Spirit of America Award

The Spirit of America Award is given to individuals who were born abroad and have enriched our Pacific Northwest region by sharing their ethnic backgrounds while pursuing their chosen profession. It is presented at a special reception held in cooperation with the City of Seattle, the Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce and the American Immigration Lawyers’ Association. The Spirit of America Heritage Award is presented to a Native American who epitomizes the Spirit of America.


Marianne Forssblad, Director of the Nordic Heritage Museum

Yaffa Maritz, Founder of the Stroum Jewish Community Parenting Center

Hezekiah Orji, President of the Nigerian Community Association of Washington

Son Michael Pham, Founder of Kids Without Borders

Spirit of America Heritage Award – Cecile Hansen, Chairwoman of the Duwamish Tribe


Ark Chin, Chairman Emeritus of Kramer, Chin & Mayo Inc., a founder of the Kin On Nursing Home and Member of the University of Washington Board of Regents

Dr. George E. Taylor, Founder of the University of Washington’s Far Eastern and Russian Institute, precursor to the Jackson School and Founding President of the Washington Council on International Trade

Hazel Wolf, Recipient of the National Audubon Society’s Medal of Excellence, State of Washington “Citizen of the Century” and Secretary of the Seattle Audubon Society since 1964.

Spirit of America Heritage Award – Vi Hilbert Tahqwshublo, Upper Skagit Elder, author, teacher and a leader of the Lushootseed people and declared a Washington State Living Treasure in 1989

Photo courtesy of Jal Schrof.