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Capt. Hans Zeiger honored as Howard O. Scott Citizen-Service member awardee

Public service runs through Capt. Hans Zeiger’s blood. He is a member of the state Senate and a scoutmaster, and at the same time, helps many non-profit veterans’ organizations in the Puyallup area. His service to community earned him the 2019 Howard O. Scott Award from the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber.

“Capt. Zeiger has some remarkable accomplishments already, and this is another one,” said Mark Minickiello, vice president, Harborstone Credit Union. 

For 38 years the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce has presented a deserving citizen-soldier or airman from Pierce County the award, named after a man who served the nation when called upon during World War II as part of "America's Greatest Generation." Scott returned to succeed as a banker, giving his time to community service organizations, trusting and enjoying in his belief that doing so is one's responsibility.

“Preparing for this I learned a bit about Howard O. Scott and it is a tremendous honor to be a recipient of this award,” said Zeiger. 

A native of Puyallup, Zeiger graduated from Puyallup High School in 2003 where he was involved in student government, debate and athletics. He achieved the rank of Eagle Scout from Troop 174, which he is still affiliated with today as the assistant scoutmaster. 

In 2011 Zeiger was elected to represent the citizens of the 25th District in the Washington state House of Representatives and served three terms there before being elected to the Washington State Senate in 2016. 

While serving in Olympia, he felt a sense of need to serve in a different capacity, so in 2013 he joined the Washington Air National Guard as a public affairs officer. 

“My job is to give attention to other people so this is not normal to me,” said Zeiger. “I’m just doing my job.”

During his acceptance speech, Zeiger talked in depth about both his grandfathers, whom he credits drove him to be the man he is today, serving both in the military and in the community. He comes from four generations of teachers and says his grandfather Ed Zeiger taught him about civic engagement and community service. 

“He always said more hands make for better work and the best leaders know how to get the most from their people.”

He credits his maternal grandfather Mark with giving him the itch to serve in the military. 

“He was a pilot in the Air Force,” Zeiger said. “I never met him, but he was a hero and the more I learned about him the more I knew I wanted to serve.”

Zeiger’s civic and volunteer activities also include membership on the boards of the One Another Foundation, the South Hill Historical Society, the William Ruckelshaus Center, Mainstream Republicans of Washington and the Pierce County Developmental Disabilities Advisory Board.

“I don’t think you could pick a more fitting recipient, he is highly successful in his civilian and military career while having a supportive family at home,” Brig. Gen. Jeremy Horn, commander of the Washington Air National Guard said during his keynote speech. “Hans and his wife Erin represent the best of us.”

This marks the second year in a row that a Washington National Guard member has received the honor. Last year Col. Mike Ake, an Army Guardsman and Tacoma Police Officer was honored.