Each year in April, we recognize volunteers and community partners who have made an incredible impact on our work. Congratulations to this year’s award recipients:
Thank you for going above and beyond in your service and dedicating your time and energy to the Alzheimer’s Association. We appreciate your generosity!
In honor of National Volunteer Week, we would also like to take a moment to thank all Washington State Chapter volunteers. Whether it’s in care and support, education, advocacy or raising funds and awareness for the cause — we appreciate your many contributions!
Clacey McNary Volunteer of the Year Award: Kay Lehmann
The Clacey McNary Volunteer of the Year Award is named in honor of one of our most dedicated and dependable volunteers. Clacey McNary and his wife, Polly, started volunteering when Polly was first diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 1996. Clacey continued to donate his time and talent to our mission until his own passing, just three weeks shy of his 98th birthday.
This year’s Clacey McNary Volunteer of the Year Award recipient is Kay Lehmann of Kennewick, Wash. Kay began volunteering for the Alzheimer’s Association in 2014 and has been involved in many aspects of our work — providing leadership for the Tri-Cities Walk to End Alzheimer’s and as an officer on our Board of Directors, as well as being involved in our care, support and advocacy programs.
“Kay has been an outstanding volunteer taking on many roles and helping the Washington State Chapter achieve its goals. She is always willing to take on more and never hesitates to talk about the Alzheimer’s Association any chance she gets,” said Erica Grissmerson, Manager, Walk to End Alzheimer’s.
Kay said: “What an honor to be selected, to even be nominated, for the Clacey McNary Volunteer of the Year Award! My life goal is to end Alzheimer’s and all other dementias. To meet that goal, I will need help from other great volunteers, researchers, caregivers and clinicians!
This is my life goal because Alzheimer’s robbed me of both of my parents. My mom wore herself out as a caregiver for my father. Her physical health declined over time and then dropped precipitously in the last year of her life. Then one day, like a candle being blown out, she was just gone.
We had two crises at that moment. The family had lost the rock on whom we all depended, and my dad’s Alzheimer’s was much worse than we knew.
As the eldest sibling, I became the primary caregiver and decision-maker with the help of my family. In-home care was where we started, but after dad attacked a caregiver, we knew he needed memory care.
We were blessed by my father’s physician, Dr. Gardner, who advised us throughout much of dad’s Alzheimer’s journey. Dr. Gardner would say things like, ‘Call me the first time he falls.’ We didn’t yet understand that falls are common in people with Alzheimer’s.
After dad died in February 2014, I was determined to do all I could to end this disease. I started a team for the Tri-Cities Walk to End Alzheimer’s, and I joined the planning committee for Reason to Hope. Later, I joined the Walk planning committee and then became chair. We have a robust Walk committee in the Tri-Cities and our event wouldn’t happen without all of them!
My volunteer commitment to the Alzheimer’s Association has continued to grow. In 2020, I joined the chapter’s Board of Directors, where I am now an officer. As a former teacher, it is only natural that I also volunteer as a community educator for the Association. And my passion led me to become an AIM advocate as well.
My life goal is to end Alzheimer’s, but to do this, I will need the help of others! I invite you to join me in the fight to #ENDALZ.”
Kay has gone above and beyond for our cause for many years now and her passion and mission engagement just keeps growing. On behalf of the Washington State Chapter, we would like to thank Kay for her continued dedication in the fight against Alzheimer’s and all other dementia.
Morey Skaret Leadership Award: Bill Lukov
The Morey Skaret Leadership Award is an honor named after Morey Skaret, who attended the very first Alzheimer’s Association caregiver support group and went on to become a support group facilitator for over 20 years.
This year’s Morey Skaret Leadership Award winner is Bill Lukov of Mount Vernon, WA. Bill has volunteered with the Alzheimer’s Association as a support group facilitator in Bellevue since 2010, and in 2019, he began facilitating an additional caregiver support group in Mount Vernon.
“Bill is willing to step in to help when he can, and is living the mission of the Alzheimer’s Association,” said Karen Thompson, Manager of Community Support for the Washington State Chapter.
“He is incredibly dedicated to the cause and has the kindest heart,” added Carrie McBride, Director of Marketing and Communications
Bill’s wife, Gwen, was diagnosed with younger-onset Alzheimer’s at the age of 56 and his mother was diagnosed with dementia a few years later. Bill became the primary caregiver for both Gwen and his mother while also maintaining his full-time career.
“It was obviously stressful,” Bill said. “When I went to the support group for the first time, it was like a weight was lifted off my shoulders. Here was a group of people that I could learn from and talk to. When another younger-onset group formed, I joined it too. Gwen joined a group for people with dementia. The staff of the Alzheimer’s Association would also check up on me. The support group members and the Alzheimer’s Association staff all became part of my family.”
Gwen eventually passed away from the disease, but Bill stayed in touch with his support group members in Bellevue and became a facilitator when there was an opening for the position. “I wasn’t sure I was the best person for the job, but I knew it was important. With the help of the Alzheimer’s Association staff, I quickly became comfortable with it.” When Bill moved to Mount Vernon in 2019, he founded a new caregiver support group for the area. It was put on hold during the pandemic but is starting back up again this month.
Bill also participates in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s and attends as many as three Walks each year. In fact, his first Walk was in 2002 — 20 years ago!
“Last year, Bill joined the Walk planning committee and shared his dementia story on the ALZWA Blog. He does all he can to help further our mission,” said Kimber Behrends, Community Outreach Manager and former Walk to End Alzheimer’s Manager.
On behalf of the Washington State Chapter and the communities Bill has worked in, we would like to thank him for his years of dedication and compassion to other dementia caregivers.
Community Partner of the Year Award: Coeur Cause® Wines
The purpose of the Community Partner of the Year Award is to honor an individual, corporation, foundation, government or other nonprofit organization that supports the Alzheimer’s Association in our vision and mission, and to recognize and thank those in the community who help promote and support awareness of the programs and services of the Alzheimer’s Association’s Washington State Chapter.
The recipient of the 2022 Community Partner of the Year Award is Coeur Cause® Wines. In 2021, the company partnered with the Alzheimer’s Association to raise critical funds and awareness for the cause. In sponsorship with Milbrandt Vineyards and Ryan Patrick Wines, they released two exclusive sparkling wines with 10% of sales supporting the Walk to End Alzheimer’s in Washington State.
Coeur Cause® Wines “uncorked” their campaign during a press conference with Congressman Dan Newhouse, held in June for Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month. That same month, Wine Club members received information about the Alzheimer’s Association with their wine shipment, and in partnership with Milbrandt Vineyards and Ryan Patrick Wines, they hosted release parties for Coeur Cause® Sparkling Reisling at their tasting rooms in Woodinville, Leavenworth and Prosser. In the fall, they released their second vintage, a Sparkling Rosé, again hosting release parties at all three tasting rooms. In all, the campaign raised nearly $50,000 for Alzheimer’s care, support and research.
The company recently renewed its commitment to the Alzheimer’s Association in 2022. This year, Coeur Cause® Wines is the Diamond Partner for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s in Washington State. They will be releasing two more bottles of sparkling wine and plan to raise an additional $50,000 in support of the cause.
“We are deeply grateful and humbled by this news,” said Stacy, “Our partnership with the Alzheimer’s Association and the Walk to End Alzheimer’s in Washington State has truly been a blessing in our lives. We look forward to a very long partnership, friendship, and journey in raising profound awareness.”
Coeur Cause® Wines owner, Stacy Bellew, has a personal connection to dementia. Her mother Shirley was diagnosed about five years ago. Stacy and her husband, David, along with Stacy’s stepfather and siblings, are now the primary caregivers for her mother. In addition to the Alzheimer’s Association’s help resources, Stacy also leans on Lisa Milbrandt’s advice, who lost her mother to Alzheimer’s many years ago. Stacy has always looked to her mother as a guiding influence both in life and her career.
“Despite the uphill battles, she made me promise to continue to strive toward building my own business, with one condition: to always do it from my heart, over any financial gain,” Stacy said about her mom. “The ‘Coeur’ in Coeur Cause means heart.”
Coeur Cause® Wines is pleased to invite you to:
A Sparkling Mother’s Day Weekend
Woodinville, Leavenworth, Prosser
All Milbrandt Tasting Rooms
May 6-8, 2022 | 12-6 p.m.
*** Reservations Required ***
Upon arrival, guests are given a rosebud and a greeting pour of the newest Coeur Cause® Sparkling Riesling. A flight of six wines with bites and a guest paella chef will be onsite at each location Saturday and Sunday! (Paella will be available for purchase.)
Luxury raffles include wine country trips, Leavenworth getaways, restaurant certificates and golf excursions.
Optional: Bringin’ My Bling Contest
Door prizes will be given to the best sparkling, blingy or dazzling wardrobe accouterment.
Live entertainment at some locations.
$40 for the general public, waived with a 2+ bottle purchase of Coeur Cause®.
$20 for wine club members, waived with a 2+ bottle purchase.
Our volunteers strengthen, empower and inspire our communities. During National Volunteer Week and always, we thank them for being the heart of the Alzheimer’s Association. If you are interested in volunteering with the Alzheimer’s Association, please visit our volunteers page to learn more about local opportunities.