Friday, September 30, 2011

Seahawks initiative program to reduce gang and youth violence in Seattle

The Seattle Seahawks have initiated a new program to reduce gang youth and violence in Seattle in partnership with the City of Seattle and the YMCA. The program, called "A Better Seattle," is the brainchild of Coach Pete Carroll, who started a similar organization in Los Angeles and collaborated with Microsoft Chairman Steve Ballmer and Ballmer's wife Connie on the Seattle project.

AWG General Mike Flood is involved in his capacity as vice president of community relations for the Seahawks and Sounders F.C. organization.

Learn more about the program by watching a video on the Seahawks' web site and in an article by Danny O'Neill in the Seattle Times.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Frank Warnke, longtime legislator and past commanding general

Frank Warnke, past Commanding General of the Association of Washington Generals.
General Warnke died Sept. 23

Frank Warnke, a longtime state legislator and immediate past Commanding General of the Association of Washington Generals, died early Sept. 23 following a long illness, according to his son-in-law, Deputy Commanding General Roger Flygare. He was 78.

General Warnke served in the Washington State Legislature for over 20 years.  He was first elected to the House in 1964, serving one term and later returned to represent the 30th district in the House from 1973 to 1983 before serving the 31st district in the Senate from 1983 to 1991.

Mr. Warnke was chair of the Senate Democratic Caucus, considered to be the second highest-ranking position in political caucus hierarchy. He was also chair of the Senate's Commerce and Labor Committee.

In addition to his time in the Senate, Warnke served many years as the executive director of the Public School Employees of Washington (see association's obituary). Mr. Warnke served for about a year as Commanding General, following the term of Chuck Hardaway and prior to current Commanding General Bill Sperry.

"Frank Warnke will be remembered by the AWG as a generous, always positive and giving member. He will be greatly missed," Sperry said.

He is survived by his wife Beverly, their daughter Karla Flygare (along with her husband Roger and their son Ehren - and Ehren's fiancé Ashley Alefteras); and their son Kurtis (along with his wife Tamara and Kurtis' son, Ryon Warnke).

A private graveside service was held Tuesday, September 27th at the Mountain View Cemetery in Auburn for family and close friends, with an honor guard by the Washington State Patrol. 

"I would like to thank all of you who were helping with making those important arrangements for Frank Warnke's graveside memorial today," Roger Flygare said in a note to AWG board members. "It was touching and helped add a sense of community for a man who dedicated a huge portion of his life in helping others.  The color guard was an important part of helping with closure for his family."

The family is planning a larger community memorial service for later in the month. Details will be posted as they become available.

Friday, September 23, 2011

AWG PowerPoint: The Movie

The slide show describing the Association of Washington Generals and the AWG's Washingtonian of the Year recipients has now been transferred to video format and can be seen below. It is also linked from the AWG's web site. The show is narrated by former broadcast sports director Tony Ventrella, who is now with the Seahawks/Sounders F.C. organization.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

New video interviews Strongs at Washingtonian of Year event

A new video produced by Bill Boehlke with Kat Sturgess at features Mack and Zoe Strong being interviewed and speaking at the AWG's Washingtonian of the Year event at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center on Sept. 17. There is also a clip of Lt. Governor Brad Owen, who emceed the event, speaking of the importance of giving back to the community as exemplified by the Strongs.

View the video

Monday, September 19, 2011

Scenes from the AWG's Washingtonian of the Year event

A few shots from the Washingtonian of the Year event on Sept. 17 at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center (Seahawks/Sounders F.C. headquarters) honoring Mack and Zoe Higheagle Strong.  Beyond honoring the Strongs, the event raised $10,492 for the AWG. Click on the photo box to see at a larger size.

(Photos by Brian Dirks, Office of Lt. Governor, Bill Boehlke with and Josh Halpin. Have a photo to share? Please send it to

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Mack and Zoe Strong recipients of “Washingtonian of the Year” award

NOTE: This is the release being distributed to media to help publicize the Sept. 17 banquet honoring the Strongs. A printable version can be downloaded (in PDF format) here.

Mack and Zoe Strong

Lt. Governor Owen to preside at ceremony to honor couple for civic involvement

RENTON -- Lt. Governor Brad Owen will emcee a Sept. 17 event at Seahawks headquarters to honor retired Seahawks fullback Mack Strong and his wife, Zoë Higheagle-Strong, as recipients of the Association of Washington Generals’ (AWG) annual “Washingtonian of the Year” award.

The reception will start at 5 p.m. at the Seahawks Headquarters/Virginia Mason Athletic Center (VMAC) in Renton. Along with featuring the Washingtonian of the Year and highlights of AWG projects, the event will include tours of the VMAC, Blue Thunder Drum Line, Sea Gals, refreshments and a barbecue.

The Washingtonian of the Year Award is bestowed annually to persons who have demonstrated leadership, selflessness, generosity and compassion in their service to others.  In addition to his career as a standout fullback for the Seattle Seahawks, Mack Strong founded a sports and leadership camp that serves Native American youth. Zoë Higheagle-Strong is the executive director of the Washington chapter of HOPE worldwide, an international charity organization, and is also involved with the youth camp.

For the past eight years Mack and Zoe have also helped to raise funds for Childhaven, a nonprofit organization committed to stop the cycle of abuse and neglect of children.

The Association of Washington Generals (AWG) is a state-chartered service organization that recognizes outstanding contributions of individuals in the state of Washington. Established 40 years ago, the AWG is affiliated by statute with the Office of Lt. Governor.  In addition to serving as the event’s emcee, Lt. Governor Owen will formally present the Washingtonian of the Year Award to the Strongs.

The organization honored another football great, longtime PLU football coach Frosty Westering in 2010. Past recipients have included such civic luminaries as Luis Fernando Esteban, the Honorary Consul of Spain for Washington; Bill and Melinda Gates, Paul Allen, Priscilla Bullitt Collins, Don James and many others. 

Tickets are $100. More information is available on the Association of Washington Generals web site at, or by sending an email to                                                 
Media Inquiries: 

Mike Flood, VP for community relations, Seattle Seahawks & Sounders FC (425) 203-8030
Brian Dirks, communications director, Office of the Lt. Governor  (360) 786-7707 or

About Mack Strong and Zoë Higheagle-Strong

As an NFL fullback, Mack Strong was an inspiration both on the field and in the community. Originally signed as an undrafted free agent out of Georgia, Mack played his entire 15-year career with the Seahawks.  He is second in Seahawk history for games played with 201.  Mack blocked for three 1,000-yard rushers: Chris Warren, Ricky Watters, and Shaun Alexander. He was a major force in the Seahawks drive to Super Bowl XL.  He held the Seahawks team record for longest rush in a playoff game with a 32-yard run during the 2005 divisional playoff game against the Washington Redskins, until Marshawn Lynch's 67-yard rush against the Saints this past season. 

Mack received numerous awards from the team and the NFL including the Unsung Hero award, Ed Block Courage Award and the Steve Largent Award for spirit, integrity and dedication, which he won five times.  He was twice voted to the Pro Bowl and once to the All Pro Team.  He retired in 2007 after a career-ending neck injury. Former Seahawk Coach Holmgren is quoted as saying, “Mack Strong is one of the greatest men I’ve been around…great teammate, great leader”. 

Since his retirement, Mack has since provided insight and commentary for Fox Sports Northwest and KCPQ 13, and had his own show titled “Mack Strong: Seahawks Insider”.

Some of his greatest achievements have been off the field. Mack has served on the Washington board of HOPE worldwide – a non-profit organization which develops programs around the world for the most-in-need. 

Zoë Higheagle-Strong is the Executive Director of HOPE worldwide – Washington.  Mack and Zoe founded and lead TEAM-WORKS Academy, a program that develops Strong Minds, Strong Bodies, and Strong Character in underserved youth, including Native Indians and their surrounding community.

The TEAM-WORKS Academy program hosts an annual Sports & Leadership Camp, which allows Native Youth from the Northwest to join together and be coached in sports and life by inspiring role models who are collegiate and professional athletes.  The student outcomes for the TEAM-WORKS Academy include increased school attendance, participation in physical activities, knowledge of high-risk behaviors, positive attitude toward school participation, and confidence in their abilities.

Mack and Zoë have also devoted 8 years of leadership to raising funds for Childhaven, a nonprofit organization committed to stop the cycle of abuse and neglect of children.

Because of their outstanding commitment to enhancing the lives of children in the community, Mack and Zoë received the 2009 Mark Mathews Service to Children Award. Mack and Zoe are dynamic and inspirational leaders whose accomplishments in building strong communities are in the highest tradition of the Washingtonian of the Year, and the Association of Washington Generals.