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Retired Seattle Storm Champion Sue Bird receives 2023 “First Citizen” Award

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Sue Bird with 2023 SKCR President Sharon O’Mahony. Photos courtesy of Clane Gessel Studio

Retired Seattle Storm player Sue Bird received the 2023 Seattle King County First Citizen Award before more than 200 friends and fans at a civic banquet on May 18. Described as “the most decorated champion this city has ever seen,” the future Hall of Famer is the 85th recipient of the prestigious award celebrating community service, selfless leadership, and philanthropy.

Sharon O’Mahony, 2023 president of Seattle King County REALTORS®, presented the award following a tribute video by the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA), and remarks by emcee Elise Woodward, Jilyne Jarvis, Darnell Samuelson, and Sami Whitcomb.

  • Woodward is a broadcaster with the Storm, Pac 12, ESPN and UW Husky Football.
  • Jarvis is co-founder and executive director of ZGiRLS, which Bird counts as a favorite charity. Jarvis said Bird “has been an integral part of the ZGiRLS family since 2014, and her unwavering commitment to our mission of equipping girls with the skills they need to be confident and resilient has had a profound impact on the lives of countless young girls.”
  • Samuelson, a broker with Lake & Company, who has known this year’s First Citizen for nearly 15 years, spoke of her approachability and unwavering commitment to excellence, calling her a “true Seattle icon who represents the very best of our city.”
  • Whitcomb was a teammate with Bird from 2017-2020, sharing traits as resilient competitors and fan favorites. The former Washington Husky star player rejoined the Storm this season.  

Bird is the first female athlete and only the sixth woman to receive the First Citizen Award. She joins Dorothy (Mrs. A. Scott) Bullitt (1959); Frances P. (Mrs. Henry B.) Owen (1967); Dr. Dixy Lee Ray (1973); Constance W. Rice, PhD (1993); and Phyllis Campbell (2016) as women who have been singled out for the annual salute to community involvement.

Among special guests at this year’s banquet were five of the 20 recipients of 2023 First Citizen Scholarships, which recognize good citizenship and involvement in community service. Todd Shively, designated broker at Ensemble, sponsored the table for scholarship winners.

First Citizen Scholarship recipients Mathida Ngamsiripol, Ella Mei Matias, Callysta Coyne, First Citizen Sue Bird, Kiela Hawk and Samantha Ha.

First Citizen Scholarship recipients Mathida Ngamsiripol, Ella Mei Matias, Callysta Coyne, First Citizen Sue Bird, Kiela Hawk and Samantha Ha.

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.

Seattle King County REALTORS® created the First Citizen Award in 1939. Joining SKCR this year as partners in presenting the annual not-for-profit civic celebration were John L. Scott Real Estate, Windermere Real Estate and Zillow.

Event sponsors were COMPASS, Edward Jones, First American Title Insurance Company, Stone Insulation, Tinte Cellars, and Wallick & Volk.

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