Nominations Now Being Accepted For Exceptional Volunteers

AmericorpsServe Washington is now accepting nominations for awards to recognize and celebrate exceptional volunteers in communities all across Washington state. These awards honor the exemplary service of individuals, groups and organizations that made a significant and measurable contribution to their communities through volunteer service during 2019. Anyone can nominate a volunteer for this recognition.

Honorees will be recognized April 28, 2020, at a ceremony at the Governor’s Mansion in Olympia.

“One of Washington’s most valuable resources is its people. Their commitment to strengthening our state through service and volunteerism is invaluable,” Gov. Jay Inslee said. “I am grateful for their generosity and hope individuals and organizations from across the state will submit nominations so we can honor volunteers for their outstanding commitment.” 

In 2019, the Governor’s Volunteer Service Awards honored 19 individuals. Derek Yoshinaka was honored in the animal welfare category. Yoshinaka, a Regional Animal Services of King County volunteer for 15 years, has helped get dogs adopted, among other nurturing activities.

“It was an honor and a privilege to be recognized as one of so many people who are doing so much for their communities around the state,” Yoshinaka said. “Talking to the other recipients about what they do and hearing their passion for it was incredibly uplifting and rewarding.”

Vancouver resident Helen Sutfin received her award in the education category. She volunteers with the Washington State School for the Blind where she plans and teaches monthly seasonal art activities.  

“I was very honored to receive this award,” Sutfin said. “Teaching crafting to the blind is an experience that has humbled me beyond belief. Helping students create a simple item is an honor that brings great joy to all involved.”

Serve Washington, the bipartisan Governor-appointed commission on national and community service, provides leadership and vision alongside local volunteer organizations, civic and community groups and units of government to make service a part of the lives of all Washingtonians. The Governor’s Volunteer Service Award honors these volunteer contributions and strives to raise awareness of volunteer impacts across the state.

Nominations are accepted for the following categories:


  • AmeriCorps alumnus

  • Animal welfare

  • Arts and culture

  • Disaster preparedness and response

  • Education

  • Environment

  • Health care

  • Human or social services

  • Public safety

  • Teen (13–18 years old)

  • Veteran

  • Youth (up to 12 years old)

National service

  • AmeriCorps member

  • VISTA member

  • Senior Corps program participant


  • Citizen Corps program

  • Community-based program/organization

  • Employer-based program

  • Service group

  • Volunteer family

Nominations may be submitted onlineuntil 5 p.m., Jan. 30, 2020.