iSociety: Rochelle Rose

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Under clear, beautiful Santa Barbara skies, the Friendship Center honored its valued volunteers and donors with its annual Big Hearts Awards Ceremony at the historic Hill-Carrillo Adobe on Carrillo Street.

More than 100 attendees enjoyed wines by Zaca Mesa, hors d’oeuvres by Omni Fresco Catering, and the soft guitar and vocals by musician Larry Duff in the brick-lined courtyard of the Adobe.

Friendship Center preserves and enriches the quality of life for aging and dependent adults through day programs that value the worth of every person and give respite for families caring for adult family members.

After the “mix & mingle” social hour, gracious mistress of ceremonies Pamela Dillman Haskell brought everyone together to focus on the afternoon’s purpose: to honor five special supporters.

Board president Marty Moore and 29-year veteran Executive Director Heidi Holly thanked many groups in attendance, including the event committee, the board, volunteers, donors and Friendship Circle members (those who have elected to make a planned gift to the center).

The Big Hearts Awards, which were a surprise to the recipients, included Harvey Wolf, Jean Schuyler, Arlene Larsen, volunteer Judy Porter, and Cottage Health System represented by Dave Dietrich and Sharon Troll.

Wolf was lauded for his work at board CFO for six years. During this period, the endowment increased by 42 percent. Schuyler and her late husband, Barry, were recognized for their contributions to Friendship Center. The philanthropic couple also have supported the Maritime Museum and Planned Parenthood.

The creative and generous Larson was credited by presenter Gail Rappaport for her continuing contributions.

“You got to visit the Hollywood Magic Castle created by the Larsons,” Rappaport said.

“Judy Porter is just a perfect volunteer,” Holly said. “She appears just when you need her. She can heal a wounded heart or a sick plant.”

Past Big Heart recipient Randy Weiss from Union Bank introduced Cottage Health System as a corporate Big Heart awardee.

“Cottage is one of the community’s largest employers with 3.500 employees,” he said. “They have given $640,000 in community grants.”

Dietrich and Troll accepted Cottage’s Big Heart award.

Many previous Big Hearts Award recipients were in attendance, including Paul Didier, executive director of United Way of Santa Barbara County and 2006 Big Heart recipient.

“For my mom, Friendship Center provided comfort and security,” he said. “We knew she was not only being cared for, but each day she was having wonderful experiences. They brought out the best in her.”

Friendship Center’s Board of Directors was well represented with the attendance of president Marty Moore, vice president Dana VanderMey, secretary Karolyn Hanna, CFO Harvey Wolf, Sue Adams, Marti Correa de Garcia, Inge Gatz, Jared Green, Mark Jackson, CPA, Kathy Marden, MFT, David Medina, M.D., Tony Mendesh, M.D., Susan Plummer, MFT, Ph.D., Joanne Talbot, Monica Vidger-Trent and newest board member Jacqueline Duran. Board member Sue Adams served at the event chair.

Special thanks were given to Omni Fresco Catering, Zaca Mesa Winery & Vineyards for its donation of wine. Union Bank, represented by Randy Weiss, was lauded for the use of the Hill-Carrillo Adobe. Westerlay Orchids generously donated orchid gifts and décor.

At the closing, Holly reminded the assemblage of the Friendship Center’s upcoming special event, Wine Down, to be held on Friday, Sept. 19.

Friendship Center preserves and enriches the quality of life for aging and dependent adults through innovative programs that value the dignity and worth of every person. It provides respite, support and education, enabling families to continue to be engaged in their community, careers and commitments.

For more information contact Friendship Adult Day Care Center, at 89 Eucalyptus Lane in Santa Barbara, click here or call 805.969.0859.

Noozhawk contributing writer Rochelle Rose can be reached at Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkSociety, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Become a fan of Noozhawk on Facebook.