Puyallup: Sumner

Community leaders, parents, students to gather for 22nd annual Community Summit

For 22 years, the Sumner/Bonney Lake Communities for Families Coalition has informed, inspired and gotten folks involved in their community at the annual Community Summit.

“The annual community summit helps to keep issues of importance for youth and families on the front burner for policy makers,” said event organizer Marilee Hill-Anderson.

Summits in years past have included subjects such as the development of the Family Support Center, initiation of a sidewalk campaign and other issues facing the community. This year, organizers are saying the March 19 event at Mountain View Middle School, 10921 199th Ave. Ct. E., Bonney Lake, is one not to be missed.

Pre-summit sessions begin at 3 p.m and last until 4:45 p.m. The first option for attendees to check out is a review of the 2014 Healthy Youth Survey, in an effort to help support youth reduce their risk of harmful behavior. The second option is entitled ‘Hello Neighbor!,’ a project expected to unite youth and adults. The last pre-summit option is a miniature version of the annual Beautify Bonney Lake event.

Once the pre-summit events conclude, next on the docket are breakout sessions.

Breakout sessions will include discussions about the upcoming U.S. Open golf tournament and how it relates to Sumner, the Beyond the Borders free transportation service provided by Pierce County Community Connections and the iChoose Positive Community Norms Campaign.

Organizers will also recognize recipients of the Community Impact/Unsung Hero awards during a complimentary dinner. The awards recognize individuals striving to make the communities of Sumner and Bonney Lake better. The evening will conclude with Sumner native and motivational speaker Jim Martinson giving the keynote address.

After losing both of his legs in the Vietnam War in 1968, Martinson began racing wheelchairs in 1976, competing in both road races and track events. Then in 1981, Martinson founded Shadow Products, creating sports equipment for the physically disabled.

While it would have been easy for Martinson to let his physical disability limit him, what’s kept him going all these years is the positivity of family and friends.

“The biggest one is a real positive family and a real positive community,” he said. “My dad was in World War II, I had three brothers and lots of friends, so after I got hurt, they just kept coming out to Madigan (Army Medical Center) and challenging me, and just saying, ‘Hey, you’re all right.’ Once I figured out I was all right, I could figure out how to do the rest of the stuff.”

When asked what’s been the most challenging part of living an active lifestyle, Martinson says it has actually come pretty easy to him.

“I’m a person that wants to stay in pretty good shape and working out and stuff like that,” he said. “I snow ski whenever we have a good winter. I golf a lot, I ride my hand cycle. In my past, I’ve run the Boston Marathon and trained thousands and thousands of miles in a racing wheelchair. All of that was a means to an end, it wasn’t an end in itself. It’s just something I like to do.”

A decorated war veteran and a stellar athlete, Martinson says his biggest accomplishment is his family.

“Having a family that you love, and they love you,” he continued.

The accomplishment that had another big impact on him was winning the Boston Marathon in 1981.

“It brought the most attention,” he said. “At that time, I was nominated to go on the cover of the Wheaties box. I was given all these neat awards ... I never dreamed it would have been that big.”

While his speaking topic for the event has yet to be released, he did share what folks can glean from his speech at the event.

“I challenge people to move on and keep a good focus on what they should be doing ... and not give up when things get tough,” he said.

Pre-registration is required for the event. For more information and to register, visit www.sumnersd.org/headlines/CommunitySummit15.html.