Longtime Cascade Valley Hospital commissioner and Arlington community member Mary Jean Kraski was awarded with the local Community Lifetime Achievement Award on April 24.
The award from the Stillaguamish Senior Center recognizes someone from the Arlington community who has made significant contributions to the area.
Kraski was born in 1943 and married her husband Bob in 1962.
The two had three sons, Bob, who is a contractor, Steven, who works for Walton Beverage, and David, who is the current Fire Chief of the Arlington Fire Department.
“All three boys and two grandchildren have all graduated from Arlington High School,” said Arlington Mayor Barbara Tolbert.
Another grandchild, Olivia, will graduate in 2020.
Bob and Mary Jean Kraski owned the local business Kraski’s Furniture. Kraski worked at the store until she became a travel agent at Arlington Travel.
“She worked there for over 20 years and she loved her job,” said Tolbert.
In 1984 she joined the Advisory Board for Cascade Valley Hospital and when voters voted to increase the number of commissioners in 1990 she was appointed to the board.
She served in that position until 2006.
The biggest project was the new hospital building.
“Construction of the new hospital was the high point,” said Tolbert.
“The bond measure passed by a wide measure and the construction came in with some words that our citizens love to hear: on time and under budget,” she said.
Tolbert said the new hospital helped to attract more doctors to the community which has helped serve many residents.
Kraski is also a member of the Stilly Valley Health Foundation (formerly the Cascade Valley Hospital Foundation).
“How I best know Mary Jean is that she is currently a board member for the Stilly Valley Health Foundation which applies for grants to provide funds for the community to be used in various ways,” said Tolbert.
The funding the foundation brings in has helped the community through projects like scholarships and more mental health support in schools.
The foundation was also instrumental in collecting funds and distributing them after the Oso landslide in 2014. They received $1.2 million at that time.
“The funds were given to local nonprofits that provided direct relief to the families as well as to local first responders and support organizations that had depleted their funds,” said Tolbert.
Kraski’s husband Bob served as mayor of Arlington for a time and passed away in 2017.
She has recently sold her home and moved into a condo.
“She hopes to travel a bit more. On her bucket list are Portugal, Ireland and the Holy Land,” said Tolbert.
Kraski was appreciative of the award.
“I just want to thank you all for being here,” Kraski said.
“Thank you for the people that prepared the breakfast and coming and supporting the senior center,” she said.
The Stillaguamish Senior Center puts on the annual award breakfast as a fundraiser to support the center and honor important community members.
More information about the center can be found at stillycenter.org.