Published April 27, 2016
RENTON, Wash. – Dean Hestmark, a student at Renton Technical College (RTC), has won the Outstanding Service Award from the Students Serving Washington Awards (SSWA) for mentoring a team that built temporary housing for the homeless.
The Outstanding Service Award recognizes students who are engaged in current service projects addressing critical issues in their communities. The awards were formally announced on April 26 at a ceremony at the Museum of Flight.
Hestmark attended the RTC Construction Trades Preparation program in the fall of 2015. He was part of the student team that built and delivered a “tiny house” shelter for the Low Income Housing Institute Nickelsville project, a community effort to provide safer housing for the homeless in Seattle. The small, weatherproof structures are set up in temporary encampments with sanitation and support services.
Hestmark turned down an offer to be foreman of the student team, and focused instead on mentoring and motivating fellow students. He worked long hours during and after class to ensure that the project was completed well and met all deadlines. He also provided a unique personal perspective, as a relative of a person struggling with homelessness.
“Living in the Pacific Northwest, the conditions are not ideal for living in a tent year-round, and I would not want that for anyone, much less my family,” Hestmark said. “With the tiny house project, I was able to help provide something that is more structurally sound for others.”
Hestmark, a 30-year veteran of the U.S. Navy, will share the $7,500 award equally between fellow students, the College, and community partners in the project.
Hestmark was one of two RTC students recognized with the SSWA Presidents’ Award for their exceptional leadership and commitment to serving their community. The other was Don Hawkins, a peer tutor and a member of RTC’s student government. Hawkins has been involved with local organizations to provide food security to community members in need.
The SSWA are organized by the Washington Campus Compact and EcoApprentice.
Renton Technical College prepares a diverse student population for work, fulfilling the employment needs of individuals, business and industry. For more details, visit RTC.edu.
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