Lake Stevens Police Chief | Randy Celori
Chief Celori is one of the hardest working people I know. He has a great sense of humor and is calm and compassionate. Chief Celori was chosen for his continual support of all of those who live and work in Lake Stevens. He is also an amazing single father, friend and co-worker.
After growing up in Marquette, Mich., Randy Celori served in the United States Army for 15 years, mostly as a Military Policeman. In 1995, the Army offered MPs at a certain pay level an early retirement option. At first, Celori had no intention of retiring early but his mind changed quickly.
“I had a bad day at work, so I applied for early retirement and got accepted,” he said.
Family brought him to Western Washington where he applied to become a police officer in Everett, Bellingham, Bellevue and Lake Stevens.
Lake Stevens was the first department he received paperwork from and he felt that the small department had a lot to offer.
“I thought I could learn more from the smaller police department,” he said.
After working patrol for four years, Celori got an opportunity to apply for a sergeant position and was selected.
In 2001, Chief John Gray, Lake Stevens’ Police Chief at the time, left and Celori was offered the job as Police Chief.
“I think I was fortunate because of my experience in the military,” Celori explained. “I had supervised and was devoted to law enforcement.”
Throughout his years serving the Lake Stevens community, Celori has given much of his free time to help the community he calls home.
Celori and the Lake Stevens Police Dept. earn money each year through Tip-A-Cop and other events, for Special Olympics. Celori even participates in the torch run.
“I thought it was important that we participate and help the kids in Special Olympics,” Celori said.
He is a member of the Lake Stevens/Granite Falls Rotary Club and the 2009 President of the Greater Lake Stevens Chamber of Commerce where he has spent countless hours serving the small business owners in the community.
Because of his involvement within the Chamber, Celori has been an integral part in keeping Lake Stevens on the Ironman 70.3 Triathlon circuit, bringing additional money to businesses in Lake Stevens and surrounding areas.
Celori has also made it a top priority to bring a Chamber Office and Tourist Information center to Lundeen Park, which he continues to work on.
“I really want to see the Chamber office move to Lundeen Park,” he said. “Opening that building to the public as a visitors center.”
Those who work with Celori on a regular basis have learned of his commitment and loyalty to a community that we all love.
“Knowing Randy all these years I have seen a man I admire for his strength and commitment to the community in which he serves in so many different ways. He always is asking the question, ‘how does this benefit the community and the businesses in Lake Steven’,” Tonya Christoffersen, Chamber Treasurer and friend said.
“Randy is consistent and reliable to those he works with and even to those he serves; either as the Chief of Police or the Chamber President. I am very proud to have Randy as my friend, but also to work with him, knowing he is always focused on the greater good, no matter what hat he is wearing.”
Celori’s proudest accomplishment is the raising of his two sons, Anthony, 17 and Matt, 12.
“Out of any of my accomplishments, I am proud of them the most,” he said. “They are both good boys.”
State Rep. 44th District | Mike Hope
Mike Hope has so many positive attributes which he brings to the people of the State of Washington that it’s hard to know where to begin so, we’ll start at the beginning.
Hope grew up outside of Cleveland, Ohio with his two brothers. After joining the Marines, he realized that he would like to live in Washington.
“I moved out here after visiting the state with the U.S. Marines,” he said. “Our battalion headquarters was located in Washington State.”
He attended John Carroll University and graduated in 1998 with a degree in Sociology and Criminology. After graduation, Hope became a police officer with the Seattle Police Department. It was during his internship, he found out that police work was something he enjoyed.
“As part of the graduation requirements, we had to intern for any part of the criminal justice system. I chose the Mentor Police Department, a city of about 75,000 people located outside of Cleveland,” Hope explained. “I really did not intend on becoming a police officer when I started college, rather I was looking at graduate school. However, I truly enjoyed my internship and decided that being a police officer would be a great career.”
He went on to earn his Masters Degree in Policy Studies at the University of Washington – Bothell where he also received the 2009 Distinguished Alumni Award.
“The award recognizes UW Bothell Alumni who have shown distinguished professional achievements or outstanding community service work since graduating from the institution,” it states on the university’s website. “Representative Hope graduated from the UW Bothell in 2006 with a Master’s degree in Policy Studies and is the first alumni to ever hold public office.”
The Lake Stevens community has many small businesses and Hope and his wife Sarai know what it takes to run a business of their own which has helped relate to business owners he represents.
“I had owned Hope’s Gym, a personal training facility in Monroe for two years. However, my wife and I decided we could not coach, work our full time jobs, be a state representative, have a baby and run a small business. So, we decided to close the gym and maybe open it again later,” he said.
He continues to coach wrestling at Monroe High School where he also used to coach football and track.
“This works really well with my wife, Sarai, as she coaches girl’s basketball at MHS,” Hope said.
The best part of coaching is working with the student/athletes. It is a true joy to watch them grow into young men and achieve success,” he said.
One of the biggest obstacles serving in the House of Representatives has been that he is a member of the Republican (minority) party.
“This puts you at the will of the committee chairs, as to they can decide what bills of yours to hear or not. It makes it important to rely on grass roots efforts, the media and to sway a few votes,” Hope said. “The best part of serving is to truly help. Last session, passing Eryk’s Law was very rewarding. Here a family, from Lake Stevens, suffered so much as their child was severely beaten by a family friend. They ran into problems and disappointments with the criminal justice system and we were able to ensure that other families will not face those same issues.”
After the Lakewood Police Officer tragedy a few weeks ago, Hope has created a bill that would help protect police officers and the public from criminals like Maurice Clemmons.
“This year we are working on the Lakewood Police Memorial Act to better protect people and police,” hope said.
He explains what the law would cover:
“The Lakewood Police Memorial Act is a common sense piece of legislation. It would enact into law, that when one is charged with their third violent offense, three strikes and you’re out, that person will not be granted bail,” Hope explains. “Currently, judges can hold bail on capital offenses. What this prevents is someone like Clemmons, who was a third striker, from ever being granted bail. Suspects in those cases have absolutely nothing to lose and our court system basically gave him a free ride to go on a crime spree. Other aspects of the bill deal with pardons, clemency, and aiding and abetting suspects.”
The lives of so many were shattered at this senseless act and because of that the bill has strong support including: democrats, republicans, many media outlets, the Lakewood Police Guild and virtually every law enforcement guild.
Hope and his wife Sarai have been married since 2001 and are expecting their first child in the spring.
“The baby will be due in April and we are waiting until birth to see what our surprise will be. But, the pregnancy is going well and has not slowed Sarai down. She is still working as a teacher at Monroe High School and coaching basketball. People joke with us that the baby will come out wearing wrestling shoes or holding a basketball,” he said.
Now, Hope is preparing for the 2010 legislative session that will begin in January and is looking forward to once again, representing those who live within the 44th District.
“I was truly working for the people of our district. I don’t care so much about party politics; I only care for what is right for our people and district. I want to be known as someone that brings confidence and belief back into our political process,” Hope said.
Granite Falls Mayor-Elect | Saleem Haroon
When opening the door to the Timberline Café on Stanley Street in Granite Falls last week, Christmas carols filled the air and a room full of customers turned towards the door and smiled. The outgoing and friendly bartender showed me to the office of Granite Falls new Mayor, where once again I was welcomed with a friendly smile and a strong handshake from Mayor-Elect Saleem Haroon.
Haroon has one of the best memories I have ever encountered and the stories of his past are interesting and amusing. What I found was a man who is honest, up front and has learned tough lessons throughout his life experiences.
Haroon, who was born Sheikh Haroon Saleem in Rawal, Pindi, Pakistan over 54 years ago is not exactly who one would imagine to be the Mayor of a city in small town America, but after a heated campaign battle last month, Haroon beat out mayoral incumbent Lyle Romack 61 percent to 35 percent.
Haroon was raised the youngest of five children, in a wealthy family and was taught at an early age that hard work and determination are the keys to success.
“As kids, we were very fortunate,” he said. “We were able to go to really good schools.”
His family business was in importing and the resale side of glassware, silverware and china. When Haroon was only 12 years old his father’s business became financially unstable and he returned from school to work with his father.
“We had fallen on hard times, my dad’s business took a hit and I started working with my dad instead of finishing college at that time,” he explained.
At the age of 20, Haroon lost his father suddenly. At this time he took an “internship” position at the Intercontinental Hotel because he wanted to learn the business. After working for the Hotel he decided to take a contract job in Iran where workers were miles from any town and worked in 120 degree heat.
His hard work paid off and he was making decent money, but when the work came to a halt because of political reasons within the country of Iran, there was nothing to do except play cards and gamble.
“I was always a hard worker,” Haroon explained. ‘But riots started against the Shaw and everything started shutting down. I lost all of the money I had earned playing cards.”
After Haroon returned home with no money and out of the goodness of a friend’s heart who paid for his bus ticket, he decided to come to the United States.
His sister lived with her husband in Rhode Island and a good friend from boarding school invited him to come to San Francisco. After filling out all of the paperwork, all that was left was to find the funds to pay for the trip overseas.
“I got ready to come to the United States, now comes the part of where the money is going to come from,” Haroon said.
After years of working in many restaurants and as a cab driver in both San Francisco and Los Angeles, a first marriage that ended in an immigration office in San Francisco (a very amusing story) Haroon ended up in Western Washington working as a manager at Jack-in-the-Box right after the E.coli outbreaks.
After being asked to leave Jack-in-the-Box he moved on to Shari’s restaurant. Haroon explains that he would would seven days a week, 17-18 hours a day and that every store he managed ended up becoming more profitable than before he took over as manager. However, he learned that speaking out wasn’t always a good thing.
“I have been one of those people, all my life, that when I see something wrong I stand up for what is right,” he said. “Over the years I’ve paid my dues.”
Fast forward a few years to August 2000 when Haroon decided to buy the Timberline Café in Granite Falls.
“I fell in love with this town––I’ve always wanted to live in a small town,” he explained. “Everything just fell into place.”
Now, he employs over 20 people, most of them local. He also enjoys hiring teenagers in his restaurant so he can help them learn a strong work ethic.
“I want to educate the youth, get them in the work force and teach them a work ethic,” Haroon explained.
Six years ago, Haroon was approached and asked to run for Mayor, he declined. Four years ago he was asked and again and declined but after helping to start the Granite Falls Concerned Citizens Association (GFCCA) with two past mayors, attending several council meetings and finding out the results of the city’s audit, he felt it was time to throw his hat in the ring.
For now, Haroon is looking forward to taking over as the city’s new mayor on Jan. 4 and hopes that the citizens will continue to believe in him as their leader.
“We believe we ran a very effective campaign and we have some great plans for our city and we’re going to have fun,” he said. “Unfortunately there are some elements who have not accepted the public’s will.”
As for being recognized as one of the Journal’s Most Inspiring People of 2009, Haroon’s eyes filled with tears.
“I am so honored and very humbled. Never in my life did I think I would get that honor,” he said.
Haroon and his wife Bushre have an 11-year-old daughter Nida and enjoy their life in Granite Falls.