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Volunteer Appreciation & Volunteer of the Year: Gary Ashby

Volunteer of the Year: Gary AshbyBINGO2

Issaquah Highlands honored its volunteers on Friday, February 5th at Blakely Hall with a 50’s era party, complete with cocktails and bingo. At this annual party all of our volunteers, and the families who support them, are catered to with gratitude by the staffs of the Issaquah Highlands Community Association (IHCA) and Highlands Council. It can be hard for such volunteers to relax and be waited on, but they get into it, eventually.

This year, our 2015 Volunteers of the Month were reintroduced and thanked. And then we presented the Volunteer of the Year award, a great honor in our community. The community voted in January,
choosing one among the month’s volunteer honorees. All Volunteers of the Month received votes, but the one who received the most was: Gary Ashby!Sahar Kazemi

Gary is our go-to guy for special events such as Highlands Day and the Halloween Festival. He joins the planning committee from the very earliest meetings and takes it all the way through to taking out the garbage. Highlands Council Finance Manager, Michele McFarland, works most closely with Gary. “Gary has contributed to Highlands Day and Green Halloween in many ways, usually staying from setup through cleanup and taking on any extra responsibilities asked of him. Most recently Gary took on full responsibility of one of

VOY2015WEB-71the ticket information booths, from setup, working the booth for the full festival and helping with cleanup. Gary has the whole process down and is able to handle any situation that arises.”

VOY2015WEB-83Gary once reflected, waxing romantically about what in reality is really hard work, “At my first Highlands Day, I got to help set up the venue and then help take everything down after it finished. I had a great time.”

And we have a great time! Gary brings a cheerfulness to everything he does. Michele sums it up, “Gary is a great person and fun to work with. He loves giving back and meeting other people in the Community and he is a great representative of Highlands Council and its mission.  He is an inspiration to anyone who is considering volunteering. He really deserves Volunteer of the Year honors.”

Our Community at Work: The Volunteers
By Christy Garrard, Executive Director, Highlands Council and Dahlia Park Resident

I often have the opportunity to share the Urban Village inner workings of Issaquah Highlands. Recently I was explaining who Highlands Council is and what we do. As I continued, the person’s jaw dropped wider, and wider; “We don’t have any of that in Talus!” she said. True, Talus is also designated an urban village but Issaquah Highland’s differences greatly outnumber the similarities. Why should you care?Your Community At Work April 2015

Because you are invested; when you understand the inner workings of this uniquely designed community you better understand how to use it to YOUR advantage. When you are realizing the full value of something that belongs to YOU it builds pride of ownership. You may have moved here because of the proximity to I-90 and the great schools but you got so much more!

In many master planned communities the HOA is offsite, sometimes out of state! In Issaquah Highlands your Community Association is right here. A recent analysis of other large-scaled communities found no similar, well-organized, community building organizations set up like Highlands Council. HFN, offering state of the art, high-speed, fiber-to-the-home connectivity that is community-owned is also unique. All these benefits are not just better than our neighbors across the valley, but across the United States!  Issaquah Highlands is a special place.

Most importantly, the four major cogs of this community are all led by YOU, the community volunteer. Each organizational cog has a paid staff, with executive leadership, but all of the cogs are turned by volunteer boards made up of homeowners and Issaquah Highlands business and property owners; YOUR neighbors. Boards and committees protect our property values, while resident club and group leaders enrich our quality of life. Leaders are grown from students or once-a-year event volunteers to more regularly contributing roles and eventually to city committees or commissions and beyond. Help keep the community cogs well-oiled and get involved today!

Highlands Council, IHCA and HFN Volunteer Opportunities
How to Inquire or Apply: complete the online form at

Issaquah Highlands Volunteers in 2015
If we missed your name, we are sorry. We tried to get everyone on this list. Please let us know so we can correct the record.

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