Honoree 2015 – Kathi Koll

Congrats to Kathi Koll for being honored as an outstanding community volunteer!

Name:  Kathi Koll

Nominating Organization:  So. Cal Hospice Foundation

Honoree Category:  Human & Community

Why Nominated:  
Kathi’s husband Don Koll suffered a massive stroke in 2007 that left him paralyzed from the neck down, unable to speak and forced to live on a respirator. For 6 and half years following his stroke, Kathi dedicated her life to caring for Don and learning how to live and enjoy life again despite the new limitations.

They managed to still go to the movies regularly, go for walks (Don in his wheel chair) along the water, have friends over and learn how to be intimate together.

Throughout it all, Kathi learned that happiness doesn’t just happen, it takes a lot of work. After Don passed away in 2011, Kathi has started to dedicate herself to helping those who are trying to resume joy-filled lives following a catastrophic health incident (either as a patient or caregiver).

In 2014, she launched Live Life After Stroke, a motivational speaking tour based in Southern California, to help inspire and educate people on how to enjoy their lives again following a stroke or other difficult health incident.

Since LLAS’ launch, she has helped touch the lives of more than 800 people across Southern California and is receiving incredible feedback from people as they are inspired by her willingness to address difficult topics (such as depression and intimacy) and her service-centered spirit. Kathi is an insipiration and guiding light to all who know her. She is using her experience to help others in a profound way. She is also a joy and an exceptional human being.

Please write a note of congratulations below!


Honoree 2015 – Tony Guilder

Congrats to Tony Guilder for being honored as an outstanding community volunteer!

Name:  Tony Guilder

Nominating Organization:  Strength in Support

Honoree Category:  Human & Community

Why Nominated:  Mr. Tony Guilder approached Strength in Support (SIS) in the spring of 2013 about bringing a golf workshop to our veteran clients. He arranged a partnership between SIS and Mission Viejo Country Club (MVCC). He arranged for Yonex to donate demo clubs for the veterans to use. He has recruited other volunteers from MVCC. He donated the funds for the workshop through his foundation that he created with his wife Tina. He has expanded the workshop to include a social workshop. He has reached out to others to expand the funding for the workshops at MVCC. You can find Tony on most Thursday mornings setting up for the SIS Golf Workshop at MVCC at 8am. He meets the vets and talks to them. They share the highs and lows of life. Then he takes the veterans out to the driving range and uses his past career as a golf pro to teach them perfect swing technique, which is vastly different than the position of firing a weapon. After the golf lesson he has them gather around for lunch. Tony understands that the friendship is as valuable to our veteran clients as the golf lessons. He is truly the heart, soul and pocket book of the SIS Golf Workshop and the SIS Social Philosophy Group, which has been nicknamed by attendees as “Nothing is off topic!” Thank you for allowing SIS to honor and nominate Tony Guilder, best friend to SIS and our local veterans and their families.

Please write a note of congratulations below!

Honoree Team 2015 – The Gary Center

Congrats to The Gary Center for being honored as an outstanding team of community volunteers!

Team Name:  The Gary Center

Team Members:  Ana Palafox, Charlotte Ross, Marian Schain, Ricardo Santana, and Guillermina Sahagun

Nominating Organization:  The Gary Center

Honoree Category:  Education

Why Nominated:  This team deserves to be honored due to diligence and long term volunteerism throughout the years with the Food Distribution Program and in Teaching ESL at The Gary Center. Their reliable work ethic and friendliness with the community is appreciated and with their support, The Gary Center continues our mission in providing services to the families in need and fostering a healthy and productive community.

Please write a note of congratulations below!

Honoree Team 2015 – Carl Warren Cares

Congrats to Carl Warren Cares for being honored as an outstanding team of community volunteers!

Carl Warren CaresTeam Name:  Carl Warren Cares

Team Members:  Roberta McLean, Stephanie Mercado, Katrina MacDonald, Joe Alvare, Jennifer Ruez, Rosemary White, Charlene Pontecion, Dixie Peralta, Karen Crowley, Don Soto, Jennifer Williamson

Nominating Organization:  Carl Warren & Company

Honoree Category:  Corporate

Why Nominated:  This group gathers employees from all around Orange County and elsewhere in California to donate a day of their time to different charities such as First Harvest, Habitat for the Humanity, Kids Konnected etc. They also raise funds and gifts for the Sheepfold and other groups serving abused women and children. At the holiday season, rather than give corporate presents to our customers, we selected several charities to which to make donations in lieu of presents. The team also sponsors a public risk managers golf fundraiser in full force.

Please write a note of congratulations below!

Honoree 2015 – Virginia DePaola

Congrats to Virginia DePaola for being honored as an outstanding community volunteer!

Name:  Virginia DePaola

Nominating Organization:  Wells Fargo Dealer Services

Honoree Category:  Human & Community

Why Nominated:  Virginia devotes over 400 hours each year to non local nonprofits. In 2014, Virginia holds several committee leader positions at Wells Fargo including; Orange County Volunteer Chapter Officer, Philanthropy Committee chair, Irvine Team Member Charitable Giving Coordinator. And all this is in addition to her full time analyst position in Wells Fargo Finance.

Virginia organized, ran and volunteered at approx. 85 events in 2014 for Special Olympics, Grandmas house of Hope, Nana’s Kids, CHOC, American Red Cross, Ronald McDonald House, Knights of Columbus, CASA-OC, Food Banks and Soup Kitchens just to name a few.

Virginia also is a board member for Grandma’s House of Hope and a council member for OneOC’s Corporate Volunteer Council of Orange County which is helping to bring Wells Fargo Volunteers to Nana’s Kids and Grandma’s House and many other volunteer events in Orange County.

Virginia has a generous spirit. Her tireless energy is inspiring to her team members and to the organizations who she works with. Please help me honor Virginia DePaola for all her hard work and generosity.”

Nominating Organization:  CAPOC’s OC Food Bank

Honoree Category:  Human & Community

Why Nominated:  She is a positive and motivational leader of more than 350 fellow employees for the annual National Family Volunteer Day at the OC Food Bank. She motivates the volunteers throughout the day as they come and pack food boxes during their 2 hour shifts. They can count on her, and we can count on the Wells Fargo team.

Nominating Organization:  Grandma’s House of Hope

Honoree Category:  Corporate

Why Nominated:  Grandma’s House of Hope is incredibly thankful for the support of Virginia DePaola. Over the past year, Virginia has demonstrated her support of Grandma’s House of Hope in a large variety of ways, and in many different roles. Virginia has been a member of our Grandma’s House of Hope Board of Directors for nearly three years. In addition to participating on the board, she also used her creative talents to help feed her fellow board members during our weekend board retreat. Additionally, she hand-made over 100 pieces of jewelry that she sold on Wells Fargo’s Community Support Auction, where all proceeds were donated to Grandma’s House of Hope. In 2014, she played a key role in leading a team of many Wells Fargo volunteers to support the work of Grandma’s House of Hope by participating in our Nana’s Kidz food packing opportunity twice a year, as well as our Safe Harvest event, a Halloween alternative event for the children in Anaheim. Virginia has dedicated over 200 hours to Grandma’s House of Hope and Nana’s Kidz in this past year, and has been instrumental in bringing over $10,000 in donations from her Wells Fargo team members, as well as holding food drives for our Nana’s Kids program by leading fundraising opportunities in our support. She also works with the Wells Fargo Foundation on additional grants and sponsorships that have been awarded to us.

Her support of Grandma’s House of Hope and of Je’net Kreitner, our director, is amazing. Over the past two years, Virginia has nominated Je’net for the Irvine Foundation Award, attended the Founder of the Year Awards in 2014 in support of Je’net, has attended Je’net’s Fieldstone Foundation sabbatical site tour to Grandma’s House of Hope, and gave support of Je’net’s candidacy for the award, and also played a role in nominating Grandma’s House of Hope for the Charity of Choice award in 2014. These events helped bring recognition and additional support to Grandma’s House of Hope, which allows us to continue in our mission. Virginia has supported both Je’net and the mission of Grandma’s House of Hope at every touch point since 2008. She has shown her unwavering support of Grandma’s House of Hope through her spirit of volunteerism, in-kind giving, monetary giving, guidance, support, and using her professional skills to help grow our nonprofit and our programs to help our women, children and families in need. She has given her full heart, talent, and support of what we do, and we are thankful for the opportunity to serve with her.

Please write a note of congratulations below!

Honoree 2015 – Matthew Kaiyum

Congrats to Matthew Kaiyum for being honored as an outstanding community volunteer!

Name:  Matthew Kaiyum

Nominating Organization:  Serving Kids Hope/Dr. Riba’s Health Club

Honoree Category:  Health

Why Nominated:  Matthew, out of the graciousness of his heart and character, would come out of his way to help with our after school Fit-Club program that we run for kids in the community to educate them in nutrition, physical activity and how to live a healthy lifestyle. He turned from one of our best participants in the program to a dedicated volunteer that our kids now look up to. He found the time to give back by assisting us even though much of his time was also spent studying and working on other various projects for school.

Matthew was recently diagnosed with Leukemia and has been battling and fighting this vicious disease for the past months now. He has stayed amazingly strong both physically and mentally. As of now he still cannot be out in large groups and has to do all of his schooling and education at home. We have made an effort to now support him as well as his family, but being honored as an important and great volunteer could lift his spirits even more!

Please write a note of congratulations below!

Honoree 2015 – Gary Drabek

Congrats to Gary Drabek for being honored as an outstanding community volunteer!

Name:  Gary Drabek

Nominating Organization:  Placentia Police Department

Honoree Category:  Law Enforcement

Why Nominated:  Gary Drabek has been a volunteer chaplain with Placentia Police Department for the last 23 years. Currently he is the senior chaplain at the department and assists with mentoring new chaplains.

One of the main responsibilities of Police Chaplains is to offer invocations at city events including: City Council Meetings; State of the City addresses; Veterans’ Day Observances; Prayer Breakfasts; and Police Memorials. Drabek always takes the time to review agendas to better set the tone for the meetings and remember those in need.

Another duty of chaplains is to assist with police calls in the city. Many times officers or individuals feel the need for a chaplain and Drabek has been called out many times to render assistance. Some of the situations include: assisting with death notification; speaking with the family during an active investigation freeing up officers; and comforting those in need by praying with them or just patiently waiting with them until family can arrive.

Building a trusting relationship with others is one of his strengths. He takes time to get to know the officers and other personnel at the department. He is known for his care and concern for everyone. With those strong relationships established he has been asked to perform weddings for many in the department.

Besides volunteering his time as a chaplain, Drabek has also served as a Reserve Officer from 1993 – 2014. Drabek was a valuable team member assisting with DUI Checkpoints, background investigations, jail operations, and assisted with beat patrols in the city.

Drabek is one of the treasured volunteers because of his vast knowledge, experience, and willingness to serve wherever needed.

Please write a note of congratulations below!