The Redwoods honored the following at its ‘Celebration of Service’ awards ceremony on April 29: Front row: Ella Hagele, Brendan King, Jude Anderson, Cate Dresner, Soren Alamin Back row: Evan Lloyd, Angelica Zuber, Kate Fisher, Sadie Munter, Nichole Rozakos, Phyllis Sachs, Katherine Kellman, Graham Davis, Daniel Marsh Honorees not pictured: Jen Dolen, Verena Christen, Shaun McCracken. Photo by Doug Berenson.

The Redwoods’ 22nd annual Celebration of Service Awards event on April 29 honored 17 adults and students for their community service and to honor excellence in teaching and public safety. Awardees were nominated by The Redwoods, the schools, and the Public Safety Department of the City of Mill Valley.

“The Redwoods is part of the fabric of Mill Valley, with many of our own residents involved with giving back to our community and hundreds of outside volunteers supporting our seniors,” said Barbara Solomon, CEO of The Redwoods.

“We hold this event to give back to the community that has supported us for over 44 years. It is a great way to publicly honor members of the broader community for the extraordinary services they perform and the difference they make in the lives of others,” Solomon said.

The 2016 awards, which are given in five categories, were presented to the following individuals:

  • Verena Christen, the recipient of the Grace Orne Award, which honors a resident of The Redwoods who has made a significant contribution of time and effort to help others. Nominees for this award and the winner are chosen by residents of The Redwoods. To many, Christen is considered “the heart of The Redwoods.” She is the unofficial greeter for new residents and for nearly 20 years has participated in a wide variety of activities. These include the Scholarship Committee, distribution of the residents’ monthly newsletter, coordinating carts used for local shopping, and making sure the coffee is hot in the mornings.
  • Phyllis Sachs was the recipient of the Bill Bacon Award, which honors a member of the community who has made a significant contribution of time and effort to The Redwoods and its residents. Sachs has been volunteering at The Redwoods Health Care Center (skilled nursing) since 2011, working with residents one-on-one and in groups. She helps with a wide range of activities, including music therapy, memory games, and weekly bingo; on Sundays, she leads a New York Times reading group. “These people have lived extraordinary lives,” says Sachs. “It’s fulfilling to spend time with them.”
  • Cpl. Shaun McCracken received the Public Safety Officer Award. McCracken, part of the Mill Valley Police Department since 2006, was nominated by the Mill Valley Police Department for many aspects of his work, including his record of persistent and successful follow through on criminal investigations; his aggressive enforcement of DUI laws (and winner of award of distinction from Mothers Against Drunk Driving); and, his ongoing recognition as one of the department’s best trainers of new officers.

Seven Mill Valley public school teachers were honored with the Elizabeth Terwilliger Award for excellence in teaching, including Jen Dolan, Tamalpais High School, Katherine Kellman, Tam Valley School, Katie Fisher, Edna Maguire School, Graham Davis, Old Mill School, Daniel Marsh, Park School, Nichole (Nikki) Rozakos, Strawberry Point School, Evan Lloyd, Mill Valley Middle School.

Seven public school students were honored with Student Community Service Awards. Selected by their respective school principals and student surveys, the students are from Mill Valley elementary, middle and high schools.

Friday’s event, which was founded by Bob Canepa, included entertainment by the Mill Valley School District 5th grade drummers and The Redwoods’ resident drummers. It was emceed by Mill Valley Mayor John McCauley. The event has been supported by in-kind donations from Anne Stearns.

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