By Tim Traeger
Whittier is a giving town by its nature, and seven of its most dedicated givers will be
honored by the City Council beginning at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2016.
Based on nominations to the Social Services Commission the seven chosen for this year’s 2015 Volunteer Recognition Program include Roger Stoltenberg (SPIRITT Family Services); Robert Chavez (Hillcrest Festival of Fine Arts); Dorothea Cummings (Assistance League of Whittier); Marlene Flores-Avila (Activate Whittier/YMCA); Lee Isaac (Whittier Senior Center); Maurice Meyenburg (Rio Hondo Symphony) and Margaret “Margie” Taylor (Whittier Senior Center).
Belin Hernandez, a recreation specialist with the city, said winning volunteers are chosen based on nominations submitted to the city. Each has to be a nonpaid asset to a nonprofit organization serving the city of Whittier.
“One distinctive of Whittier and which sets Whittier apart from many Southern California communities is its tradition and culture of volunteerism,” said Mayor Pro Tem Joe Vinatieri. “Volunteers do the things that government either doesn’t want to do or can’t afford to do. In Whittier we are blessed with so many wonderful people who volunteer for so many different needs in our city. So it’s very important that we as a council recognize all our volunteers and set out special recognition every year.”
For Stoltenberg, who at age 79 has devoted more than 40 years to the nonprofit sector, serving on the SPIRITT Family Services Board since January 2000 – the last 13 as its board president – his spirit of giving came from his late wife of 57 years, Doris.
“She was the wind underneath my wings so to say,” he said.
Elvia Torres, executive director of SPIRITT, said, “We are so proud of him and delighted that his volunteerism and huge heart are being recognized.”
In addition to his SPIRITT service, Stoltenberg has served as chairman of the Leadership Board of Special Olympics San Gabriel Valley and as chairman of the host city of Whittier during the recent Special Olympics World Games.
Assistant City Manager Nancy Mendez said there will be a reception for the group at 5:30 Jan. 12 at City Hall, 13230 Penn St., followed by official council recognition at 6 p.m.
Tim Traeger is former editor of the Whittier Daily News and current executive director of the Whittier Historical Society and Museum.
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