Shamso Issak, of Kent, receives King County’s Martin Luther King Jr. Distinguished Service Award from County Councilmember Dave Upthegrove June 4 at the Council chambers in Seattle. COURTESY PHOTO, King County

Shamso Issak, of Kent, receives King County’s Martin Luther King Jr. Distinguished Service Award from County Councilmember Dave Upthegrove June 4 at the Council chambers in Seattle. COURTESY PHOTO, King County

King County's MLK distinguished service award goes to Kent's Shamso Issak

Councilmember Dave Upthegrove selects Living Well Kent director for the honor

Shamso Issak, the founder and executive director of Living Well Kent, has received King County’s Martin Luther King Jr. Medal of Distinguished Service award.

King County Councilmember Dave Upthegrove, whose District 5 includes parts of Kent, on June 4 awarded Issak the honor. The annual award recognizes individuals whose work has answered the question asked by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. “What are you doing for others?”

“Shamso Issak truly is the heart of South King County,” Upthegrove said in a June 4 press release from his office. “She has tirelessly advocated for the health and wellness of immigrants and refugees and has always done so with a smile on her face and a kind word for everyone around her. She faithfully represents the ideals of Martin Luther King Jr. and I am proud to call her my friend.”

Issak has a diverse background that she applies to build collaborative, sustainable, and adaptable partnerships in low-income, immigrant and refugee communities to bring healthier living to everyone, according to the press release.

Living Well Kent is a community-driven, nonprofit organization working to provide public spaces and initiatives that encourage healthier lifestyles and better living. Issak’s work with Living Well includes early learning and language development to the community, food access through their greenhouse and farmer’s market program and efforts to empower youth in their communities.

“Thank you Councilmember Dave Upthegrove for the honor,” Issak posted on the Living Well Facebook page. “It has been a very rewarding journey working for the betterment of our community, and providing them access to our services. We thank you for your support.”

This marks the ninth year that council members have each selected someone from their district whose work embodies the spirit of King’s question.

Issak is the wife of Kent School Board member Awale Farah.


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