From flags to flowers to flooding, Kathleen and Richard Morrisson’s dedication to volunteerism and community care has had a positive impact both inside and outside Sultan city limits.
Sky Valley residents for 15 years, Kathleen and Richard live on Mann Road. In addition to volunteering in the community when needed, the two are currently in the process of renovating a house on U.S. 2 in Sultan, which will eventually serve as home to Kathleen’s real estate business.
Kathleen’s transition into owning her own brokerage served as the catalyst for the couple’s foray into volunteerism, along with Christina Sivewright’s successful American Flag project. As her own boss, Kathleen had the flexibility to build volunteer hours into her schedule. As a six-year veteran of the United States Army, Sivewright’s flag project was especially appealing to her.
She and Richard, both members of the Sultan VFW Post 2554 Auxiliary, started volunteering with Christina and her husband Dave, helping assemble the flags.
Along with other members of the VFW, she and Richard help post the flags on holidays and during other special events, sometimes recruiting their granddaughter to help. Watching patriotism bloom in the young girl has been extremely rewarding to Kathleen.
Right around when they began volunteering for the VFW, Mann road residents experienced an above-average amount of flooding, causing several road closures at the section of Mann Road known as Devil’s Elbow. There is no other way in or out, so the closures caused hardship to residents, not to mention challenges for first responders needing access to the area. Kathleen sprang into organizational mode, creating the Sultan Mann Road Flood and Info group on Facebook, and launching a robust effort aimed at generating interest at Snohomish County.
She and several others in her neighborhood emailed then-Snohomish County Councilmember Dave Somers, concerning the challenges associated with the frequent flooding. This combined effort mobilized county officials, who became interested in learning more. At that point, Kathleen helped coordinate a neighborhood-wide meeting, using social media, signs and door-belling as a way to notify residents. County staffers, only expecting around 10 people, were quite surprised at the crowd.
“We had over 50 people show up,” Kathleen said. “It was amazing.”
As a result of the community’s efforts, the county embarked on a multi-year study to determine what could be done to mitigate the problem. They have identified three key points in Mann and Ben Howard roads in which elevation could serve as a potential fix.
Additionally, Kathleen has worked to beautify downtown by adopting three Main Street islands and planting over 800 bulbs in over 20 different varieties. Other volunteerism has included six-months of weekly shifts at the Visitors Information Center and donations to the Sultan Boys and Girls Club.
And sometimes, if a project comes up that is outside of her area of expertise, she’ll task it out to her husband Richard, who is only too happy to oblige.
As a result, the VFW has a custom-made cart to store the flags that prevents damage if and when they are dampened by the weather. And anyone who has driven down First Street has observed the granite-and-wood sign marking Susie’s Trail, named after longtime community advocate Susie Hollenbeck. Truly a community effort, the granite portion was created by local business J & D Repurposed Stone, with the wood frame custom-built by Richard. All it took was a kind request and a positive affirmation.
An engineer by trade, building things is a hobby for Richard. He also serves on the Chief Tseul-ted statue restoration committee, a group charged with ensuring the preservation of Sultan’s trademark statue at River Park.
Kathleen and Richard look forward to operating a business in Sultan and plan to maintain their community-involvement going forward.