By admin Apr 20, 2010 News No Comments
Volunteer Center OC Honors Deserving Volunteers

By Donna Bunce
The Orange County Register
April 20, 2010

I always walk away from Volunteer Center Orange County's Spirit of Volunteerism Awards luncheon feeling a very real pride in our community. There are thousands of volunteers of all ages in Orange County who give of their time to hundreds of well-deserving nonprofit organizations in order to help people in need. The 50-year-old Volunteer Center's 34th annual celebration drew 945 guests and recognized 550 of the county's unsung heroes on April 15th at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim, and Disneyland Resort received a special honor as the center's "Giving is Living" recipient for its leadership in promoting the value of family volunteerism.

The celebration luncheon got off to a rousing start with Disney's JAMMitors percussion group jamming on trash cans, shovels and buckets, as they rapped congratulations to all the volunteers being honored. Last year's Giving is Living honorees Mindy and Glenn Stearns returned this year as the event's honorary chairs, with Mindy, a former entertainment reporter, serving as master of ceremonies and breaking into her famous animal sounds at any given moment - her rooster imitation on Oprah's show is what launched her reporting career.

VCOC President and CEO Dan McQuaid thanked the volunteers being honored, saying, "What makes today so special is that there are people from corporations, nonprofit organizations, faith-based organizations, and families who are all joined together in celebrating volunteerism in Orange County. It's what makes our community so vibrant and such a wonderful place to live and work." McQuaid also acknowledged VCOC's board of directors and event sponsors, in particular Title Sponsor, The Orange County Register.

The honorees were presented in categories, leading off with the Arts, represented by Arts Orange County's Executive Director Rick Stein. Other categories and presenters included Law Enforcement: ManagEase CEO Sam Murray; Human and Community Services: Bank of America Sr. Vice President of OC Global Marketing & Corporate Affairs Shari Battle and Bank of America-Merrill Lynch Sr. Vice President of Wealth Management Banking Sheryl Vaughan; Education: Corinthian College, Inc. Assistant Vice President of Organizational Development Scott Tempel; Health: Sidles Duncan & Associates Partner and VCOC Board Chair Peter Duncan; Animal and Environment: Pinnacle Financial Group Senior Financial Planner Dan Koblin; Corporate: KPMG LLP Senior Manager Mark Tillotson and Partner Mark Thomas; and Family: Albertson's Sav-On Manager of Community and Government Relations Stacey Nelson-Kumar.

The Giving is Living award, presented by the Stearns, was accepted by Disney Resort Ambassador Danielle DuBois, who said Disneyland's tradition of giving began with programs Walt Disney established nearly 55 years ago. "A few of the ways we give back today," DuBois said, "are through the Disney VoluntEARS, the Disneyland Resort Scholarship Program, the blood drives, and Toys for Tots." She said the recently launched "Give a Day. Get a Disney Day." program has been a tremendous success. "Just nine weeks after launching the program," she said, "we reached our goal of inspiring a million people to volunteer!"

DuBois was joined on stage by Mickey Mouse to present a very special gift - a one-night stay in the Disneyland Dream Suite above Pirates of the Caribbean and two-day park tickets for a family of four. A very happy Donna Elmquist, a volunteer honoree representing Canyon Acres Children and Family Services, was the lucky winner.

Twelve talented members of the Pacific Symphony Youth Orchestra performed a tango and a movement from Vivaldi's Four Seasons violin concertos to close the heartwarming affair. Each guest departed with a Mickey Mouse hat, the event favor, and $130,000 was netted for VCOC, which is committed to mobilizing volunteer action and accelerating nonprofit success through volunteer training, consulting and business services.

Event Co-Chairs Anne Nutt and Rene Matz Thompson headed the 22-member committee, which included Sponsorship Chair Scott Tempel, Recognition Chair Erin Stone, representing the Junior League of Orange County California, Inc., Program and Entertainment Chair Sarah Middleton of PIMCO, and Public Relations Chair Dan Pittman of Pittman & Associates.

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