Mayor Jon Nehring (left) presented Michael Jefferson with a key to the city at the April 23 City Council meeting. Jefferson, a Marysville native, was a cast member of the TV reality show "Survivor."
Michael Jefferson, a Marysville native and contestant on the latest season of "Survivor," was given a key to the city of Marysville on April 23 by Mayor Jon Nehring.
Jefferson said he wanted to be on "Survivor" because it was his mother's favorite show, and it was also a way to travel and see the world.
It required a lot of persistence and effort to get accepted, though. Jefferson had been applying for the show for three years before he was called back, and even after the callback he wasn't guaranteed a spot.
Preparing to leave his job and family for a lengthy period of time was also a big sacrifice.
But he did get onto "Survivor: One World," the twenty-fourth edition of the show, played in the South Pacific's Samoan Islands. He was the eighth person eliminated from the competition.
There were many challenges for Jefferson while playing, but a lot of his expectations turned out to be wrong.
He thought he would have trouble with the limited diet, but that wasn't the case. "I just like to eat all the time, but that's actually the easy part because once you last two days without food it's just like you don't really need food anymore."
What he actually thought would be the simpler challenge, maneuvering amid the drama and backstabbing of the game, was the part he said was the most difficult.
"When I got home I realized just how important friends and family are. They won't treat you like some people will treat you in the game," he said.
Jefferson said he has gained a new appreciation of how easy our lives not only with the ease of access we have to food and shelter, but also the friends and family available to us.
Jefferson is a Marysville native who grew up in the town and only a year and a half ago moved away. Currently, he works in Everett as a banker.
He has many ties to the city though, such as his two-year job, several years ago, with the Parks and Recreation department and his participation in their after-school programs for middle school students. At Marysville Middle School, he played sports and other games with the students who needed an after-school space to play or hang out.
Jefferson has found a similar way to be involved with kids in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program of Snohomish County.
"You see how much he appreciates hanging out with you and how much it means to him just giving him a chance to be a kid," he said about the child he mentors.
Jefferson said while accepting the key that getting on the show and being honored in this way were dreams of his. "To have a dream and then have it come true--it's just really cool to see something like that," he said.