Congrats to Judy Fluor Runels for being honored as an outstanding community volunteer!
Nominating Organization: AIDS Services Foundation Orange County
Honoree Category: Health
Why Nominated: In the early 1980’s, Judy Fluor-Runels was volunteering for the Assistance League of Santa Ana in their thrift store. She had recently lost several friends to AIDS, which at the time, was a new and frightening disease that not many people knew about. She had received a flyer in the mail from AIDS Services Foundation Orange County (ASF) asking for help from volunteers in getting a thrift store up and running to raise money for AIDS services. She contacted ASF and invited their founders to come visit her at the Assistance League thrift store so that she could give them some tips on how to manage such an operation.
Thus began a 20 year volunteering legacy with ASF. Judy started to help with ASF special events. According to ASF Founder Al Roberts, “for years Judy played an invaluable part in Splash, one of ASF’s largest fundraising events.” In 1994, Judy lost a very dear friend to AIDS and she felt like she wanted to engage more with the agency, so she joined the ASF Board where she served as a member for 3 years. Judy feels that her volunteer involvement with ASF gave her hope that things could be different and that because of ASF, lives could be made better for the people she had encountered who were impacted by HIV/AIDS. The loss of her friend, combined with her volunteer work at ASF further inspired Judy to go back to school for her Master’s Degree which she obtained in 2000 and her Doctorate which she obtained in 2003.
Judy has an infectious drive to be able to do more and give more to people affected by HIV/AIDS. She felt that more education would give her the ability to further make a difference in the lives of her future clients. Judy’s commitment to ASF did not stop when she pursued her degrees. As a part of her education, Judy decided to commence her MFT practicum and her pre and post doctorate work with ASF. Upon commencement of her internship at ASF, Judy started to put more time and energy into ASF’s special events. She Co-Chaired the Round Up and World’s fair fund raisers and also helped with Splash events and with Red Ball. But Judy’s steadfast commitment to ASF has not stopped with Board duties or special events, she has volunteered at our weekly Kid’s Club for many years dedicating time and attention to children and youth who are either HIV positive or who have family members who have HIV/AIDS. She has also spent 4 years volunteering as a camp counselor at our yearly ASF Family Camps where families come together with their children for a retreat from the rigors of living life with a life-threatening illness.
Judy has been with the agency as a therapist for 12 years. She embodies the spirit of volunteerism in all the work she has done with ASF for 20 years and with the Assistance League for her years before that. Her willingness to volunteer with ASF has allowed us to provide our life saving services. Her commitment to HIV prevention and to caring with her whole heart for those affected by this devastating illness remains unparalleled in our community. Judy took her heartache at what was happening to her friends and made it a lifelong commitment to justice and health care access and choice for all.
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