Renton honors Citizen of the Year, two Outstanding Citizens for 2010

Renton honors Citizen of the Year, two Outstanding Citizens for 2010Dr. Bob Thompson has delivered hundreds of babies and helped make sure that those without insurance receive medical care.
Terry Higashiyama is "conspicuously outstanding."
And Jeff Reynolds is simply "good people."
These three community volunteers were honored last week for their contributions to Renton and its residents at the Citizen of the Year banquet at the Renton Senior Center.
Thompson, who has his own family practice at Valley Medical Center and is on the hospital's executive management team, is the 2010 Citizen of the Year. Reynolds and Higashiyama were honored as the 2010 Outstanding Citizens.
The roughly 200 people in attendance dined on a salmon dinner prepared by Don Persson and Larry Sleeth, partners in Don and Larry's BBQ Catering. Assisting in the kitchen were George Stahl, Kevin McQuiller and Ken Taylor.
Mayor Denis Law was master of ceremonies, filling in for Pastor Kirby Unti. Surrounded by family members, the three honorees were introduced by community leaders who have been recognized themselves for their contributions to Renton.
"Renton is built on citizens like Terry Higashiyama," said Dolores Gibbons, former superintendent of the Renton School District and a past president of the Renton Rotary Club.
Higashiyama is the administrator of the City of Renton Community Services Department.
Higashiyama serves as president of two community organizations, the Renton Rotary Club and the Renton Technical College Foundation. She was a founding member of Communities in Schools of Renton.
She recognized her family and her "other" family, the Renton community, which she described as "amazing." If something needs to get done in Renton, she said, someone will step up and do it.
She was at the dinner early, helping to set up the tables. She tracked down a hand-pushed sweeper to do a little last-minute cleaning.
Jim Medzegian, last year's Citizen of the Year, introduced Reynolds, a Renton police officer for 20 years. Reynolds has served Renton "beyond the call of duty," Medzegian said. He's a "mainstay" at the Renton Farmers Market during the summer, he said.
Reynolds has done nearly everything on the police force, except for being a motorcycle cop, which drew a laugh from the crowd. His "passion" is serving as a school resource officer, including at Renton High and Hazen.
"I get so much back from those kids," Reynolds said.
What the students need, he said, is "our support and some mentoring."
Thompson, the Citizen of the Year, was introduced by Rich Roodman, chief executive officer of Valley Medical. Roodman introduced Thompson by way of a slide show, filled with photos of Thompson through the years. The laughter flowed.
Each photo carried a"quote" from Thompson, such as: "Am I cool or what?" "Isn't that the guy from "Baywatch?"
Thompson has practiced medicine at Valley Medical Center for 26 years and is the hospital's vice president for physician relations.
Thompson played a critical role in the opening of the RotaCare Health Clinic at the Salvation Army Renton Rotary Food Bank and Service Center. Since it opened in 2003, the clinic has provided care to thousands of uninsured people in the region. The sponsors of the clinic are the Renton Rotary Club, Valley Medical Center and Renton Technical College.
At Valley Medical Center, he also was instrumental in opening the VMC Acute Specialty Access Clinic so uninsured patients who can receive free orthopedic care.
Partners in the clinic, besides Valley Medical Center, are the King County Project Access and Valley Orthopedic Associates.
"We work hard to improve the health of our community," Thompson said of the hospital.
Thompson said he was "extremely honored" to receive the recognition. But he also credited the team involved in his various projects for their success. "We aren't really doing this alone," he said, speaking about the importance of partnerships.
He said there's a "culture of volunteerism" at Valley Medical Center. Over the years, he said, he has had the chance to work with some "remarkable people."
Photo Caption: Mayor Denis Law, second from left, stands with the honorees at Thursday's Citizen of the Year banquet. At far left is Jeff Reynolds and at far right is Terry Higashiyama, both of whom were honored as Outstanding Citizens. Next to Law is Dr. Bob Thompson, the 2010 Citizen of the Year.
Photo Credit: Gary Palmer for the Renton Reporter

To other news stories...