(WCN photo by Patrick Sand)
As a professional firefighter, Bryan Hastings (above right) was already a hero when he launched a different type of rescue – keeping Evergreen Pool from shutting down. Today, his years of work on that earned him a county honor, presented by King County Council Chair Joe McDermott (above left), whose office sent the full announcement:
In 2009, White Center’s Evergreen Pool was a victim of county budget cuts, closing after decades of providing aquatic fun to the people of south King County. Bryan Hastings directed the effort to establish a non-profit to help revive the red-brick pool and has become the Executive Director of WhiteWater Aquatics Management, the agency operating the pool. Metropolitan King County Council Chair Joe McDermott today recognized Hastings work on keeping this community asset open by presenting him with the Martin Luther King, Jr. Medal of Distinguished Service.
“From tirelessly raising money to the countless hours of his own time spent working on the pool himself, Bryan Hastings has dedicated himself to the Evergreen Community Pool,” said McDermott. “His work, as a volunteer, to ensure the pool remains an asset for all in the White Center community embodies the spirit of the MLK Medal of Distinguished Service.”
Evergreen Pool is in the unincorporated community of White Center and has been serving its residents, along with serving the city of Burien, for over four decades. The 2009 closure of the pool impacted communities that had been using the pool for generations.
Hastings, an Assistant Chief with the Seattle Fire Department, started as a volunteer in the effort to reopen the pool, helping raise nearly $500,000 in modernizations and improvements from various sources including the State and County.
Evergreen Pool is not only a location for pool parties, swim lessons, and exercise classes, it has become a resource for the homeless community in the area, providing shower facilities for the homeless through a partnership with human service agencies Neighborhood House and Mary’s Place.
The annual presentation of the MLK Medal of Distinguished Service is the Council’s way of thanking those who have made a particularly strong impact on the county and to encourage others to renew their dedication to serve their community.
This is the third year Councilmembers have recognized individuals in their districts who have answered the question asked by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: “What are you doing for others?”
Checking the WCN archives, we see the pool was re-dedicated as Evergreen Community Aquatic Center exactly eight years ago tomorrow!