Council celebrates outstanding community members with MLK Distinguished Service Awards

For the eighth year in 2023, the King County Council celebrated individuals whose work had responded to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s question: What are you doing for others?

Each year, councilmembers select one individual (or occasionally small organization) from their district who they feel has been outstanding in their life and work in helping others.

Click the links below to read more about each district’s selection for 2023:

District 1: Silje Sodal


Silje Sodal is the Executive Director of the North Urban Human Services Alliance (NUHSA), a coalition of nonprofits, advocates, cities and elected leaders who advocate for a strong and accessible health and human services system in the north-end cities of Shoreline, Lake Forest Park, Kenmore, Bothell and Woodinville.  She oversees and manages the strategic direction and operations of NUHSA and particularly enjoys the role NUHSA has in convening stakeholders and building local and regional partnerships to better serve residents.

Originally from Colorado where she served in the Lt. Governor and Governor’s Office, Silje moved to Seattle to attend the UW School of Public Health, focusing on maternal and child health. She worked at WithinReach on breastfeeding support and promotion and loved the organization so much that she stayed on as a Board member for six years. During that time, she also became a doula and chaired the Seattle Midwifery School Board of Directors, helping to facilitate their eventual merger with Bastyr University in 2009.

While raising her two children, Silje held multiple leadership roles, first in her local community co-op preschool, and then through PTA at the primary and secondary levels and as Council Co-President and WSPTA Region 6 Chair. When the pandemic struck, she and her PTA Council team partnered with the Shoreline School District and community organizations to increase food access and connect families to services, mobilizing to support the most impacted families through food drives and distribution of gas and grocery gift cards. They raised over $90,000 in flexible spending support for more than 300 families.  Silje also led weekly Community Supports Zoom calls with district, city and community leadership to share information and coordinate efforts, and distributed city ARPA funding through PTA Council to assist families. 

She has served with multiple foundation, policy, advisory and curriculum groups, participated in campaigns, and is currently a board leader and committee chair of the Lake Forest Park Rotary Club and Friends of Third Place Commons in Lake Forest Park.

Silje lives in Lake Forest Park with her husband and two teenagers and loves to hike, ski and spend time with friends and family. 

District 2: Donnitta Sinclair Martin


Donnitta Sinclair Martin is a Seattle Native raised in the Central District and Rainier Vista. She graduated from the Seattle Vocational Institute. She was a teen mother at age 16, and is now a mother of three and grandmother of one.

In June 2020, during the wake of the uprising across the world following the murder of George Floyd, she lost her 19-year-old son, Horace Lorenzo Anderson, to gun violence. Through her pain, fear, and anger, she has been given the strength to become a voice of the voiceless — the mothers who have lost their children to gun violence.

In 2021, she started We Got Us Moms, LLC, by gathering with other women who had lost their children to gun violence. The organization’s mission is to support, serve, uplift, and collaborate with mothers and community partners to help end the disease of gun violence. We Got Us Moms works to prevent violence and crime, help reduce the number of people incarcerated, and, through education, curb repeated acts of gun violence in their community.

Donnitta has spent her entire adult life focused on giving back to the community. She has worked to end homelessness and support behavioral health care through organizations like Catholic Community Services. She has also been active in youth services, working with Seattle Public Schools to uplift, support, and bring services to youth. She has also worked with organizations like Africatown and People of Color Against Aids Network (POCAAN).  Donnitta’s life is dedicated to service to her community in her son’s name.

District 3: Robert de los Angeles


Robert de los Angeles has known hard work and service to community his whole life. While he is currently the Chairman of the Snoqualmie Indian Tribe, he has worn many hats over the years, many of those with an eye toward service.

Born in Seattle and raised in Woodinville on the family farm with his six brothers and two sisters, he graduated high school in 1971 and by the following year was serving in the U.S. Army. He would serve until 1976, with a year of that served in Korea, before returning to the region and going to work in the steel trades, where he would work for more than 30 years, including nearly two decades as shop superintendent and foreman.

He married his wife Debbie in 1977 and together they raised four sons in Monroe, Washington.

Bob has held many positions within the tribal community, including Councilmember and Vice Chairman, and has worked on a variety of ongoing projects, including working with the Tribal Council to increase the Tribe’s presence both locally and nationally. He was recently elected as president of the Snoqualmie Valley Governments Association (SVGA) for the 2023-2024 term.

As Chairman of the Snoqualmie Tribe, Bob is the recognized spokesperson for the Snoqualmie tribal community, representing them locally and at various events, including the Centennial Accords, a yearly invite between the with the Governor of Washington and the tribal community, the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians (ATNI) and Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board (NPAIHB), to name a few. Bob is also very involved with the Joint American Indian Veterans Advisory Council (JAIVAC). He strives to create the bridge that forms partnerships with other smaller tribes to assure native veterans their rights to benefits that are offered.

District 4: Louise Miller


LouiseMiller was born and reared in northeast King County and has dedicated her career and beyond to enhancing her community through service and education. With her start in teaching music in Seattle Public Schools, she went on to have a long career both in public service and in a variety of volunteer and appointed roles.

Louise earned a degree in music with a teaching credential from San Jose State University before returning to the Seattle area to begin teaching.  After a few years at that, she got the bug for political office and became a commissioner on the Woodinville Water and Sewer District, where she served from 1978 to 1985, negotiating 30-year water supply contracts among other key work.

In 1983, she sought something more and was elected to the state House of Representatives serving the 45th Legislative District representing northeast King County. She went on to serve six terms in the House, holding a variety of leadership roles and working on a multitude of issues, including endangered species, gender bias, water policy and the arts before leaving that office in 1994.

Like many great legislators, she then ran successfully for a seat on the King County Council, where she served for two terms representing District 3. At Council, she served as Chair for two years and Vice Chair for six years, as well as other committee roles. She retired from office in 2001.

She has also served in many volunteer roles, including as vice president of the 4Culture board, the King County Parks Futures task force, the Puget Sound Regional Council Cultural Task Force, the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition board, the King County Board of Ethics and much more. Louise is still involved with the Seattle Opera and the Mainstream Republicans of Washington Boards.

She and her husband have two children and live in Seattle in District 4.

District 5: Mauricio Ayon Rodríguez


Born in Guadalajara, Mexico, and the youngest of eight siblings, Mauricio Ayon Rodríguez first learned about community work from his mother, who was a nurse.

Mauricio moved to the U.S. in 1990, when he was 20 years old, where he undertook an education in photography at the East Los Angeles Community College and later trained with the Industrial Areas Foundation in community organizing. He found his way to South King County not long after and began what has turned into a lifelong commitment to building and strengthening the Latino community.

His work has included community engagement, relationship management and leadership development efforts with Highline Schools; engaging community and building relationships with organizations, especially Latino media outlets and helping start off-campus ESL classes at Highline College; and advocacy work around racial equity, healthcare, clean energy and climate as part of Washington CAN!.

Outside of professional efforts, Mauricio has been hard at work in community volunteer roles as well. He cofounded Para Los Niños, a community-based organization with the mission to support the education of Latino children, with a focus on early childhood development, maintaining and promoting their culture and language, and to teaching English as a second language in order to develop leadership and civic engagement for parents in the community. 

He is also a founding board member of Casa Latina, an organization to advance the power of Seattle’s Latino immigrants through educational and economic opportunities.

Throughout much of this work – up until 2019 – Mauricio was living as an undocumented immigrant, so he knows firsthand the many and varying challenges facing immigrants like himself.  He is the father of three amazing humans: Alejandra, Magdalena, and Mauricio Jr and a much-loved community member.

District 6: Linda Hall


A leader in King County’s human services community, Linda Hall has spent nearly 20 years in executive-level positions at local nonprofits.

She has served as the Executive Director of St. Andrew’s Housing Group (now Imagine Housing), Director of Real Estate with the Seattle Housing Authority, and Director of Housing Development with the YWCA Seattle – King – Snohomish. She was a co-leader on the Issaquah Zero Energy Village and recognized by A Regional Coalition for Housing “as a passionate voice for affordable housing.” Linda served on the Housing Development Consortium board from 2001 – 2009, including as board president from 2004-2005, and they presented her with the Board of Directors Award in 2019.

Most recently, Linda has been a Project Manager for Congregations for the Homeless, guiding the siting and building of the first and only permanent men’s shelter in East King County. Because of her dedication to the project, CFH will open the shelter in June, after nearly 10 years of planning and community effort. It will provide safety, stability, and services to over 100 men experiencing homelessness.

District 7: Catherine Carlile


Catherine Carlile has devoted her life to the intersection of music and activism.

With over 20 years of experience, she has served as the Executive Director of the Looking Out Foundation since 2012, which has raised over $4 million to support social justice and humanitarian causes across the US and globally. The foundation’s most recent campaigns include raising over $300,000 in seven days for earthquake victims in Syria and Turkey, as well as raising over $500,000 for LGBTQIA+ communities as part of Nashville’s Love Rising benefit.

Named as one of People Magazine’s 2023 Women Changing the World, Carlile also serves as Creative Director for Phantom 309 Productions and co-hosts the “Somewhere Over the Radio” show on SiriusXM, celebrating LGBTQIA+ Artists and Allies.

Prior to her current work, Catherine worked with Sir Paul McCartney in coordinating his charitable interests and endeavors. Originally from London, Catherine now lives outside of Seattle, WA with her wife, Brandi Carlile, and their two daughters, Evangeline and Elijah.

District 8: Sili Savusa


Sili Savusa learned from childhood the power and importance of community. Her father, a Samoan Matais (chief), helped found the Samoan National Chief’s Council in the 1980s, and then started the chief’s council in Seattle as well. In her childhood home, her father brought people in for community meetings, ceremonies, organizing.

Sili, who is now the Executive Director of the White Center Community Development Association (and a Matais herself), has carried on that tradition. She established the first Samoan Pacific Islander Parent Teacher Student Association in the nation, successfully managed the multi-million-dollar Making Connections community change initiative for the Annie E. Casey Foundation, and became the first woman of color elected to the Highline School Board. She previously served as the Family Center Coordinator for Southwest Youth and Family Services.

For more than 20 years, Sili has also worked with The People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond, working to bring people together to establish relationships based on trust.

Sili, a longtime resident of White Center, has built a reputation as one of the most successful and prominent Samoan community leaders in the Northwest, and works each day to help uplift, support and promote her community and its needs.

District 9: Bill Kombol


Bill Kombol has deep roots in East King County. Long before his birth, his family worked the coal mines of East Pierce County, eventually starting their own firm and moving to King County. Bill joined the family business in 1968 at age 15, working as a “Saturday boy” for Palmer Coking Coal Co. During his senior year of college he worked nights at Washington’s last underground coal mine while finishing his bachelor’s degree in economics at the University of Washington.  He became Manager of the company in 1982 and served until retirement in 2022.

But Bill’s commitment to local communities goes far deeper than even the old Ravensdale mine. He has spent much of his adult life also seeking to trace, document, and protect the history of his community, donating his free time to many local organizations, including the Black Diamond Historical Society, the Enumclaw Plateau Historical Society, the King County Centennial Commission, the King County Rural Forest Commission, open space and parks committees, and others.

He has written extensively about the history of the region, in articles, historical society papers,, and other published works.  He’s also compiled and edited many other articles, family histories, and more.

Bill and his wife, Jennifer have three sons – Oliver, Spencer, and Henry – and live in Black Diamond.

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