Paying Tribute to OCWD Volunteers
April is National Volunteer Month and the Orange County Water District is proud to celebrate the good deeds of its employees. Just last month, more than 70 staff volunteered time to assist at the Children’s Water Education Festival. In addition, the impact and power of volunteerism is felt here and around the world by the selfless efforts of OCWD employees on behalf of other organizations. The following is just a sample of their good deeds and the opportunities available to others.
Supervising Chemist Jeremy Davis donates platelets and plasma and Director of Special Projects Bill Hunt donates plasma for the American Red Cross. Both have rare AB blood types that qualify them as universal donors for some critical blood components. Their donations often go to grateful cancer and traumatic burn patients, young and old. “All types of blood or blood component donations support the health of some of the most vulnerable among us,” says Jeremy. “The donation center is only five minutes from our Fountain Valley Office,” adds Bill. If you would like to become a Red Cross donor, visit the Red Cross website or take part in the upcoming OCWD blood drive on April 27.
Senior Environmental Specialist/Analyst Rita Hintlian volunteers for the Armenian Relief Society (ARS), an international humanitarian non-governmental organization recognized by the United Nations that serves the humanitarian, social and educational needs of Armenians and non-Armenians alike. She has assisted teachers, taught classes, written articles in both Armenian and in English, provided bilingual translation, and acquired skills as a photographer as part of her volunteer efforts. “Funding ongoing educational, health, cultural, and social services programs is challenging, but being a mentor is very rewarding,” says Rita. She currently serves on the Central Executive Board elected by the international convention to coordinate the activities of the organization in 26 countries. The photo is of Rita (right) and Santa Ana Chapter Executive Hermine Parseghian on the United Nations grounds during the 62nd Commission on the Status of Women Conference in New York.
Staff Accountant Donna Pike is the face of Operation Santa Claus at the Orange County Water District. She coordinates the 70 Angel Tags for children and 15 senior tags and their resulting gift donations during the winter holiday season. She has been organizing the County of Orange gift contributions for 25 years. “It’s easy to do and makes people happy,” says Donna. Besides donating to the cause, Operation Santa Claus volunteers are needed at their warehouse located in Santa Ana during November and December to stock shelves, sort toys, assist at check out, and off-load trucks. Call 714-679-2438, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chemist Carolyn Carroll provides social media for and is a board member of Arrowbear Music Associates, a non-profit organization that provides scholarships to students from elementary school through college age so that they may participate in the educational experience of attending a summer music camp in instrumental and/or vocal music. “It’s a great way to give back and encourage young people to participate in the arts,” says Carolyn. She attended music camp herself and notes, “The memories they make during those days at camp will stay with them for the rest of their lives.” Those interested in joining an AMA committee can receive information by visiting AMA’s website.
Recharge Planning Manager Adam Hutchinson’s life revolves around his family and groundwater. As a volunteer, he currently serves as the vice president and is on various committees of the Groundwater Resources Association of California (GRAC), which is dedicated to resource management that protects and improves groundwater supply and quality through education and technical leadership. “We are at a crossroads in California when it comes to groundwater and I can think of no better place to be than GRAC to contribute to finding our way toward sustainable management of this critical resource,” he says. According to Adam, the sky’s the limit in terms of the potential for involvement and making things happen in this great organization. Those interested can visit the GRAC website and review the list of committees, then contact the committee chair.
Melissa Hill, senior chemist in, funny enough, the inorganic laboratory, is an official University of California Continuing Education Master Gardener of Orange County. Master Gardeners work on dozens of projects including an award-winning radio show, creating and maintaining school gardens, Newport Back Bay restoration, landscape design, beekeeping, and providing workshops on responsible gardening practices. “I have always had a love of nature and plants and I love meeting others that share my passion for the environment,” says Melissa. The training program is rigorous and classes are only held every other year, so it can be difficult to get into the program. “The entire experience has been very enjoyable and it’s so rewarding being part of a group with such a positive mission,” she says. For more information, visit the Orange County Master Gardeners website.
Dave Mark is an enthusiastic principal hydrogeologist and most of his volunteer activities directly relate to his professional passions. He judges at the Orange County Science and Engineering Fair, including serving as judge team captain for the earth science category. He also leads a program for the Geology Merit Badge for two south Orange County Boy Scout Troops. He helps one Boy Scout Troop with its Rock Climbing Merit Badge as well. Closer to home, he guest lectures about water and OCWD at South Lake Middle School in Irvine, where his wife teaches 7th and 8th grade science. He also lectures there on various specialties and careers in geology, and he has led school field trips to observe fossils. He takes advantage of other volunteer opportunities and says, “The pleasure you can get [from volunteering] is priceless.”
Senior Programmer/Analyst Thuy Lam volunteers tirelessly for the Compassionate Clouds Association, a charity-based organization that provides a wide range of support for the poor, the blind, victims of natural disasters, orphans, disabled, homeless, seniors, nursing home patients, and more in local communities and around the world. Every year, they travel to third world countries to provide food and supplies to the unfortunate. They are often faced with the unknown, and it forces them to think more critically about how to manage change, deal with adversity and prepare themselves for the unexpected. Thuy says it is all worth it. “If I can help one, then there is one less suffering person. That brings me happiness.” For additional information about the organization visit http://www.facebook.com/4thepoors.
We thank all our OCWD family members who volunteer and are making a difference in their communities.