February is Parent Recognition Month. Strengthening Families Washington, of the Department of Early Learning for Washington State, believes there is no better way to recognize a parent, grandparent, foster or adoptive parent than by acknowledging the numerous and impressive things they do to strengthen their family and those around them in their community.
Seattle’s Child is proud to sponsor the Washington Unsung Hero Awards, recognizing our everyday heroes and honoring the important role caregivers play in children’s lives. There are 28 nominees for the 28 days of February, and Seattle’s Child will highlight each and every one.
Congratulations to the Unsung Heroes for February 1
Art and Ruby Harper – Spokane
Art and Ruby Harper exemplify the definition of unsung heroes by exhibiting all of the positive protective factors required to reduce stress and promote the well-being of all members of their family, extended family and community. This devoted couple, now in their early 80s, has cared for other people’s children for five decades. Art was raised in Detroit, MI in a family of six children, one brother with Down syndrome. He came west to Fairchild Air Force Base in the early 50s. Ruby was born and raised here in Spokane, WA. They met at a dance hall and were married in 1955. From that point forward, their lives would be filled with taking care of their six biological children, three adopted children, one child in guardianship, and over 250 foster children in the span of 59 years.
They worked with the Children’s Home Society the first five years and then became affiliated with the Department of Social and Health Services. Throughout the years they have served on a number of boards including Foster Parent Association of Spokane, Advisory Board of Ombudsman and Child Protective Teams. They have also served as consultants on a Child Protective Team that worked with professionals to decide the best future for children. Art was employed with Avista Utilities for 36 years before retiring. Ruby had nursing training, which came in very handy with her child care responsibilities.
Art and Ruby feel very blessed for the precious children they had the opportunity to care for during their lifetime. They have cared for children from all types of ethnic backgrounds. They especially enjoyed caring for the medically fragile babies. Their family has a very powerful belief in the resiliency of children and that all children deserve a chance at a good life. Ruby once said, “I never liked to hear a doctor or social worker predict a negative outcome for a child’s life.” They never wanted children to be labeled. It was very clear that at the core of their lives was a belief in the power of unconditional love and acceptance. Art and Ruby are very positive individuals that choose to look at life in a giving way. By example, they have shown us the power of human love and kindness.
Nominators: Dick Boysen and Bobbie League
Singing the Praises of Our Unsung Heroes
Read about all of the wonderful, everyday heroes who have won Washington Unsung Hero Awards: seattleschild.com/2015-Unsung-Heroes.