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. 

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