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The 2024 Pasadena Village Volunteer Appreciation Lunch

By Edward A. Rinderle
Posted: 05/01/2024
Tags: ed rinderle

On a beautiful, sunshiny day in Altadena, Pasadena Village held its annual Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon. Some 70 members and staff gathered in the Davies Building at Farnsworth Park to join in the festivities. The Altadena Rotary Club sponsored the event, providing a sumptuous array of luncheon delights from Stone Fire Grill.

After a brief welcome from Mark Mariscal of the Rotary Club, the guests lined up at the buffet table, where Rotary volunteers served up salads, mashed potatoes, chicken, tri-tip beef, pesto pasta, and bread sticks. Returning to their tables, the guests joined in lively conversation while they enjoyed the delicious food.

As the eating wound down, Village Executive Director Katie Brandon took center stage and gave a brief talk emphasizing that the Village, as a member-driven organization, relies on its members for support. She added that the Village also welcomes the participation of volunteers from outside organizations such as the Rotary Club.

Dick Myers (Vice President of Communications and member of the Village Board) reiterated Katie's remarks, underlining the importance of the member-driven nature of the Village. He ended his remarks with a rousing proclamation: “Laissez les bons temps roulez”! (Let the good times roll!)

Staff member Priyanka Kumar then gave special thanks to several Villagers who have accumulated 100 or more volunteer hours since August 2023. We all join Priyanka in thanking Wayne April, Dick Myers, Jeff Gutstadt, Barbara Madden, Dan Guerrero, Bruce Christensen and LuCinda Haagenson.

Next, Rotarian Mark Mariscal acknowledged the members of the Rotary Club who were there not only to serve the food, but also to set up beforehand and clean up afterward. Mark also took time to introduce Dr. Dawn Smith, a Paul Harris Fellow and the club's president. It was Dr. Smith who presented the Paul Harris Fellow Award from the International Rotary Foundation to Bridget Brewster, acknowledging her community service and generosity.

Villagers Bridget Brewster, Betty Ann Jansson, and Jeff Gutstadt then presented certificates to LuCinda Haagenson, Jane Hufnagel and Dan Guerrero, recognizing them for their exceptional service. Two Village teams also received certificates for exemplary service: the Village Visitor Team and the Editorial Team.

Katie Brandon ended the day by acknowledging the outstanding work of the Village staff, namely, Priyanka Kumar, Hannah Rough-Schock, and newcomer Samantha Gallasch.

Concluding remarks originated with Esther Gillies, who supervised Lyle Tooks and Julie Coveney, the past year's two social work interns. Wayne April read a citation written by Esther thanking Lyle and Julie for their work with the Village. Through these internships, the Village acknowledges the value of the interaction between two young people and us “older folks,” for the mutual benefit of all involved.

So ended the festivities. But not really. The attendees continued to circulate and chat for quite a while. You could feel the love filling the room. This is what the Village is all about in a nutshell: lovingly caring for one another.

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