One Million Volunteer Service Hours Valued at $23 Million
(Santa Ana, CA) County volunteers last year contributed more than one million hours of service valued at $23 million in avoided costs for County government. To recognize that contribution, the Board of Supervisors will pay tribute to the achievements of the 25,400 volunteers at the tenth annual Countywide volunteer recognition ceremony on April 21.
The event will begin at 8:30 a.m. in the Board Hearing Room of the Hall of Administration (HOA), 10 Civic Center Plaza in Santa Ana. A reception will precede the ceremony at 7:45 a.m.
Photo opportunities will immediately follow the event.
“We are extremely fortunate to have dedicated volunteers who are willing to give so selflessly of their time to serve our community,” said County Executive Officer Thomas G. Mauk. “They are a vital resource in improving County services and programs.”
The diverse group of honorees encompasses student interns, a Sheriff Reserve, a Park Ranger Reserve, a female pilot, two husband and wife teams, retirees, and business owners. Their ages range from the early 20s to mid 80s.
Each honoree has made a valuable contribution that tells a distinct story about his or her experience. The stories of Raul Ramirez, Reserve Lieutenant Scott Klappenback and Linda Rehart epitomize the volunteer spirit.
Adult literacy tutor Raul Ramirez was once a non-English speaker himself and understands the struggles of learning the language. His experience serves as motivation for the many volunteer hours he has donated since August 2001 to the Orange County Public Library’s READ/Orange County Literacy Services.
Ramirez moved to Southern California from Mexico in 1955. His first English teacher came in the form of televised cartoons. He was able to further develop his English skills through his service in the Army and with the help of his wife, who only spoke English when they met.
Over his years of service to the Public Library, Ramirez has coached more than 45 adults who come from a variety of backgrounds. Many students are non-English speakers working on their own skills and others who want to be able to teach their children better reading skills.
“It’s very rewarding,” said Ramirez. “I’m paying back to the community because they helped me when I needed it.”
K-9 handler Scott Klappenback and his four-legged partner, Roan, have worked side by side at the Orange County Sheriff’s Department (OCSD) for the past three years specializing in drug detection. Together, they have handled more than 350 routine patrol calls, more than 100 requests for narcotic searches and detected more than 50 narcotic finds.
Reserve Lieutenant Klappenback began volunteering with the OCSD Reserve Division in 1979. Becoming the first Reserve officer to serve as a board member on the Orange County Police Canine Association is a mark of Klappenback’s long-term commitment with the OCSD.
When Park Rangers at Heritage Hill Historical Park were tasked with identifying antiquated farm implements surrounding the Harvey Bennett Ranch House, they knew they could count on Linda Rehart to find historically accurate answers.
“If I need to know any historical information about one of the artifacts in our buildings,” said Park Ranger Diane Wollenberg. “Linda is the expert I go to.”
A mother of nine, grandmother of 19, and full-time nurse, Rehart spends much of her limited free time as a volunteer docent at Heritage Hill Historical Park. The restored and furnished buildings throughout the park represent the early history of the Saddleback Valley and El Toro area and are an ideal setting for the tours Rehart leads while donned in period clothes.
Rehart’s commitment and enthusiasm are shown in the variety of tours she leads that bring the park’s history alive. In one of the four interpretative tours the park offers, Rehart guides local Scouts in a hands-on experience through the historical buildings.
More information on the County’s volunteer recognition ceremony, directions to the HOA and parking instructions are available online at Volunteer. You may access County agencies and departments online at http://www.ocgov.com/.