cmty-pool-indoor.jpg A Microsoft software developer is donating 20 percent of the profits from his debut novel, “Revolution,” toward a community recreation center at Redmond’s Washington Cathedral and a mission in Honduras sponsored by the church.

Alex Tamayo-Wolf wrote “Revolution” as a tribute to his mother’s father. Georg Wolf was the chief of police in Zirndorf, Germany during Nazi tyranny and helped many Jewish families escape from extermination. Tamayo-Wolf didn’t know about his grandfather’s heroism until he was 19 years old, studying Theology and German at a seminary in Austria. He did extensive research on this period in history and delved into his own family’s past to memorialize both innocent people who suffered and those like his grandfather, who freed them from the Nazis.

Tamayo-Wolf explained the link between his book, see it on Amazon here, and his interest in special projects at Washington Cathedral.

“Project Transformation helps feed and educate children living in the Tegucigalpa, Honduras city dump. In essence, to help them escape, which parellels what my grandfather did in his time,” he said.

“The Halvorson Recreation Center is a multi-purpose recreation center in Redmond that will not only be open to the public, but free of cost, questions or motive. Seven days a week, it will serve the public. There will be a zero-entry pool for anyone confined to a wheelchair, a library, a gymnasium, a theater and many programs for children and adults. Most importantly, I believe, having been a youth mentor — and also a youth in need of one — it will give teens something to do after school when no one is at home waiting for them, and a place to feel safe, to exercise, play and feel involved and loved.”

author-alex-t-wolf.jpg Tamayo-Wolf was drawn to Washington Cathedral in the year 2000, because of its divorce recovery program. Newly single, he felt “broken and very alone. I didn’t have a lot of friends or family here,” he explained.

He said he liked Pastor Tim White’s message that “how you benefit yourself is by helping other people.” He became a youth mentor, got involved in fundraising for charitable causes – and through many small group activities at the church, found a network of kind, caring people.

Among core values at Washington Cathedral are the statements, “We prize greatly a joyful servant lifestyle,” and “We cannot imagine being anything else but a church who reaches unchurched people.”

Offering a large number of 12-step programs to overcome addictions and other challenges, “we ran out of room at our other building,” said Tamayo-Wolf. That was one incentive to construct the new recreation center behind the original church building. But the prospect of sharing this beautiful building with other disenfranchised people — such as inner city youth who need a guiding light or Multiple Sclerosis patients who need therapeutic water exercise — has energized Tamayo-Wolf and other volunteers like him.

Construction of the recreation center began in the fall of 2006 and is still underway. The center can’t open until improvements at the busy intersection of Woodinville-Redmond Road and Northeast 124th Street are complete. But donations of cash, books for the library and volunteer hours are now being sought.

Anyone with skills to offer, whether coaching sports, teaching music or academic tutoring, is encouraged to help: visit

Reprinted with permission of the Redmond-Reporter. Story by Mary Stevens Decker. Originally appeared in print and online at (Dec. 1, 2008)

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