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About Town: City Councilman John Stilin Embraces Volunteering

“I was raised that when you’re fortunate, you give back," he said.

To Redmond City Councilman John Stilin, volunteering in the community comes as naturally as getting out of bed in the morning.

Stilin was elected to the council in 2009, after serving on the Redmond Arts Commission. He also volunteers at , helping with the school’s orchestra program — even playing bass for it in concerts — and monitoring the playground before school.

Although he began working at the school when his own sons were elementary students there, Stilin continues even now that his youngest boys, twins Ben and Nick, are students at Redmond High School.

“When my oldest son started playing the cello, I saw the size of the orchestra," Stilin said. "It was obvious they could use some help.”

Stilin and his wife, Sherry, moved to Redmond 20 years ago, and it’s been 11 years since he left his job at to pursue community interests and to take a very active role in raising the couple’s three sons.

“I was fortunate enough to be able to go and work for people for whom my time is valuable,” Stilin said. He says he’s happy that he can serve on the council and has the flexibility to meet with constituents at times that are convenient for them.

The entire Stilin family is very community oriented, which has helped make them a close-knit group, Stilin said. Sherry Stilin has a gift for fundraising, once turning a potential $1,500 auction at Rockwell into an event that brought in $30,000 for the school. Now, she’s volunteering as an ambassador for the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

These are values that the Stilins have fostered in their children, too. Last week, for example, the efforts of Stilin and his sons, Ben and Nick, culminated in a , a documentary maker and kayaker who has explored the depths of Papua New Guinea’s rivers under the auspices of the National Geographic Young Explorers program. Ben Stilin served as the project manager for the effort, while Nick handled fundraising.

For John Stilin’s part, his goal is to initiate a program that can be self-sustained by the kids at the high school based on the interests of students such as Ben and Nick.

In his spare time, Stilin, who lives in Education Hill and plans to build a home on Lake Sammamish, enjoys boating, and keeping up with his boys, who are involved with numorous school activities.

Rockwell Elementary, meanwhile, continues to benefit from his involvement in the orchestra. Principal Tina Livingston said Stilin is there every morning, helping set up for class and making sure the students are able to hit the right notes.

“He actually plays in our concerts, which is phenomenal," Livingston said. "He’s just a great guy.”

Editor's note: An earlier version of this story contained incorrect information about the time that has passed since Stilin left Microsoft and the whereabouts of his current residence in Redmond. Redmond Patch regrets the errors.

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