Everyday Hero Valentina Washington

Winner: AFT Public Employees division

Health Department Accountant II
Baltimore County (Md.) Federation of Public Employees

Valentina WashingtonYou might describe Valentina Washington, an accountant for the Baltimore County Health Department, as a go-getter for the people of Baltimore. You surely would describe her as a professional. A star worker and colleague during more than a decade in county government, Washington is above all a problem-solver. Her enthusiasm and powers of analysis help her on the job, her nominator writes, and her personable nature allows her to help co-workers. She understands the challenges public employees face, which led her to become a union steward and then a leader for the Baltimore County Federation of Public Employees, where she is serving as an area vice president.

The sheer scope of her community involvement is amazing. As a mother of four, she volunteers at Hebbville Elementary School and serves as treasurer of its PTA. Also a parent volunteer and member of the Cromwell Valley Elementary Regional Magnet School PTA, she is a staunch advocate for equity among all the county's public school students. She has provided testimony at many a school board meeting.

In her neighborhood, Washington stays active in her civic association, once serving two terms as an officer. She diligently attends meetings held by local elected officials "in an effort to enlighten them," her nominator says. During the summer, she volunteers as a Little League parent coach. Washington's husband works as a county correctional officer and is a union member as well. Somehow they manage to balance their commitments in work and life. To top it off, Valentina Washington is enrolled at the University of Maryland University College, where she is working toward a master's degree in accounting and information systems.