a few times!”

Volunteer of the Year: Jean Boyd

“In 2020 the community voted on the volunteer of the year, and gave it to Jean Boyd. Jean has been volunteering for many years at the White Center Food Bank and Burien CARES. She transports animals for the shelter and she also picks up and delivers food to the White Center Food Bank and volunteers at other non-profits.”

Super Heroes of Discover Burien

“The Pandemic was hard on us all – our community worked together to still be here today. We want to take a minute to acknowledge the work of everyone in this community, We have picked out a few that really stood out to us as an organization, these are our super heros of Discover Burien and the community.

“In 2020, Discover Burien had to pivot and figure out ways to reach the community; they did this in many ways and one of those was with creating a Drive-In Theatre.

“Doing these movies was not a small undertaking and we want to take a moment to acknowledge our Super Heroes that help make this happen.”

Super Hero Award: Volunteer of the Year: Lynda Isernio

“The first person we are going to acknowledge is a mainstay in all our community events, generally the first one on site and last to leave. She never likes to be acknowledged for
her volunteering, but this organization would not be where it is today without her. 
I am pretty sure you all know who I am talking about, Lynda Isernio please come and
get your Super Hero Award – Volunteer of the Year!”

Super Hero Award: Greg Ahrens

“We cannot just acknowledge Lynda for her work at the Movies, we did have help and most of the time that help we had another volunteer or could we say volunTOLD. Either way he showed up and helped use each Friday and Saturday night in 2020 – Greg Ahrens!”

Super Hero Award: Emerald City Smoothie/Dan Tamburelli

“In 2020 we had so many businesses step up and help out, too many to name for sure. We had one business in particular stand out to us. One who quietly meant so much to the St. Anne / Virginia Mason Hospital staff. This business donated over 700 smoothies to the staff during the time they needed it the most. We cannot thank them enough and we want to acknowledge their great act of kindness.”

Super Hero Award: Burien CARES

“Another group we want to acknowledge is Burien CARES. The advocates for our Burien Animals. The Pandemic was increasingly hard on all Animal Shelters, surrender rates went way high, animal abuse when up and shelters became extremely full. Just like the Police and Fire, Burien CARES was also an essential worker and had to show up every day to take care of the Animals in need.”

Super Hero Award: Para Los Niños

“The next award goes to a group who work on outreach to get as many people vaccinated as we could. The had pop up vaccinations many many times to get families the vacines they needed. We got to see this first hand outside our back door. Para Los Niños is another one of those quiet organizations that does so much for the community.”

Super Hero Award: St. Anne Hospital

“The next Award goes to the hundreds of people that run our local St. Anne Hospital. The staff working on the floor in the hospital for their commitment and care during the COVID-19 Pandemic.”

  • Deepak Devasthali 
  • Toni Swenson, RN 
  • Aparna Ananth, MD 
  • Frederick Troncales, MD 
  • Karen Dykes, ARNP 
  • Deborah Dullenty, RN 
  • Kristen Musialek, RN
  • Oksana Buckholz, RT

Jeff Kearney Award: Frontline Workers Nina Santana, Tanner Pempeit & Alestaire Echovia

“Discover Burien normally does the Jeff Kearney Award. Jeff was a special needs worker we had years ago that ended his career with us when he got hit by a car in White Center. This years Jeff Kearney Award will not be given to just one worker. It will be given to Our Frontline Workers – we have four Special Needs individuals who would show up daily and did their job during the pandemic. These workers never complained and even though we could not see their smile because of the masks, we are sure they were smiling.”

  • Nina Santana
  • Tanner Pempeit
  • Alestaire Echovia

Pandemic Rockstar: Doug Query

“Doug Query could not be with us tonight as he is recovering from surgery, but we will get him his award.”

Pandemic Rockstar: Andrew Jutila

“The next award goes to Andrew Jutila. Andrew Jutila not only manages the crew, he also works with Debra in setting up events, picking up trash and working with the homeless population. We are so proud at how far Andrew has come in his life and look forward to his continue growth.”

Pandemic Rockstar: Denise Ferguson

“In 2020 when we had to pivot we took this time to build out a Makerspace. This space has 3D printers, Laser Engravers, CNC machine, Podcast Room and we even have a Plasma cutter. We could not have been able to do this with our Project Manager Denise Ferguson.
She herself put together the Makerspace, piece by piece. She is a mighty force and she 
was determined to get it done. We give this next Award to our Rockstar Denise Ferguson.”

Pandemic Rockstar: Shari Papczum

“Our organization is built of mainly volunteers and a small staff. We are mighty in what we do and we could not do it without so many great volunteers. In 2022 we where blessed by an individual that continues to give of her expertise and her time to make us a better organization. You probably have seen some of her work with the launch of our new website, and the re-launch of our After Hours – Shari Papczum with Inneractivate – SHE IS AMAZING!”


Below are photos from the event, courtesy Discover Burien (click arrows to view gallery):

Discover Burien was founded over 20 years ago with a simple goal – build community. Everyday our team continues to be dedicated to this goal.”

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