The Volunteer Recognition program, sponsored by the Whittier Social Services Commission, annually honors volunteers who provide outstanding service within the City of Whittier. Volunteers so honored will be invited to a recognition reception at City Hall.
For more information, contact us at 562-567-9400.
Whittier Honors "Volunteers of the Year" 2017
Sponsored by the Whittier Social Services Commission, the “Volunteers of the Year” program annually recognizes the crème de la crème of Whittier’s many dedicated volunteers who serve in a plethora of local social services programs.
Volunteers honored this year are below.
Dr. Caren Grisham
Dr. Caren Grisham has been actively involved in the Whittier community for many years. As a member of Soroptimist International of Whittier, Dr. Grisham strives to improve the lives of women and girls through programs leading to social and economic empowerment. She has served on the Executive Board as President, Secretary, and Director of Membership and Public Relations. Last year Caren was selected to serve on the Los Angeles Commission of Women by Supervisor Janice Hahn. Dr. Grisham joined the Whittier Community Foundation Board two years ago serving on several committees which include Dancing with the Whittier Stars, Membership, Spooktacular 5K Run/Walk, Car Show, and New Year’s Eve/Casino Night. Our City is proud to honor her for being a strong, dedicated leader who makes others feel valued. Every organization Dr. Grisham serves benefits from her devotion, energy, and experience.
Forrest and Virginia Lange
Forrest and Virginia Lange were nominated as Volunteers of the Year by Bridge of Faith in recognition of their endless abilities and service-oriented hearts. There are many mornings the Lange’s are the first to arrive working in the garden, making repairs to the sprinkler system, painting, fixing appliances, interviewing tradesmen, acquiring estimates, and providing a beacon of light to all the lives they touch. Today we are grateful to Forrest and Virginia Lange for the generous sharing of their time, treasure, and talent.
Dr. Joan Meister
Rio Hondo Symphony nominated Dr. Joan Meister, a retired Pediatrician, for her continued passion for music and commitment to our community. She is currently serving on the Salvation Army Advisory Board. She served for 13 years on the Whittier Cultural Arts Commission and was also on the Whittier Cultural Arts Foundation Board. Joan takes part in many volunteer activities at the Whittier Methodist Church. She has held various roles with the Rio Hondo Symphony as President of the Association, President of the Guild, and is currently Secretary on the Board. We are pleased to honor Dr. Joan Meister tonight.
Linda Crowley is a positive, enthusiastic, dedicated, and tireless volunteer for the Whittier community. She has been a member of the Assistance League of Whittier for 37 years serving as past President three times, as well as various Board positions and committees. Linda is the past President of the Whittier Guild of Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles; American Association of University Women Whittier Chapter; and the historic Bailey House; as well as past Vice President of Philanthropies of the East Whittier Women’s Improvement Club. Linda was born, raised, and educated in Whittier. After graduating from Whittier College, she taught for 20 years in the Los Nietos School District. We are proud to give an exceptional person such as Linda Crowley this award for her significant contributions in the areas of business, education, community service, politics, and the arts.
The Whittier Elks #1258 nominated Mike Roche as a Volunteer of the Year, describing him as going over and above serving our Veterans and others in need. Mike, a former Marine leads a group of volunteers that provides Veterans at Brentwood VA Hospital a first class barbeque every other month. Mike and his wife, Joan host a dance twice annually at the Elks Lodge for persons with special needs. They are the first to volunteer to help in any way that services our Veterans and the Whittier community. Every year at the City of Whittier’s Library Summer Reading Program Barbeque, Mike and his crew grill almost 2,000 hot dogs, and gives out chips and drinks. We are delighted to recognize Mike Roche’s commitment to aiding our Veterans as well as our community as a whole.
Ross Gile has been nominated as a Volunteer of the Year for the technical expertise and volunteer assistance he unselfishly gives to the Whittier Public Library Foundation. He is also a member of the Whittier Community Foundation focusing on their web page development and social media. He also has served on the Spooktacular 5K, New Year’s Eve/Casino Night, and Membership Subcommittees. As if these were not enough, Ross also serves as a Board Member of the Whittier Chamber of Commerce. We are pleased to recognize Ross Gile for his tireless devotion to doing good works throughout our community.
East Whittier Middle School nominated Susan Santo for her five years of volunteer service with both East Whittier Middle School Parent Teacher Student Association (PTSA) and Instrumental Music Program. She has served as Historian, Vice President, and President of the PTSA. Susan has been involved in school fundraising, dances, technology, parent outreach, book fairs, holiday boutiques, student store, and after school programs. Susan’s many contributions have positively impacted the school culture and PTSA participation. She also volunteers with National Charity League, Meals on Wheels, and Friends of La Serna Parent Organization. It is with great pride that we recognize Susan Santo’s commitment to others.
Tera Sillett has dedicated the last nine years of her life to her activities on the SKILLS board serving as past – president, treasurer, secretary, as well as serving on many planning committees. Tera’s creativity and attention to detail are definitely an asset to SKILLS. She is the one person everyone can count on when it comes to decorating events and/or making elaborate raffle baskets; this process is named: TERA-FIED! Tera is an amazing person who is full of life, dedication, and perseverance. She has a bubbly personality and can make anyone laugh. SKILLS is happy to have her as a part of their volunteer work force and we are honored to recognize Tera Sillett’s dedication to the community.
Tony Chiazza has been a volunteer with Whittier Pony Baseball since 1988 serving on the Board as well as League President. He has established lasting relationships between Whittier Pony Baseball, the City of Whittier, and East Whittier City School District. Tony has been the Tournament Host Director for tournaments hosted annually by Whittier. In July of 2015, under his leadership, Whittier Pony Baseball hosted the 13U International World Series for teams across the U.S. as well as Mexico, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines under his leadership. Visiting families had a wonderful time and the financial impact the City of Whittier gained was enormous. Tony never seeks recognition for his remarkable accomplishments. It is a great pleasure to salute Tony Chiazza for his wonderful contributions to the Whittier community.
Tracy Whittman has played a key role in the development of the Whittier Museum for approximately eight years. She has served as Board President and Executive Director. She also performs I.T. services, designed and updates the museum’s website, trains new staff, is a docent at the Bailey House, and is the liaison between the museum and the City of Whittier. She is also an editor and contributor to the museum newsletter, coordinates events, performs upkeep on the collections, is an archives assistant, and an exhibit curator. Although she is a volunteer, Tracy works as if she is a paid staff member. She has helped save the museum tens of thousands of dollars each year. Tracy Wittman’s dedication makes a true difference to the residents and history of Whittier.