Patty Garcia-Likens, SRP, (602) 236-2500
April 13, 2017

Six SRP Employees Honored for Volunteerism

Awards Given to Individuals Who Have Helped Thousands in Arizona

Six current and retired Salt River Project employees have been chosen to receive the SRP Presidents’ Volunteer Spirit Award in honor of their selfless and tireless dedication to their communities. The award recognizes employees and retirees who are leaders in volunteerism and who serve as examples of the power of caring.

“SRP is committed to providing reliable water and power to the Valley and giving back to the communities we serve has also been our priority for more than 100 years,” said SRP President David Rousseau. “These individuals are to be commended for giving so much of their time and energy to worthy causes.”

Last year, SRP employees and retirees with help from their friends and families donated 36,797 volunteer hours to 213 Valley and state nonprofit organizations.

The 2017 SRP Presidents’ Volunteer Spirit Award honorees and the nonprofits they assist are:

Casa Grande resident Gregg Bargo – Pan de Vida Foundation
Pan de Vida Foundation was established in 2008 to help meet the needs of the residents of Queen Creek and San Tan Valley. The agency operates a neighborhood revitalization program, provides assistance referrals, health screenings and more. A garden and community center have been goals of Pan de Vida since 2011. As an organization without a physical location, the garden and community center will serve this purpose – a place for generations to gather, to work together and to learn from one another. After joining the board in 2014, Gregg injected momentum into the project as the fund-raising chairman. His work led to a land purchase for the facility in 2016 in an area called the Valley of the Sun Estates. Gregg’s dedication to the project continues as it moves into the next phase of fund raising for construction of the building.

Mesa resident Sandy Howell – AZ Blankets 4 Kids
With the help of dedicated volunteers like Sandy, AZ Blankets 4 Kids has donated more than 100,000 blankets since 2001. Coordinating with hospitals, foster agencies and fire and police departments, these blankets are given to children during their most vulnerable times. Sandy was introduced to the nonprofit in 2003 and over the years has become increasingly involved, devoting more time to sewing, promoting and recruiting volunteers to further the nonprofit’s impact on the youngest members of the community. Sandy takes pride in her work knowing the finished product provides a source of security and comfort for children. Through her volunteerism, Sandy said she has developed a strong passion for the art of quilting and has gained a new perspective on how easy, fun, educational and fulfilling it is to help out in the community.

Mesa resident Michael Yeck – Arizona Search Track and Rescue
Looking for a way to give back to the community that tapped his love of the outdoors, Michael joined Arizona Search Track and Rescue in 2013. The nonprofit provides services related to locating missing loved ones, including trained air-scent and trailing dog-handler teams. Michael spends in excess of 500 hours volunteering each year among trainings, searches, educational outreach and fund-raising events. Under Michael’s guidance, members receive some of the highest levels of search-and-rescue training in the country – bringing national and international recognition to the organization. He has been instrumental in growing the membership, enabling the nonprofit to provide additional resources when their services are needed. Michael is a handler to Bo, a bluetick coonhound trailing dog, and loves watching the dogs use their basic instincts to find missing people. Next to being a husband and father, he said working with the search-and-rescue group is the most rewarding thing he does.

Mesa resident and SRP retiree Clara Jo Ziervogel – Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center
When Clara Jo retired she was faced with finding ways to fill the days that had been spent at a desk. After watching both of her parents battle cancer, she realized cancer patients needed a tremendous amount of support and it was a natural progression for her to look for volunteer opportunities in the medical community. Clara Jo joined the volunteer program at the Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center in 2014. She has held a variety of roles during that time, from cleaning rooms to developing a volunteer training program. One of her most difficult volunteer positions was assisting patients undergoing chemotherapy. She would provide company, and comfort, to patients receiving long hours of treatment. Some days are especially difficult but Clara Jo finds the work extremely gratifying to be able to help patients on a personal level, to respect their situation and encourage them as they face the challenge of cancer.

Phoenix resident Tony Bell – SOUNDS Academy
If there is one word that best describes Tony’s impact to SOUNDS Academy it would be “growth.” He brought a strategic mindset when he joined the nonprofit’s board shortly after it was founded in 2014. Tony had a strong desire to use his experiences and talent to help build a sustainable organization. In his first year as board president, he helped grow many aspects of the organization: enrollment grew from 25 students to 150; board membership was up from five representatives to 12; music teachers from two volunteers to 7; and fundraising from $7,000 to $50,000. In recognition of his impact to the nonprofit, Tony was selected by his peers as board member of the year. As a nonprofit that aims to teach, mentor and provide musical experiences and opportunities to underserved youth, Tony finds his community service very rewarding; and the feedback he receives from students and parents is what drives him to do more.

Queen Creek resident Jace Kerby – Arizona High School Rodeo Association

For the Kerby family, participating in the Arizona High School Rodeo Association (AHSRA) is something of a tradition. Jace grew up competing with the organization, and his three children also have all participated. The AHSRA helps prepare young athletes for the sport of rodeo while requiring scholastic achievement through the high standards it holds for its members as students in the classroom and competitors in the arena. Jace has volunteered with the nonprofit for 15 years, 10 of which have been on the board. His contributions have been paramount to the success of the rodeos because of his complete understanding of the sport. Jace is responsible for the Team Roping event and also serves on a subcommittee, overseeing the annual awards and scholarship distribution. Membership is now the third largest within the national organization and, most importantly, the group has awarded more than $100,000 in prizes and scholarships over the last seven years. Jace says watching the kids grow and mature through the program has been the most impactful part of his volunteer service with the organization.