2015 Outstanding Volunteers
Sonoma County’s 31st Annual Volunteer Recognition event was held on April 16, 2015 to recognize nearly 4,000 volunteers who are committed to providing services that help to support the community. Sixteen (16) individuals were selected as ‘Outstanding Volunteers’ and recognized with an award and a gold resolution.
Charles McGowan, Medical Reserve Corps Technical and Support Staff Volunteer, Department of Health Services
Charles has been the key person in helping the Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) in updating their membership records. His actions were recognized in the National MRC’s assessment of the Sonoma County MRC Unit. Charles’ work also allowed the MRC Coordinator valuable time to connect with the many volunteers. Charles not only provides consistent service and tremendous support in maintaining our local MRC program, but his helpful and gracious approach set just the right tone with those who volunteer to support our disaster response efforts.
Mark Coughlan, Animal Services – Department of Health Services
Mark volunteers at the animal shelter for Health Services – Animal Services Division, and they feel fortunate to have him volunteering at the shelter because he’s always willing to help in any way possible. Mark is great with the animals and with people and has gained the love and respect of all. While at the shelter, the dogs have been very fortunate to have such a wonderful person willing to walk and care for them. Especially, the scared little dogs. Mark holds them until they feel safe and relaxed in his arms. The bunnies love Mark’s attention too!
Jeffrey Schechter, Family Justice Center Volunteer - District Attorney’s Office
Jeffrey has volunteered at the Family Justice Center of Sonoma County and has contributed over 280 hours in 2014. He loves being a part of the team and supporting victims of family violence. The staff at the Family Justice Center of Sonoma County fully appreciate his excellent service and dedication to the program.
Corinne Knoepfel, Volunteer Project Coordinator - Economic Development Board
Corinne is a volunteer of the Economic Development Board through the Swiss-California Foundation. She has worked 8 hours a day as a volunteer and her enthusiasm for working with the staff on various projects is evident. Corinne helped to ensure a smooth and successful inaugural Sonoma County Beer, Cider, & Spirits Conference which was held on February 27, 2015. Corrine is currently working on the first-ever Sonoma County Visitor Report, which will show the public the great work that Visitor Centers all over Sonoma County do and how they contribute to our tourism industry.
Chief Steve Ginesi, Ft. Ross Volunteer Fire Chief - Fire & Emergency Services
Chief Ginesi is a reliable and dedicated volunteer who makes the majority of trainings and emergency calls for service in the Fort Ross and the surrounding communities. Chief Ginesi contributes many hours to the community and company meetings. Chief Ginesi holds his Fire Company to a high standard of performance and compliance to the organizational mission. Thank you for your service Chief Steve Ginesi.
John Teague, Hazardous Materials Response Team Volunteer - Fire & Emergency Services
John has volunteered with the Sonoma County Hazardous Materials Response Team since 2012. As a team member, he is expected to make himself available to assist with after-hours hazmat calls as much as his schedule allows, and he must also be available to respond on short notice. John maintains a consistently positive, team-oriented attitude, and is one of two volunteers that have contributed the most hours in 2014. He also uses his professional photography skills to help the team document its various activities.
Carla Wedermeyer, Valley of the Moon Children’s Home – Human Services
Carla is a retired elementary school teacher, who has been a volunteer at Valley of the Moon Children’s Center since 2011. Carla began helping with childcare for infants and toddlers in our Emergency Foster Home Program and provided compassionate, developmentally appropriate, and nurturing care. Carla is also involved with the Children’s Garden Program and quickly became a natural leader among the garden volunteer team. Her love of children comes through in every interaction she has with the children at Valley of the Moon Children’s Center.
Charlie Batzel, Juvenile Hall - Probation Department
Charlie volunteers at Juvenile Hall, demonstrating love and concern for all of the boys in the unit. He leads them into discussions about the choices they are making for themselves and shares difficulties from his own past, helping them to make better choices for their lives. Not only does Charlie counsel them at Juvenile Hall, but he meets with them after they are released, offering them advice and has even helped some of the youth with groceries, phones, diapers, or appropriate clothes for interviews. Charlie has been and is the "cheerleader" for at-risk youth. Charlie says he loves what he does and feels he is right where God wants him to be. The Juvenile Hall staff agree!
Max Johnson, Special Projects Volunteer - Permit & Resources Management Department
Max has volunteered at Permit and Resources Management Department (PRMD) since September 2006. He works independently and has initiated many process improvements. In fact, many of the resources that staff at PRMD use on a daily basis are now readily available due to Max’s significant efforts. Max helps with preparing building permits for scanning which is a huge part of PRMD's records retention. His volunteer service to PRMD / Customer Service is very much needed and appreciated. The PRMD staff appreciates his bright smile and cheery words for the staff!
Frank Antonini, Volunteer Attorney - Public Defender’s Office
Frank has volunteered more than 400 hours as a volunteer attorney at the Public Defender’s Office, even after sitting for the California State Bar in July 2014. He has devoted his time as a volunteer to the representation of the accused through his efforts with respect and determination. To this day, Mr. Antonini continues to help the Public Defender’s Office represent indigent clients to ensure they receive the finest legal assistance. He truly has been a significant asset to the Public Defender’s Office and their clients.
Kevin Parkhurst, Disc Golf Volunteer - Regional Parks
Kevin has been a volunteer with Regional Parks for over ten years. He also has been the president of the United Flyers of Sonoma, who promote the sport of disc golf in the North Bay. Through his efforts he has made this inexpensive sport accessible to all, being instrumental in the planning and construction of two disc golf courses, at Crane Creek Regional Park and at Taylor Mountain Regional Park. From the permitting, constructing, fundraising, to volunteer labor, Kevin was the main person that stuck with the project to ensure its eventual completion. Over the last ten years Kevin, himself, has volunteered in excess of 1,000 hours to coordinate these efforts. Kevin’s perseverance and focus on the goal of developing disc golf courses has been rewarding for the entire community.
Bill Poe, Search and Rescue Volunteer - Sheriff’s Office
Bill has been a member of the Sonoma County Search and Rescue team (SAR) for 8 years logged nearly 800 volunteer hours in 2014. Bill spearheaded the effort to implement a new call-out system for the SAR team, which is a proven efficiency in getting out members to a search scene. Bill also updated the GIS map/print/download system for searches in the field. Not only did he introduce the new GIS mapping system to our team but he spent many hours diligently training the team how to use the system. Bill worked beyond the already demanding team training schedule to obtain the SARTECH evaluator certification. This status will allow us to bring the training “in-house” so that Sonoma County SAR team members no longer need to go out of County to obtain the training.
Joyce Bauer, Volunteers in Policing (VIP) - Sheriff’s Office
Joyce joined the Sheriff’s Volunteer in Policing program on May 21, 2013, contributing more than 900 hours in less than two years! Some of the projects she completed include: entering more than 2,000 pawn slips from Property Crimes into a database in 3 weeks; a 6 month project at the Coroner’s Office that she thoroughly and efficiently completed; and many urgent, last-minute calls for help at special events, such as Citizens Academy, Youth Academy, National Night Out, Crime Prevention booths, etc. These activities are in addition to Joyce’s regular assignment, patrolling in downtown Sonoma every week. Joyce always has a smile on her face and possesses outstanding people skills, interacting well with her colleagues and the public. She is a great example of a citizen volunteer and a terrific ambassador for the Sheriff’s Office.
Elizabeth Tregaskis, Restorative Justice Volunteer - Sheriff’s Office
Elizabeth "Liz" has been a long term volunteer with Catholic Restorative Justice that serves Inmate Services at the Detention Division of the Sheriff’s Office. Liz is truly a dedicated and beloved figure in the jail. At 85 years young, she is an energetic and active volunteer. Liz's commitment to her work and the clients she serves is an inspiration to all that have met her. Her presence is a joyful cheerfulness that radiates throughout the jail. Her smile is as infectious as it is quick, and she is an absolute pleasure to work with. Liz is truly a one of a kind person who demonstrates the best qualities of the human spirit.
Patch Guglielmino, Airport Volunteer - Transportation & Public Works
Patch and her friendly Border Collie, Isabella, have been volunteering at the Charles M. Schulz - Sonoma County Airport since September 2013. In 2014 they devoted 151 hours of their time. Patch is the first person to volunteer in the terminal with a certified therapy dog, and the Airport has seen how they have enhanced the visitor's experience. Patch is always enthusiast, smiling, patient, and ready to assist at any level. She offers years of training in environments of stress and anxiety, and brings a sense of calmness and security to all visitors she and Isabella encounter. Volunteering isn't something Patch and Isabella do, it's who they are, and the Airport is truly honored to have them as part of the volunteer team.
Susan Foley, Sonoma County Master Gardener - University of California Coop Extension
Susan completed her training to become a Sonoma County Master Gardener, and in the four short years since, she has served on the Board of Directors, holding executive positions, and has volunteered nearly 2,200 hours of her time to the organization! She has coordinated the Bloomin’ Backyards event, mentored new Master Gardeners, and has worked on projects including Garden Sense and the Master Gardener drought initiative. As a result of Susan’s dedication and commitment, many more Sonoma County residents are better prepared to modify their home landscapes to be more sustainable and reduce water use. She has been and continues to be a highly valued member of the Sonoma County Master Gardeners, and we are lucky to have her as such a valuable member of our organization and County.