Mike Salatino was awarded Citizen of the Year during the Key Peninsula Lions Club’s 26th Annual Citizen of the Year Award Banquet March 20 at the Key Peninsula Civic Center. Photo: Ed Johnson, KP News

Side by side, Key Peninsula residents and political dignitaries dined at the annual Key Peninsula Lions Club Citizen of the Year Awards dinner at the Key Peninsula Civic Center March 20. More than 200 were in attendance.

It was the 26th year for the event, and each of the 29 nominees were honored, with the winner, Mike Salatino, announced at the end of the evening.

Salatino’s win was a first in the history of the Citizen of the Year award. The votes proclaimed an overwhelming win, said George Robison, president of the Key Peninsula Lions Club. Only Lions Club members vote, and no Lions Club member can be nominated for the award.
Dressed in a black suit, Salatino gave a brief acceptance speech.

His years of service to the Key Peninsula community include acting as a long-time member of the board of directors for the civic center, including the office of president, planner of the KP Community Fair, leader of Pioneer Days, serving on the KP Parks and Recreation Board, and for 30 years he and his wife Joyce have hosted the annual Christmas Day Dinner at the civic center for senior citizens who otherwise would spend that day alone.

Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy served as the keynote speaker, and said she was impressed with the Key Peninsula community. The event, she said, is something not seen in other parts of Pierce County.

Though each nominee invites guests to fill their table, there were many from the community who attended on their own, filling every table in the room.
The dinner choices included chicken and roast, Caesar salad and rolls. Cakes filled a desert table.