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Sen. Murray awards SHA's Fitsum Abraha with Golden Tennis Shoe

Award honors community service

SEATTLE — May 30, 2014 — Fitsum Abraha, senior property manager at SHA's Yesler Terrace, received a Golden Tennis Shoe award from U.S. Sen. Patty Murray Thursday. Given annually by the Senator “to honor ordinary citizens who do extraordinary things to improve their communities,” this year's awards went to three who “put others first — and ask nothing in return.”

Abraha, who came to the U.S. from Sudan at age 10, grew up at Yesler Terrace. As a youth, he tutored elementary school students in his neighborhood, was a life guard, a leader in a local parks program and served as a work-study student at the Yesler Terrace computer lab, while earning a degree in Business from the University of Washington.

Touched by Abraha’s choice to return to his community after college graduation when he had many other options, Sen. Murray said: “While so many people are focused on the next rung on their career ladder, he wanted to offer a hand to those coming up behind him. So Fitsum went back to Yesler Terrace … and has become an incredible role model and an example for everyone who lives there.”

The Golden Tennis Shoe award gets its name from a remark made to Murray early in her community efforts. A lawmaker suggested she couldn't make a difference because she was just a "mom in tennis shoes." Murray took that as a challenge and embarked on a long career in public service.

Over 1,700 people gathered at the Washington State Convention Center to watch this year's awards ceremony.