Why I Love It Here is an occasional series in The Daily Herald in which local residents share why Snohomish County is a special place to them.
Today’s essay was written by longtime Herald president and publisher Larry Hanson, who worked at the newspaper for 45 years, retiring in 2002. Hanson has been a community leader and volunteer in Snohomish County for more than 60 years. He currently serves on the Washington State University-Everett Coordinating and Planning Board for North Puget Sound.
When friends and relatives come to visit Snohomish County for the first time, they are struck by its beauty: The Olympic Mountains to the west, Puget Sound, the islands, the tree-lined hills and the Cascade Range to the east with its “book-end” volcanoes — Mount Baker to the north and Mount Rainier to the south.
After retirement, my wife and I moved to the Losvar Condominiums, located on the water between the Mukilteo ferry landing and the historic Mukilteo lighthouse. I have the opportunity to enjoy that beauty out my front windows as the ferries make their way to and from Clinton on Whidbey Island. My view north is Hat Island, Camano Island, Mission Beach and Tulalip Bay. To the east I see the Port of Everett, Naval Station Everett, downtown Everett and the hills of Marysville, Lake Stevens and Snohomish against the background of the majestic Cascades.
What’s not to love about this place we call home?
But do you know what I love more? It’s the spirit of the people who live here and the generations who preceded them that have made this the caring, generous, resilient community it has become.
As a native of Snohomish County, I have had a lifetime to see that spirit in action.
As the youngest of six children, growing up in rural Silver Lake, I watched my parents and neighbors help each other through the challenging Depression years and World War II. They were wonderful role models for us. And looking back on it, we have memories of rationing and hand-me-down clothes but also love, friendships and fun. Our parents found time to volunteer at our Tri-Way Grange and Silver Lake Elementary School PTA. They set a good example for us.
After high school, as I returned from basic training in the Army, I was looking for a job that would allow me to work full time and attend college full time. I was fortunate to get a messenger job at The Everett Herald that led to a 45-year newspaper career. I was able to attend Everett Community College and graduate from the University of Washington in four years.
During that time I also had the opportunity to volunteer for United Way, the YMCA and other community organizations. I came to more fully appreciate that community spirit when I had the opportunity to meet and work with some of the local leaders who were descendants of the pioneers who built our schools, hospitals, clinics, libraries and nonprofits that have served us so well over the years.
We have seen more recent generations of volunteers demonstrating that same spirit of caring and responding to the needs of our communities by creating Housing Hope, additional YMCAs and Boys & Girls Clubs, the Snohomish County Foundation, Dawson’s Place, Cocoon House and so many more.
And more recently we saw the outpouring of love and support for the victims of the Oso mudslide that was immediate and heartwarming. All of Snohomish County responded to help Arlington, Oso and Darrington recover from the tragedy. The same was true after the Marysville Pilchuck High School and Mukilteo shootings.
Our people respond, not just in emergencies. That caring spirit of the people who live here is on display every day throughout the year.
That’s why I love it here.