Taylor-made to serve her community

Giving back comes naturally to 2017 Citizen of the Year Pam Taylor
By Nicholas Johnson | Jul 05, 2017
Photo by: Nicholas Johnson Pam Taylor has been named Mukilteo’s 2017 Citizen of the Year. She moved to town in 2002 and has been volunteering ever since. “Almost before she unpacked her bags, Pam began volunteering in various community service activities,” Beacon Publisher Paul Archipley wrote in his letter nominating Taylor. “If there’s an event taking place that requires volunteers, odds are you’ll see Pam there.”

As a girl growing up in Oklahoma, Pam Taylor took to heart the value of lending a helping hand.

“As a teenager, I would mow grass for people just as a service, and I loved doing it,” she said. “My reward was knowing I had helped someone do something they couldn’t do for themselves.”

Taylor would also pay visits to fellow members of her Southern Baptist church who had become shut-ins “just to let them know that somebody cared.”

Looking back on it, she’s quick to give her mother credit for instilling in her early on an ethic of service.

“She was always pushing me and my siblings to do for others,” she said. “That was something I was just raised to do.”

Decades later, clear on the other end of the country, she’s still at it, and her new neighbors have taken notice. Taylor was named Mukilteo’s 2017 Citizen of the Year on Wednesday, June 28, during a Mukilteo Kiwanis Club meeting at Spiro’s Pizza & Pasta, though she wasn’t exactly surprised.

“After last year’s big reception honoring Debra Bordsen, [Beacon Publisher and 2008 Citizen of the Year] Paul Archipley walked by me, pointed at me and said, ‘You’re next,’” Taylor said.

Archipley, along with club member Paul Salas and club president Nancy Passovoy, penned the letter nominating Taylor.

“I actually saw the letter come in to the email, but I didn’t read it,” said Taylor, who has worked behind the scenes to organize the nomination and selection process since Tim Taylor, her husband of the past six years, claimed the honor in 2004.

“When Paul read the letter aloud Wednesday night, I was thinking, ‘Wow, who is that person,’” she said. “It is truly humbling to be included in the ranks of the past recipients, but there are any number of others who could have been chosen this year.”

The selection committee received three new nominations this year and pulled five from previous years forward for consideration. A group of eight former recipients gathered at the Taylors home in Mukilteo and Pam left to let them deliberate, as has become tradition.

“I set up hors d'oeuvres and beverages, and then I took off,” she said.

In an effort to preserve the process’s integrity, Tim also sat the deliberations out, but said those who cast votes were nearly unanimous in their selection.

“There wasn’t a lot of discussion,” he said. “There didn’t need to be; everyone seemed pretty sure.”

In his nomination letter, Archipley describes Taylor as a tireless servant of others, writing: “It’s rare that Pam even takes a weekend off for herself.”

Since moving to town in 2002, Taylor has had a hand in almost every community event Mukilteo has to offer – typically following another’s lead or organizing from behind the scenes – not to mention her favorite volunteer gig: serving hot meals each month to struggling young people at the Cocoon House in Everett.

“That’s something I look forward to every month,” she said of the now 14-year-old initiative of the local Kiwanians that she continues to organize. “I just enjoy that we as adults are out there mentoring, even if just for two hours on a Sunday once a month.”

Taylor said she owes a lot to her husband, whose father, Ed, and uncle Dick were selected as Citizens of the Year in 1979.

“Because of his involvement in the community, it was easy for me to follow in his footsteps,” she said. “If there is ever an example of giving back and doing for the community, Tim is it.”

Taylor said she’s proud to be counted among the other 56 people who have won the award since its first year in 1970, particularly the 2016 winner.

“She has been in this community her whole life,” Taylor said of Debra Bordsen. “The is someone who gives 24 hours a day.”

Taylor will get her name engraved on the plaque that hangs in the Rosehill Community Center. Come Sept. 9, she’ll ride in the Mukilteo Lighthouse Festival parade and be honored during a Mukilteo Historical Society-sponsored ceremony at the lighthouse.

Before that – at 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 26 – she’ll be recognized at a public reception at Harbour Pointe Senior Living, at which time Mayor Jennifer Gregerson will officially present her with a plaque.

In his nomination letter, Archipley described Taylor as being in perpetual motion, and she said she doesn’t expect to slow down now that people are taking notice. In fact, she said she’s inspired to keep pace with what she has found to be a rather selfless community.

“As a whole, this is one of the most giving communities I’ve been apart of,” she said, “so I think I fit in pretty well here.”

Taylor said the secret to her stamina is having the right attitude, something she developed growing in Oklahoma. Thinking back on those years, she said she’ll never forget the words of her seventh-grade teacher.

“She always had these little sayings,” she said. “One of them was, ‘Pretty is as pretty does.’ That one is always in my head. She was saying that what’s on the inside is what really matters. What’s on the inside of me is giving back and doing for others.”

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