During this year’s State of the County Address I had the honor of telling our community about the great work you’ve been doing on behalf of our residents as well as some tremendous community collaborations where we play a variety of roles.

I also shared a new concept with them: The Pierce County Way.  I’ve started using it to describe our approach to how we get things done together.  The Tacoma News Tribune used a video excerpt about The Pierce County Way in their story.

If you haven’t had a chance to watch the entire address, you can view it here:

During my remarks, I mentioned the new Coffee Oasis for youth experiencing homelessness.

The new shelter/coffee shop/job training site was modelled after a Coffee Oasis that has operated in Kitsap County for 20 years.

I’m grateful that former Tacoma Police detective Terese Carroll and an army of determined moms made this happen for our region’s youth at the old St. Ann’s orphanage.

Here are a couple of photos from the dedication.

The old St. Ann’s orphanage gets a new life as the Coffee Oasis shelter
A joyous celebration welcomed the Coffee Oasis to Tacoma
It’s always an honor to represent Pierce County and our residents

This morning we celebrated the opening of the Cohen Veterans Network clinic in Lakewood.

One of the speakers was Major Scott Smiley.  A 2003 graduate of West Point (Go Navy! Beat Army!), he lost his sight to a suicide bomber in Iraq.  He went on to be the first blind active duty Army officer, as well as becoming an Ironman athlete, and earn an MBA from Duke University.  Scott lives in Spokane and is an incredible inspiration.  You can learn more about him at this link.

Scott Smiley inspired those gathered

The clinic serves post 9/11 veterans and their families.  As both a Navy veteran and County Executive, four things stood out to me when looking at how this clinic supports our veterans’ community. First, every member of the staff is a veteran or family member of a veteran – they know first hand some of the challenges their patients face.  Second, their focus on serving families is essential.  Families are often overlooked but they face tremendous stress and trauma, either directly or indirectly. Third, they serve veterans regardless of their ability to pay or their discharge status.  Finally, a veteran in crisis can be seen the same day!  This is crucially important when you consider the tragic suicide rate in our veterans’ community.

I’m extremely grateful that the new clinic will be there to offer hope and healing to those who bravely served our country.

Thanking the community for coming together in The Pierce County Way to support our veterans


Both the Coffee Oasis and the Cohen Veterans clinic are fantastic examples of the great work we can do when we work together in #ThePierceCountyWay!

Have a great weekend – I hope your tournament bracket doesn’t get busted too soon!

Thanks for reading,