Tuesday’s regular Edmonds noon Rotary meeting was anything but regular.
The highlight was the surprise presentation of the brand-new Rick Steves Service Above Self award to a worker in the community.
“We wanted to create an award to recognize people who not only work in Edmonds, but who embody Rotary values in their job and their lives,” explained Rotarian Amie Armstrong, who headed up the group tasked with creating this entirely new recognition category.
“The idea for the award came first,” she continued. “But then we needed a name – something that would reflect the spirit of an interconnect between a person’s work/professional life and their passion for doing good in the community. Then someone suggested to name the award for Rick Steves, and it seemed a natural. Rick not only runs his business here — he uses this as a platform to make the community a better place for all.”
She pointed to the recent example of how Steves, founder of Rick Steves Europe, kept his office staff on the payroll during the pandemic despite a vastly diminished workload. Rather than have them sit idle, he asked them to volunteer in the community, essentially paying them to do something important that would help the city remain vibrant through the challenges of COVID.
“And this is just one example,” Armstrong added. “We have a better community because of him — and come to think of it, Europe is probably better off too!”
Rick Steves next took the podium to present the award.
“I’m really excited to have my name on an award that recognizes someone who both works hard for their employer and also uses their passion, talents and care to the betterment of the community,” he began. “I don’t want to be a shill for an award that merely recognizes folks who work hard for their boss. I want my name on an award that recognizes people who work hard to make their community a better place, who put community above self – and I’m glad to report that we’ve found the perfect recipient. I am truly honored to announce that the first Rick Steves Service Above Self award goes to Terra Mangum.”
An Edmonds native and nurse with a doctorate in adolescent medicine, Mangum has worked for the past decade as a nurse practitioner at Virginia Mason Medicine (formerly Edmonds Family Medicine) just across the street and down the block from her alma mater, Edmonds-Woodway High School. In addition to working at her job, Terra and husband Zack have found their own personal mission, opening their home to adolescents who otherwise would have nowhere to live.
“I can’t think of anything more heroic than taking an adolescent into your home” quipped Steves. “It’s a perfect example of service above self.”
Then it was Mangum’s turn to tell her story.
“Over the past five years, Zack and I have shared our home with 25 young people between 5 and 19 years old,” she explained. “We’ve found our personal mission in focusing on kids who have a tough time being placed in foster care — like teens. We’re passionate about changing the statistics on fosters – most don’t attend college, and many don’t graduate high school. We’ve had up to five fosters in our home at one time, and this is in addition to our own two ‘bio kids’ Aria (2.5 years) and Soren (13 months). And we’re currently in the process of adopting Noor, one of our fosters who’s now 22 years old. This work has become our life. We’ve remodeled our home to accommodate everyone, taught four teens to drive, and had a high school grad every year.
“I’ve lived in Edmonds all my life, and I love it here,” she concluded. “This award is a complete surprise – I came here today thinking I was meeting a friend for lunch! I’m so honored to be chosen for this award. I’m shocked — I just don’t know what to say.”
— Story and photos by Larry Vogel