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Auburn's special worker is a Hometown Hero
Jamie Werner began as a volunteer with the City of Auburn's Parks and Recreation Department in 1992.
Werner, then a student at Pacific Lutheran University, dug the work so much she hung around, applied for a summer internship and got it.
In 1999 the City put her in charge of the specialized recreation program and its two teams.
Today, thanks to Werner's hard work and dedication, the Special Olympics program offers bowling, volleyball, aquatics, athletics, basketball, cycling and soccer teams. Individual special athletes participate in power lifting, skating, skiing, team handball, softball and golf.
The program is so popular today it includes 200 special athletes from cities throughout the area, making Auburn home to one of the largest Special Olympics delegations in the state of Washington.
The Special Olympics organization spotted all the good that Werner's been up to the last 13 years and last month named her King County Region Special Olympics Coach of the Year.
On Monday, the City of Auburn surprised Werner, bestowing an honor upon her it hasn't awarded to anyone in years — made her a Hometown Hero.
Werner admitted the award caught her completely by surprise: she had no idea what was going to happen before she stepped into the Council chambers, in fact thought she was being honored about the Special Olympics award.
"I was very surprised and I'm very honored and humbled," Werner said afterward.
Clearly, Werner is a woman who loves what she'd doing.
"I like working with the athletes the best," Werner said. "The joy for me is watching them grow, not only in their skill sets in sports but socially."
As he presented the award, Mayor Lewis noted some special qualities in Werner.
"Her selfless acts of dedication to the program truly come from a place of passion and love for her athletes and for others. In the words of an Auburn Parks' employee, 'every once in a while you get the opportunity to work with someone, meeting someone, who's truly remarkable,' and I would think that Jamie fits that description in every way," Lewis said.