June 11, 2008 · Updated 1:20 PM
For more than 15 years Hank Mann-Sykes has been a vigilante for the Kitsap community.
And tonight, at the Accolades Awards Gala put on by the Silverdale Chamber of Commerce at the Red Lion Hotel Silverdale, hell be be presented with the Citizen of the Year Award and an engraved Tiffany platter.
Although he first visited Kitsap County in the 1950s, it wasnt until 1987 that he actually moved to the area. And it was that year when he first became involved in the community as the general manager of KITZ Radio. Soon various organizations came calling to ask him to become involved in their activities. Mann-Sykes first fund-raiser in the community was a radio telethon which raised $10,000.
The radio telethon was incredible, it made me feel like there was potential in the community. Many organizations needed marketing help, it was incredible, Mann-Sykes said. Volunteerism was low and like most places, giving back to your community was talked about but it was hard to find.
From then on, Mann-Sykes decided to help out where he could and took on the motto, get your ask out, meaning people can find help if they would just ask. Since then Mann-Sykes has been a prevalent member of the community.
Paul Linder was once Mr. Silverdale and now Hank Mann is Mr. Silverdale, said long-time friend Rob MacDermid.
Mann-Sykes helped to form the Central Kitsap Community Council (CKCC) 10 years ago and currently serves as president of the group.
Our feeling in Central Kitsap was that we had some very definite needs and needed a place to be heard, he said.
Mann-Sykes also serves as co-chair of the Central Kitsap Community Campus Task Force, is on the board of directors for United Way Kitsap County, served 10 years on the board of directors of Whaling Days and is vice president for next years Whaling Days committee.
He also is very involved with the Silverdale Rotary Club. It was Mann-Sykes who introduced the idea of the Great Kitsap Duck Race to the community 11 years ago.
We (the Silverdale Rotary) were brainstorming ideas for a fund-raiser that would be meaningful, something the community could participate in, he said. I call it fun-raising because anything you do to raise money should be fun.
Mann-Sykes also served for nine years on the Silverdale Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors with two terms as vice president. Mann-Sykes list of organizations he is involved with is quite long, but says one of the highlights of his year is emceeing the Silverdale Dandy Lions Whaling Days Parade with Ron Rogerson and also emceeing the tree lighting ceremony in Silverdale which is put on by the Silverdale Kiwanis, Silverdale Rotary and Silverdale Dandy Lions.
Hank does so many things for people that no one knows about, like take old veterans, even those as old as 90, and get them into the VA (Veterans Affairs) health system, MacDermid said.
Mann-Sykes, a Vietnam veteran himself, served 11 years in the Air Force and then went on to become a pioneer in the radio business. He worked throughout Seattle and Alaska and helped to start many of the radio stations including KUBE which played Top 40 at the time, and is now known as the hip-hop station, KUBE 93.3.
To me, a person who grew up in orphanages as a youngster, who then joined the military and lived a transient life in the radio and television business, I feel I have been blessed by living here for the past 17 years and having had the