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Volunteer of Month December 2014 – Audrey Slade

Audrey as Mary Poppins at Halloween in the Highlands, 2014.

Audrey came as Mary Poppins as she MC’ed the games at Halloween in the Highlands, 2014.

I fell in love with Issaquah over three years and 3,261 miles ago.

When we were uprooting our family from Bangor, Maine so my husband could pursue his dream job on the Eastside of Seattle, we had to attempt to find our new ‘home’ from the other side of the country. Leaving my beloved Maine was not my preference, but my husband’s dedication and hard work as a scientist in the field of Oceanography inspired me to look towards the relocation as a great adventure and exciting opportunity. We had been quite involved in our community on the East Coast, and I worried we might never find another place that felt like home.

Home (to me) is a place where you not only feel good about settling, but a place where you feel inspired to contribute and immerse yourself in. A place you take pride in and want to see thrive. A place with an identity and a sense of real community.

From our research, there was one place that kept appearing: Issaquah.

And one community stood out over and over again: Issaquah Highlands.

Issaquah has a real sense of itself.  An understanding of how fortunate we are to live in such a community, with such strong schools, safe roads, small shops, and shared spaces. It is this understanding that helps foster Issaquah residents’ desire to give back.

On my very first day in the Issaquah Highlands, I drove to Blakely Hall and was greeted by my dear friend Christy. I said the magic words to her: How do I get involved? She quickly got me involved in Green Halloween and sent me to meet the folks at Eastside Baby Corner.

VOM Audrey as Queen at GRP opening

Audrey as the Queen of Issaquah, 2013.

This was when I fell in love with Issaquah.

With equal good fortune I began working for Richard Gabel in Issaquah, a job that got me involved in our city. We are in the business of helping small businesses grow and that has helped me meet so many people.  The more people I met, the more I learned about our community. The more opportunity I had to volunteer with Issaquah and Issaquah Highlands, the more I learned about the people who make up our neighborhoods. The more I volunteered, the more I learned giving back to the community is a core value of my neighbors. The more I learned, the more deeply I fell in love.

Three years later, I am grateful that The Slade’s path lead to the West Coast.  I am grateful to Issaquah for embracing a culture of community and giving back.  And I am honored to call this place my home.