An instinctive desire to give back to their community is the quality that best describes real estate entrepreneur Jamie Shaughnessy and family physician Jimmy Grierson.
Voters showed their appreciation of these remarkable citizens by choosing them as the Community Woman and Man of the Year.
The annual Stanwood Camano News contest held in conjunction with the Best Of area businesses and businesspeople contest began May 14 with daily online voting through May 28 at SCnews.com/bestof. More than 38,000 votes were cast to help determine the winners of the annual Best Of contest.
The Community Man and Woman of the Year awards come with a prize: $225 each, to have donated to the charity of their choice. Shaughnessy is choosing to donate to the Stanwood Camano Food Bank’s Warm Coats for Kids program, and Grierson chose Safe Harbor Free Clinic.
Community Woman of the Year
For Community Woman of the Year, Jamie Shaughnessy, was the winner out of five finalists.
“I’m just so honored to be given this recognition — it really means a lot to me,” she said.
Shaughnessy, who lives on Camano Island, has deep roots in the Stanwood and Camano area.
The Liens, her paternal great great grandparents, emigrated from Norway to this area in the late 1880’s to pursue the American dream as farmers and entrepreneurs.
Over the years, the Liens worked hard, started families and became one of the most respected names in the area.
Shaughnessy, 44, greatly admires the sterling qualities of her settler relatives.
“We were always aware of how hard our pioneer ancestors worked to succeed,” she said. “The Liens have also always been known for their dedication to improving their community.”
Growing up in Stanwood, Shaughnessy attended local schools and always excelled as a student, both academically and socially.
Her good friend and sister-in-law, Kelley Carman, who nominated Shaughnessy, has known her since the second grade.
She is not surprised that Shaughnessy was chosen Community Woman of the Year.
“She is absolutely the nicest person,” Carman said. “Jamie has always cared about others and would do anything to help those in need. She is incredibly dedicated to making our community a better place.”
The only time Shaughnessy has spent away from the area was when she attended college at Central Washington University to become a teacher.
After graduating, she taught for 10 years with the Stanwood-Camano School District.
“I loved teaching, and I thought it was going to be my forever career,” she said.
However, her dad, renowned local realtor Dan Lien, had always encouraged Shaughnessy to give selling real estate a try.
“My dad just saw something in me that made him believe real estate would be a natural fit for me,” she said. “I loved teaching but I believed in my dad’s wisdom and decided to change careers.”
Shaughnessy found success as an agent and decided to open her own real estate business last year.
North 48 Real Estate, which opened in March 2019, is doing well and has 24 agents on staff.
“I wanted to open a local real estate firm because I wanted revenues to stay in the community instead of going to a national office,” she said. “I liked the idea of not being a franchise but instead being a local business with local roots.”
North 48 Real Estate is also deeply committed to giving back to those in need whenever possible.
“We are always looking for ways to make a positive difference in our community,” she said. “Whether it’s volunteering at the Food Bank, sponsoring a sports team or helping a family in need during the holidays, North48 staff are dedicated to giving back.”
Shaughnessy who is married to Ryan Shaughnessy, Tulalip Bay Fire Department Chief, believes that it is critical that she and her husband set a good example for her three kids: Chloe, 18; Alyssa, 17; and Tommy, 8.
“I come from people who were compassionate and had a deep sense of supporting neighbors so that life is better for all,” she said. “Ryan and I both believe that the way we go through life can be inspirational to our children and we try to live that every day.”
Shaughnessy’s friend Carman echoes these sentiments.
“Jamie’s heritage is one of people committed to the idea of helping out and making things better for everyone,” she said. “She is the living example of the pioneer spirit of working hard while always being kind to others.”
Community Man of the Year
For Community Man of the Year, Jimmy Grierson was the winner out of four finalists.
“Being chosen Community Man of the Year is such a pleasant surprise — I’m very thankful for this,” he said.
Grierson, 47, a family physician, grew up in Montana and Oregon.
While attending Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma as an undergraduate, Grierson became friends with JP DeBoer — who grew up in the Stanwood and Camano area.
“I could tell by the way JP talked about his community that is a special place,” Grierson said.
After PLU, Grierson attended the University of Washington School of Medicine.
He met his wife Linda along the way and after graduating and becoming a doctor, Grierson and his wife felt drawn to the area.
“In 2004, we both thought of the Stanwood and Camano area as a place where I could start my medical practice,” he said. “Linda and I felt so welcomed by the community spirit. Plus it’s just such a beautiful place to live.”
The couple moved to Camano Island, and after Grierson settled into his career with a Stanwood medical clinic, he starting looking for ways to give back.
After a mission trip to help those in need of medical assistance in Haiti, he spearheaded the founding of the Safe Harbor Free Clinic in Stanwood in 2008.
“I thought that if we could provide free medical care to those in need in Haiti, there was no reason we couldn’t do the same thing in our own community,” Grierson said.
The clinic provides free health care for those underinsured or without health insurance and has served thousands of residents from Snohomish, Skagit and Island counties over the years.
Much of the services offered are provided by volunteers — including Grierson.
Amy Schmitt, who nominated Grierson, is overjoyed that he was selected Community Man of the Year.
She has known him for years not only as her family’s doctor but as a friend who will help out at a moment’s notice.
“To be honest, he could win this award every year,” Schmitt said, “On a personal and professional level, Jimmy has been a huge blessing to me and my family.”
After working for years in Stanwood, Grierson is now practicing as a family physician in Marysville.
He is also the doctor for the Stanwood High School football team, an associate professor at Washington State University School of Medicine and a rotating physician with Sea Mar — in addition to board positions and volunteering on medical missions throughout the world.
The Griersons have three children: Hannah, 20; Jonah, 17; and Micah, 13.
The entire family is deeply devoted to their faith and are always looking for ways to make a difference in their community.
“Volunteering to help those in need is such a privilege,” Grierson said. “It’s delightful to raise a family in a community that encourages and supports this spirit of giving back.”
Family friend Schmitt wholeheartedly agrees with Grierson and is grateful that he is part of the community.
“He is a genuine leader in the Stanwood and Camano area, and we are lucky to have him,” she said. “I couldn’t be happier for Dr. Grierson, and the community couldn’t be better represented.”