On November 6th the Sedona Friends of the Forest (FOF) held their Annual Meeting which included recognizing outstanding volunteers.  Because the organization was unable to hold their Annual Meeting in 2020, some awards encompassed more than a single year of service.

President, Annie Glickstein, presided with these words:

“First, I’d like to take the opportunity to welcome new Friends of the Forest members. I say “new” knowing that these were strange times and, because of that, I would like anyone who joined FOF in 2020 or 2021 to please stand up…..

Every FOF member is recognized as being a Friend of the Forest. Thank you to those who managed to give volunteer hours during what has to be the most difficult times of the FOF to get out and do the things we do.

  • So, let’s celebrate members of our committees who were fortunate enough to be able to get hours in before/during/after wildfires and a pandemic and I can’t remember what else because it has been a long year.
  • Our Awards Nominating Committee members were Jerry Checchia, Bev Jackson, Jean Ober, Deneise Piepiora and Craig Swanson. I appreciate all of your help. It’s difficult doing these things by email and zoom, but I think we managed it.”

After awarding Certificates of Appreciation to several members of each team, she continued with the Special Service Awards.  The following are her words:

“New Volunteer of the Year 2021

Rod Cashin joined in 2019 so it may seem strange to honor him in 2021 as a new volunteer. Since he joined, he has managed to maintain hours through a pandemic, wildfires, forest shutdown, monsoon flooding, and government shutdown. Rod has been quietly removing graffiti, repairing trails, pulling weeds, hiking and reporting obstacles. Rod is an all around, helpful and thoughtful person who is truly an asset to the Friends of the Forest and the Forest Service. For jumping in with both feet and hitting the ground running during unprecedented times and for giving so many hours volunteering in a variety of activities.

New Volunteers of the Year 2021

Margie and David Terrell have helped out with removing graffiti during unprecedented times. Getting together in teams has not been that easy and yet they volunteer and show up and work in safe ways and get the job done. For jumping in during unprecedented times and for volunteering to work within the restrictive protocols and group activities.

Volunteer of the Year 2020-2021

Dale Evans’ experience with Mount Baker Forest Service as a Mountain Steward (a cross between trail patrol and trail ambassador) has come in very handy for the Friends of the Forest. Dale has been a true ambassador showing his ability to help visitors have a safe and enjoyable experience in our Red Rocks. He has been active in Trail Patrol, Wildlife/Fish/Rare Plants, and has added quality to our Trail Ambassador program. For jumping in during unprecedented times by volunteering over 600 hours in a single year and being a true Trail Ambassador.

Heart of the Friends Award

Mike Boyd freely gives his time to FOF because he is that real human being who cares and wants to make a difference. Mike does whatever it takes to support the Forest Service and the volunteers who are on his TM&C team. Mike spearheaded a small team of TM&C members and constructed a fire access trail with a locked gate at the top for the Firefighters who have to respond daily to rescue calls at Slide Rock. Not only that, Mike is generous, kind, supportive, and extremely knowledgeable about all the tools we use and he has to store and care for regularly. For having a heart and being a friend; your kindness and generosity are not unnoticed.

Distinguished Volunteer Award

Jerry Piepiora, aka JTE, is a true leader and has brought the Graffiti Removal Team to a superior level. Jerry has shown the value of his team time and again. Jerry writes articles and speaks with everyone he meets regarding the professional response of his team. Because of his knack for talking, he has reports of graffiti coming in from all over. This team has grown from a few people with sandpaper and metal brush to over 70 volunteers with an arsenal of tools, including elephant snot to preserve and remove the unwanted graffiti. Your team responds to graffiti reports with urgency and expertise because that is the way you have led them. For many years you have consistently given your time and energy to the Friends of the Forest in many ways.

Stealth Volunteer of the Year

This person may be only one person, but he is one person who makes a difference. On any given day, this person is out there and we just don’t see him. He’s pulling out Johnson grass, fixing fences, clearing drains, gardening, doing trail maintenance, reporting on wildlife or rare plants. He just wants to volunteer and the last thing he wants is recognition. The best day for him is to be busy with meaningful work. So, let’s keep him busy to keep him happy. “

The recipient’s name was not mentioned but his typical picture during volunteer activities was shown.  It was of the awardee’s back.