The City of Mill Valley has made a point in recent years of highlighting some of the legions of local volunteers that have made an ongoing positive impact to the community.

In recent months, longtime Mill Valley resident Joan Murray was honored by the City Council for the depth and breadth of her commitment spanning decades, from ensuring the safety of our children as a Crossing Guard in 1957 to founding Clean Marin in 2014.

Murray has left an indelible mark on our community through her involvement in various initiatives, including the establishment of the Mill Valley Community Center, contributions to Earth Day, leadership roles in the Mill Valley Library, and her unwavering dedication to Parks and Recreation.

Perhaps Murray’s greatest achievement came more than a dozen years ago as Murray built and maintained a coalition of people truly dedicated to addressing the abundance of litter in town. That project became Clean Mill Valley.

In April 2024, the council honored Vera Meislin, who has “spent a quarter of a century making significant contributions to the community, including at the Tam High Foundation, the MV Library Foundation, Beyond the Book Bash, as a board member for last seven years at Marin Theatre Company, board member of The Redwoods and much more.

This is intended for people who get things started in the city and who take the initiative – this is not just for people who show up,” Mayor Urban Carmel said. “When you take the initiative, you are changing the complexion of this city and making a permanent improvement.

The latest recipient of well-deserved kudos was Hugh Kuhn – as Mayor Urban Carmel put it, “who are the best of us. They are the people that give of themselves with their intelligence, their passion, often times their pocketbook – it makes our community special.”

When I think about what it means to be a volunteer and how to make an impact in our community, I think of Hugh Kuhn,” Carmel said. He cited his major contributions at the Tam High Foundation, President of MV Library Foundation, work on the Beyond the Book Bash, on which he continues to serve on the advisory board. 

Kuhn is a longtime force of nature in Mill Valley in town who is equally adept at rallying a bunch of people to grab a pair of work gloves and get to fixing parts of the City’s vast network of Steps, Lanes & Paths and to dedicate time and expertise to be the chair of the Mill Valley Library Foundation for five years, founding in 2017 the Friends of MV Steps Lanes and Paths, coordinating over 40 projects, coordinating monthly work days, personally installing signs on every SLP in town, working on the flood management and drainage task force. Not to mention Kuhn starting the community wide howl to support honor healthcare workers and to help our lockdown community to stay connected. Oh, yea, he also regularly refurbishes benches and places them “in the wild.”

“This is all just fun – what we are doing here is fun,” Kuhn said on Monday evening. “Our life is about fun. But fun also involves participation, making an effort and engaging with people. I have met so many people in this down, just digging weeds on a trail. Part of what makes Mill Valley great is doing stuff. Doing stuff with the people around you.”


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