You Can Make a Difference as a County of Orange Volunteer!
National Association of Counties
2005 Acts of Caring Awards
Orange County Sheriff-Coroner Department
“Angels of Love” Volunteer Program
To honor the unsung heroes working in every corner of this country as volunteers, the National Association of Counties (NACo) launched the Acts of Caring awards in 2000 as part of the Counties Serve America program, a long-term project to raise public awareness and understanding about county government. The awards recognize that by joining forces with county government, volunteers have a powerful impact on their communities that is both immediate and long lasting. The “Angels of Love” program was one of 19 outstanding volunteer programs selected from across the nation to receive the 2005 Acts of Caring award.
In January 1997, Rick Cryder, a retired advertising agency artist, wanted to make a difference in his community. In accomplishing this goal, he recruited several volunteers and initiated the “Angels of Love” program. Some of those original volunteers include Keith Griess, Harry Rogers, Ken Serapin and Willy Zoeller. Over the years, “Angels of Love” volunteers have handcrafted thousands of stained glass angels and distributed them to families of children with life-threatening illnesses. The angels provide a sense of love, hope, peace and comfort for families dealing with the potential loss of a child.
While continuing to serve hospitalized children, the angel project has expanded its outreach to families who have lost loved ones in the line of duty, be it law enforcement officers, fire fighters, and most recently, members of the armed forces who have paid the ultimate sacrifice to defend our great nation. The handcrafted angels help console the families of these fallen heroes.
As interest in the “Angels of Love” program grew, it became obvious that the six volunteers who initiated the project needed to expand their numbers to better serve the community. In responding to this challenge, a proposal to generate volunteer support was submitted to the Correctional Programs Unit at the James A. Musick Facility.
The Musick Facility is a minimum-security jail operated by the Orange County Sheriff’s Department. It’s unusual for a jail facility to undertake a project as described above due to the materials utilized to produce the angels, but after careful consideration, the proposal was approved in February 2001. Two Correctional Programs technicians and the founder of the “Angels of Love” program, Rick Cryder, were assigned to instruct classes for the male and female inmates, teaching them the art of creating stained glass angels. In serving as volunteers, inmates are offered an opportunity to contribute to the betterment of the community and to become a positive force within society. Over the years, more than 960 inmates have volunteered their time, talents and efforts to handcraft 6,800 angels that have been delivered to local hospitals for distribution to seriously ill children and their families.
On May 31, 2004, in observance of Memorial Day, 1,057 angels were dedicated to the men and women of our armed forces who died in the line of duty serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. The families of each deceased service member received an angel with their appropriate service insignia.
In addition to working with Musick Facility inmates, Rick has also implemented the “Angels of Love” program at the Orange County Probation Department’s Joplin Youth Center. Under Rick’s guidance, troubled teens create “Angels of Love” and personally deliver them to families whose children are receiving treatment at local hospitals.
On June 21, 2005, the Orange County Board of Supervisors presented a Resolution to Rick Cryder commending the “Angels of Love” volunteer program for its outreach to those touched by tragedy and congratulating the organization for outstanding achievement as a recipient of the National Association of Counties 2005 Acts of Caring award.
Congratulations to the “Angels of Love” program for the distinguished honor of being selected as a National Association of Counties Acts of Caring award winner!
Click here for more information about the “Angels of Love” program.