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Feb. 10, 2017

Chandler volunteers honored at annual recognition breakfast

Nine individuals and one group of local leaders were honored yesterday during Chandler’s fifth annual Volunteer Recognition Breakfast.
The City of Chandler joined with the Chandler Non-Profit Coalition (CNPC) and For Our City Chandler to recognize the contributions of time and talent made each day by dedicated volunteers. Organizations, including the faith-based, nonprofits and schools that rely on volunteers, were encouraged to nominate individuals with service primarily in Chandler for one of eight awards. 

“There is no better gift than the gift of time,” said Vice Mayor Kevin Hartke. “This recognition awards program allows Chandler to single out and honor those who selflessly give us their valuable time to make our City a better place for our residents. Each person honored strongly believes in giving back to the community.”

Below are the 2016 award recipients with a brief recap of the nomination:

Ken Hawkes, Innovation Award 
(Brings especially creative and unique solutions to the job.) 
Ken Hawkes has volunteered with for Chandler Police Department since 2002. In 2010, Ken received the Lifetime Achievement award, for donating more than 6,000 hours to the Department. Since then, Ken has donated even more hours per year, totaling more than 11,500 hours of service since beginning his volunteer career. Ken earned this title when he volunteered with the telephone compliance section and he dedicated countless hours calling people and convincing them to clear up their warrants. He also did a lot of the front-end work for the Criminal Apprehension Unit, as well as assisted as a DUI van operator for DUI task force and commercial vehicle inspection details. As a result, Chandler Police has received numerous compliments and verbal recognition for Ken's professionalism.

Jack and Joyce McCormack, Longevity Award 
(Has worked for an organization for many years, and she provides a commitment and dedication to service that is awe-inspiring.) 
Jack and Joyce McCormack have been volunteering for more than 15 years delivering meals to disabled, seniors, and homebound participants in Chandler. They first started delivering meals at Chandler Regional Medical Center and when the Chandler Senior Center took over the home delivered meal program. They now deliver meals once a week for Chandler Christian Community Center. This year, they have each volunteered more than 90 hours. Jack and Joyce also participate in the Samaritan's Purse Shoe Box Ministry sending toiletries, toys and other items to children all over the world and the care list at their church preparing meals for people who are home after having surgery. 

Kennedy Nicoll, Makes It Happen Award
(Works for many organizations, with the goal of contributing anywhere and everywhere.)
Kennedy Nicoll is Weinberg Elementary's dynamic PTO President. In her leadership role, she works with her PTO board and recruits family members and other Weinberg parents to volunteer. Most recently, she spearheaded the Weinberg Wacky Fun Run where kids got to take part in an obstacle course. Under her leadership, Weinberg students received Computers on Wheels last year. She is known to take meals to teachers who are grieving the loss of a loved one, making copies, organizing lunches for teachers when they have long days for conferences. Kennedy's hard work has resulted in greater family involvement, higher attendance at school events and greater willingness for people to donate to the needs of the school.

Heather Anguiano and family, Multitasking Maestro Award 
(Is someone who takes on a diverse array of multiple assignments, jobs or objectives at the same time and can juggle them effectively, while accomplishing all of them successfully.)
Heather Anguiano, a proud Chandler Unified School District principal, works daily to provide children and families with opportunities to succeed, and as an active volunteer in the community, she engages with partners to serve those in need. When the CARE Center needed assistance during its Thanksgiving distribution, Heather rallied staff from Hartford, as well as her own family, and helped put together more than 500 food bags for families. Heather and her family participated in the United Food Bank turkey drive, where they spent hours holding signs and helping to unload turkey donations. Heather also has assisted with a variety of other Chandler-based organizations during their time of need.

Crystal Ellison, Strong Arms Award 
(Is not afraid to take on any job, no matter how “down-n-dirty” it may be.  This nominee also may be called the jack-of-all-trades in an organization.)
Crystal Ellison began her service with Matthew's Crossing more than four years ago. She has made her mark with several committees and exhibits the true spirit of a loyal volunteer and faithfully gives of her time, treasures and talents. In the time that she has been at the food bank, there has been exponential growth in the number of folks served. In 2015, Crystal worked closely with the Chandler Chamber Foundation Leadership Class and was extremely influential in the final redesign, how to keep the doors open and still distribute emergency food boxes under construction. As a loyal ambassador to Matthew's Crossing, Crystal is the first to share the struggles of the hungry in our community as she can tell you what hunger looks like, feels like and why hunger hurts.

Alan Zaben, Sunbeam Award 
(Is the most cheerful person in the place! They have the best personality, attitude, and they are always smiling and helpful.)
Alan Zaben has been instrumental in the development of the Relay for Life fundraiser in Chandler, serving on the committee for the last eight years. Since then, he has been selected to serve on the Great West Division Hero of Hope Committee, the Great West Division Online Team, and the Southern Arizona Area Leadership Team where he served as the Area Lead for two years. Alan is committed not only to the American Cancer Society, but more importantly to its fight against cancer. Alan’s compassion for these individuals as well as his own personal experience has translated into his leadership role and made him uniquely qualified to build relationships within our Chandler community. As a 32 year, 3-time cancer survivor, Alan truly inspires those who participate in the Chandler Relay for Life. 

Mario David Giron, Youth Award 
(Is for youth, 17 and younger. The volunteer is dedicated, positive, and hardworking or otherwise stands out from the crowd.)
Mario David Giron has mentored many elementary children in the Chandler Unified School District and within the robotics program. He teaches children computer programming, fabrication of robots and guiding and helping them prepare their assigned research projects and oral interviews for competitions. This past summer, Mario and his peers facilitated a STEM Summer Camp for 80 elementary migrant students at Shumway Elementary School. Mario has donated more than 1,000 community service hours to the program which includes: mentoring children on weekends and during competitions and helping to facilitate the summer STEM camp at Shumway Elementary. 

Chandler Chamber Leadership Class #32, Working Together Award
(Is for a group, in any organization, who completed a group volunteer project in Chandler.)
Matthew's Crossing Food Bank partnered with the Chandler Chamber Foundation Leadership Team to transform the physical facilities of the food bank for its expansion project. The Leadership Team chose Matthew's Crossing because the leaders wanted to be part of fighting childhood hunger. Early in the project, the leaders realized that the scope of what needed to be done was larger than anyone of the partners could manage alone. The scope of the project was taking, what was once two retail spaces, and making them one new and improved food bank. Through the resourcefulness of the leaders, they were joined by McCarthy Building Companies, Spaces Architectural Designs and O'Neil printing. The total pro-bono services for the remodel was estimated at approximately $75,000. This community partnership yielded the addition of more warehouse space for food storage, a reception area for clients that includes a children's book ministry, a community room that houses Meals to Grow - a weekend out-of-school backpack program and office spaces. The Expansion Project came at a critical time in Matthew's Crossing's growth. 

Mark Drez, Mayor’s Choice Award 
(This award is not subject to nomination, but instead is selected by Mayor Tibshraeny.)
Mark Drez has touched the lives of thousands of young people in Chandler. He is an outstanding science teacher at Willis Jr. High, and a dedicated youth leader in both Chandler Younglife and Wyldlife, which provide a safe environment where the youth build friendships and relationships with each other on a faith-based foundation. Mark mentors children by modeling selfless service to others. Over the last several years, he has helped to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars to send teens from low-income families to camp, while teaching them the importance of hard work and serving others. He maintains relationships with both parents and teens, and works tirelessly to meet physical, emotional and spiritual needs of those in his community. To be closer to the community, Mark and his wife moved into their new home calling it “Casa de Vida” or “House of Life,” where people know they can stop and grab a drink of water or just a friendly hello. 

Larry Sebben, People’s Choice Award 
(The recipient of this award was chosen from more than 3,000 online votes and combined with votes cast by those in attendance at the awards breakfast.)
Larry Sebben has volunteered at the Center for the Arts for more than seven years and has provided excellent customer service. Larry is always helpful and ready to assist patrons, other volunteers and staff with whatever is needed. He is congenial and very knowledgeable about the Center’s history and the City of Chandler. He has a winning personality and is a wonderful face of the Center greeting guests with his happy smile.  He also is always willing to help out with last-minute requests.

Photos of the winners may be downloaded online.

About Chandler Non-Profit Coalition
The Chandler Non-Profit Coalition is a coalition that improves the performance of Chandler nonprofit organizations by promoting social responsibility and community action through awareness building, collaboration and advocacy. 

About For Our City Chandler
For Our City Chandler is led by Chandler City and various nonprofit organizations with the resources made available by churches, employers, business groups, and others in the Chandler area. For more information, visit forourcitychandler.org.