This Thanksgiving, Shoreline, Wash. resident Drew Griffin becomes the inaugural recipient of PFLAG National’s “Morty Manford LGBTQ+ Volunteerism Award.” The honor is given in recognition and appreciation of an LGBTQ+ person who serves the PFLAG organization and the PFLAG Chapter Network as a committed, passionate volunteer.
“It is with great humility that PFLAG National honors Drew Griffin as the inaugural recipient of the Morty Manford LGBTQ+ Volunteerism Award,” said PFLAG National Board President Kathy Godwin. “Throughout his time at PFLAG, Drew has been the consummate model of an LGBTQ+ community leader. As a role model, he has worked to ensure other LGBTQ+ people in Washington know they have a caring community in PFLAG. As a PFLAG leader, he has helped to elevate the role of PFLAG chapters in local communities throughout the Pacific Northwest.”
Since 2013, Griffin has been an active volunteer leader in his home state of Washington. Through his volunteerism, he has helped expand the footprint of LGBTQ+ community supports in rural areas by developing partnerships with local Pride organizers and PFLAG chapters. He even chaired the first-ever Pride event in Tukwila, Wash. in 2019.
“Working with PFLAG has given me tools to reach people where they are, taught me about the human experience from diverse intersections, and allowed me to fulfill my dreams of a lifetime,” Griffin said, “but serving the people of my home state with PFLAG Washington State Council has been the greatest highlight of all.”
Executive Director of PFLAG National Brian K. Bond said of the award, “As an organization founded to support LGBTQ+ people and the movement for equality, PFLAG would not exist were it not for Morty Manford, the openly gay son of PFLAG founder Jeanne Manford. He not only inspired his mother to LGBTQ+ activism but was a leading political organizer and activist in his own right. This award honors LGBTQ+ volunteers within PFLAG who carry the torch; Drew Griffin is an ideal first recipient of this award.”
The Morty Manford LGBTQ+ Volunteerism Award is given in recognition and appreciation of a person who serves the PFLAG organization and the PFLAG Chapter Network as a committed, passionate volunteer. People honored with this award are members of the LGBTQ+ community who go above and beyond in their volunteerism with PFLAG, providing Support, Education, and Advocacy as they live their authentic lives as role models; share their personal stories to change hearts and minds; and help grow the diversity, inclusion, representation, and strength of PFLAG across the United States.
Griffin grew up in the towns of White Salmon and Underwood, Wash. and spent his career in the banking industry in Seattle and Huntington Beach, Calif. Having been relentlessly bullied and harassed in school and in his home for being gay, Griffin dropped out of high school as a junior, later attending Cascades Job Corps Center, Sedro-Wooley where he was elected the first openly gay student government president, twice. He earned his GED and additional vocational and college credit at Skagit Valley College. A self-taught graphic artist and outdoor enthusiast, Griffin has been living with cancer for many years, and has been disabled by the disease since 2012. Since that time, he has devoted his attention and passion to community service. In addition to his volunteerism with PFLAG, Griffin has also written, produced and performed with Seattle drag queen “Bitsy Bates,” performed by his companion and life partner Andrew Tasakos. His favorite thing in life is his role as uncle to his nephews, biological and chosen.
As the first-ever recipient of the Morty Manford LGBTQ+ Volunteerism Award, Griffin shared, “I know that one person can make a difference; one person, one neighborhood, one community at a time, because I am living proof it can happen.”
PFLAG is the first and largest organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) people, their parents and families, and allies. With over 400 chapters and 200,000 members and supporters crossing multiple generations of families in major urban centers, small cities, and rural areas across America, PFLAG is committed to creating a world where diversity is celebrated and all people are respected, valued, and affirmed. The Washington State Council is a coalition of PFLAG chapters in Washington State consisting of chapter and community leaders who work together to further PFLAG’s mission, vision, and strategic goals. To learn more, visit pflag.org and pflagwsc.org, like PFLAG on Facebook (/pflag or /pflagWSC), and follow @pflag on Twitter or Instagram.