They were fans with a purpose. In Seahawks jerseys, Silvertips hockey and Sounders soccer gear, Husky and Cougar get-ups, and one elected official dressed as the coach he is, Snohomish County employees raised more than $1,200 to help homeless women.
The Robert J. Drewel county administration building is an unlikely spot for a fashion show. Yet as part of the Snohomish County Employee Charitable Giving Campaign, workers in sports regalia strutted their fan colors catwalk-style.
Proceeds from the Oct. 7 fund-raiser — $1,209 in all — were donated to the Everett Gospel Mission Women &Children’s Shelter.
“It’s really fun,” said Kent Patton, communication director with the county executive’s office. He and county employee Susan Otto, whose Seahawks ensemble took top honors in the fashion show, delivered the donation last week to Everett Gospel Mission CEO Sylvia Anderson.
That money came just in time. Anderson said Tuesday that a water heater just went out in a shelter building that houses more than 25 single women. A new tankless water heater will be installed, and the donation will pay for a third of the cost. “I was thrilled,” Anderson said.
Patton said the lunchtime fashion show is a competition, with people in the audience casting votes with donations. Each participant has a bucket. “Money goes in the bucket of the person you like most,” he said. The sports fan earning most gets to choose where all the money goes.
A raffle, with a football autographed by Seahawks kicker Steven Hauschka as the prize, added to the total.
Along with fans of local teams, the fashion show included someone in a U.S. Men’s National Team jersey signed by soccer star Landon Donovan, who also played for the LA Galaxy.
Snohomish County Councilman Ken Klein wore his real-deal coaching clothes. Klein coaches an Arlington PeeWee Eagles football team. He donned his Eagles football cap, a long-sleeved shirt with an “A” on it, jeans, and the whistle he uses while coaching. The team includes his 7-year-old son.
“I was the only elected official,” said Klein, who chose Housing Hope as his charity. He didn’t win the day, but was happy with the winner’s choice of the shelter.
Otto, a zoning specialist in the county planning and development services department, described her winning outfit as “head-to-toe Seahawks.”
“I wore a Seahawks jersey, Seahawks shoes, a little headband and Seahawks sunglasses. I had Seahawks socks, leggings and all the jewelry — a necklace, a ring and earrings,” Otto said.
She raised $476, part of which she solicited in advance. “I always loved what the women’s shelter does, so I went around and collected donations from all my co-workers,” said Otto, 64, of Marysville.
United Way of Snohomish County administers the Employee Charitable Giving Campaign, said Shawna Ousse, who works in the county’s human resources department. Ousse is committee chairwoman for the campaign.
“For the charitable campaign in general, employees get to choose where their own donations go,” Ousse said. “They can choose a charity through payroll (deductions) or a one-time donation.”
The fashion show boosted contributions, she said. About 16 people dressed up, with some 50 there to cheer them on and donate, Ousse said. Nearly $760 was raised with the Hauschka football raffle, she added.
In March, county workers will again show generosity through March Against Hunger events to benefit Volunteers of America Western Washington programs. “Each department has all sorts of fundraising activities throughout March,” Ousse said. “It all raises awareness, and it’s fun.”
Don’t look for Otto in her zany Hawks garb at CenturyLink Field. She won’t be there.
“I am a huge fan,” said Otto, a county employee for 22 years. “We had season tickets forever in the Kingdome, 100 level, row 5. Since they got rid of the Kingdome, I do like watching them on TV. I can watch where the ball is.”
Julie Muhlstein: 425-339-3460; firstname.lastname@example.org.