Making a difference

While the Executive is out on vacation, it gives me a chance to step in and share my perspective on Pierce County.

When Bruce returns next Monday, he will be devoting much of his time to putting together a budget proposal for 2018. It will be a lot of numbers but behind those numbers are real people.

Two personal experiences I’ve had over the last few days illustrate the problems real people face every day and the very real difference people like you make to improve their quality of life.

Last week I went grocery shopping at the Safeway store on South Hill. When I got out of the car, I heard a woman screaming. I turned to see an enraged man beating her with his fists. A second man was yelling threats at good Samaritans who were trying to intervene.

There’s no question in my mind I was witnessing an episode of drug-induced rage. The men shoved the woman into a car and sped off.

Several of us stayed at the parking lot to report what we had seen. Deputy Sheriffs Nathan Betts and Christopher Groat arrived within minutes. They deserve praise for their professionalism and compassion, not only for the woman who had been beaten but the witnesses who were traumatized by what they had seen.

Deputies Betts and Groat made a difference in our community and made me proud to be associated with them.

Cutting the ribbon at St. Vincent de Paul

Last Friday, I had the privilege of representing Bruce Dammeier at the grand opening of a new St. Vincent de Paul thrift store at 104th and Canyon Road. The store is run by a few paid staff and a whole lot of volunteers. They make a difference every day for a lot of people who can’t afford to go shopping at Macy’s.

And they do a whole lot more than offer affordable clothing and home goods. They offer showers, home visits and make referrals to other agencies.


Our Sheriff’s deputies make a difference every day, of course, but sometimes the simplest gestures are noteworthy, such as this Facebook post below from late July:

Pierce County Sheriff’s Department

Thank you to our friend Christina, who wrote a very nice note recognizing the good work by Deputy Hoffman. We are proud of his efforts to go “above and beyond” in helping Christina’s mother recover her cherished personal items:

“Last night an absolute waste of skin and humanity smashed three windows in my mom’s van. Right in front of my house, and after a 2,000 mile road trip from Illinois to visit our family.

Among the things stolen were her knitting bag (yeah good luck with the street value on that buddy!), her bag of important papers including a personal collection of recipes that she’s had since high school, and a necklace with sentimental-not cash-value. The start of her time with us has now become a nightmare with calls to banks, credit card companies, insurance claims, and not to mention the perfectly timed rain this morning to shower into her broken windows.

Deputy Hoffman

After calling to report the incident to the Pierce County Sheriff, an officer came to my house and took the report. He told her that a few cars had been hit in the neighborhood and he noticed papers flying all over a major road nearby. He left after finishing the report.

The next part brings tears to my eyes…

He returned two more times, bringing back all the fluttering pieces of paper that were a lifetime of collected recipes and memories for our family. He put them back in the book, and flattened the papers for my mom. So she didn’t have to run all over the road to get them back. This is someone who remembers what it’s like to have a mom and to be a decent human being. He went above and beyond, and I am so grateful to this officer.”

Thank you, Deputy Hoffman.  Your kindness is exemplary.

County employees certainly make a difference but we can’t do it alone. As the saying goes, it takes a village. Don’t forget to support the good works of our County’s many volunteers. Donate what you can; volunteer when you can.

To that end, those of us who work on the 7th floor of the County City Building have signed up for the United Way Day of Caring on Friday, September 15.  I encourage you to get together with your co-workers and sign up for a project that makes life a little better for someone else.  You can get more information here.

Speaking of making life better, thank you to the many County employees who donated blood when the “bloodmobile” was out in front of the County/City Building yesterday. NoraLisa Triplett in Human Resources sets this up on a quarterly basis and I can’t think of a more important thing to give – the gift of life!

Finally, thank you to Ginny Dale and the team who have been organizing the annual Standing Ovation awards.  The countywide Selection Committee has been reviewing your nominations and I look forward to celebrating some outstanding work in October.  Stay tuned for the event details.

Thanks for reading,


Dan Grimm is Chief Operating Officer for Pierce County.