Tickets available for July 27 event honoring Mary’s Place as the 2022 Seattle-King County First Citizen Award Recipient

Bellevue, Washington (June 23, 2022) – Reservations for the July 27 civic celebration of Mary’s Place, this year’s Seattle-King County First Citizen Award recipient, are now available at The event, held annually since 1939, commemorates community leadership, volunteerism, and public service.

This year’s ceremony, which includes dinner preceded by a no-host reception, will be held at the Seattle Aquarium (Pier 59, 1483 Alaskan Way) from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Ticketholders are invited to observe the otter feeding at 6:30 p.m. Another feature of this year’s event is the opportunity to help underwrite tickets so team members from Mary’s Place can attend the celebration as hosted guests.

Guest speakers at this year’s 84th annual First Citizen banquet include Washington State Rep. David Hackney and John Schoettler, vice president of Amazon’s Global Real Estate and Facilities. Rev. Dr. Linda Smith will deliver the invocation. Marty Hartman, executive director since 1999, will accept the award on behalf of Mary’s Place. Joyce Taylor, KING 5 news anchor, will serve as master of ceremonies.

Broker Trish Coy, chair of the First Citizen Committee, said Mary’s Place is only the third organization to receive the First Citizen Award, which usually recognizes individuals, couples or families. (The list of past recipients may be viewed here.) Coy said the Seattle-based nonprofit organization was singled out for its thoughtful and innovative approach to providing safe, inclusive shelter and housing solutions for families, along with its adaptability during the coronavirus pandemic.

Tributor John Schoettler helped lead Amazon’s collaboration with Mary’s Place to create a temporary family shelter in a repurposed motel the company owned in South Lake Union. He was also instrumental in the development of a new family shelter for Mary’s Place on Amazon’s urban campus in downtown Seattle. The 47,000-square-foot space provides shelter for more than 200 family members in 65 rooms.

The second featured speaker, Rep. David Hackney, was elected to the state House of Representatives for a term starting in January 2021. He represents the 11th Legislative District covering parts of South Seattle and South King County. The attorney and activist is known for his advocacy for social equity. He is an adjunct professor at the University of Washington School of Law and was a Gov. Jay Inslee appointee to the Washington Human Rights Commission.

Rev. Dr. Smith is founder and executive director of the SKY Urban Institute (Empowerment and Transformation Center). She has been actively involved in many social arenas speaking and advocating for issues of equity, justice, race relationship, and homelessness in the Greater Seattle and South King County area and has been a part of the Mary’s Place family for more than ten years.

Lara Weasea, vice-chair of the First Citizen Committee, said the selection committee was especially impressed with how Mary’s Place met the early challenges of COVID-19, noting they managed the closure of four small congregate family shelters due to the need for social distancing and to keep guests and staff safe. She said the region’s largest family emergency shelter provider also had to adjust to reductions in food program donations, help families manage school closures and distance learning, and other disruptions, all without returning any family to homelessness, laying off staff, or ending programs.

Tickets for this year’s First Citizen event are available online from Seattle King County REALTORS® (SKCR). The same link may be used to host Mary’s Place staff or volunteers. Organizations interested in reserving a table of 12 or sponsoring the 2022 First Citizen event can contact Darla White at the REALTOR® association office, 425-974-1015.

About the First Citizen Award

The Seattle-King County First Citizen Award salutes “giving back” whether by “time, treasure or talent” and civic engagement that enhances the region’s quality of life. Past recipients hail from both the public and private sectors, ranging from humanitarian groups, corporations, charitable, health and educational institutions, to various arts, environmental, and civic organizations.

Since its inception in 1939, the First Citizen Award, believed to be this region’s oldest such recognition, continues to celebrate community leadership, volunteerism, and public service.

The civic banquet to honor the annual recipients is a not-for-profit celebration of civic engagement presented by Seattle King County REALTORS® in partnership with Windermere Real Estate and John L. Scott Real Estate, plus sponsors Tinte Cellars and Zillow.