Spring 2021 Magazine

Seahawks' Doug Baldwin honored with King County MLK Jr. Medal of Distinguished Service

Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin received the Martin Luther King, Jr. Medal of Distinguished Service award from King County in Washington on Monday.

The award is given annually to individuals recognized by King County as having “gone above and beyond in their efforts to make a difference in communities across King County in answer to Dr. King’s question: ‘What are you doing for others?”

“From his Letters in a Birmingham Jail, Martin Luther King said that ‘we cannot expect those who are barefoot to lift themselves up themselves from their own bootstraps,’ Baldwin said. “I’m here today because I was afforded access and opportunities that a lot of people a lot of people I grew up with weren’t afforded. And I think it’s a privilege and an honor to be able to serve those who don’t have those bootstraps and to give back to the community and the families and the people that look just like me. An opportunity to do the things they want to do and to achieve the things they want to achieve in life.”

Baldwin was one of nine people to receive the award for his work in South King County and the Family First Community Center project in Renton, Wash, according to The Seattle Times.

The Family First Community Center will provide a variety of programs including youth sports, art and music classes, group exercise and English as a second language class. Healthpoint, a non-profit health center, will also provide services in the facility. Construction is expected to begin by the end of this year, according to the newspaper.

Baldwin partnered with the City of Renton and the Renton School District to design and build the center in the Cascade/Benson Hill area, which is home to nearly a quarter of Renton’s population. Twelve percent of the population in the Cascade/Benson Hill area live below the poverty line, and more than 20 percent is aged 14 years or younger.

“Dr. King understood the importance of the opportunities athletes had to use their platforms for positive social change,” Councilmember Dave Upthegrove said in presenting the medal to Baldwin, according to The Seattle Times. “Doug’s commitment to service in Renton and all of the communities in King County embodies that vision – and we are better for it.”

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