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Press Release
Orange County Logo COUNTY OF ORANGE

CEO Media Relations
April 8, 2005
Contact: Jane Dawson

County Volunteers Provide $22 Million in Services

(Santa Ana, CA) – Approximately 19,000 volunteers providing 984,423 hours of service were valued at more than $22 million in avoided costs for County government in 2004. To commemorate these achievements, the Board of Supervisors will acknowledge volunteers at the ninth annual Countywide volunteer recognition ceremony.

This year’s honorees will be recognized at 8:30 a.m. on April 20. The ceremony will be held in the Board hearing room on the first floor of the Hall of Administration (HOA), 10 Civic Center Plaza in Santa Ana. The Board will greet honorees at a 7:45 a.m. reception in the first floor lobby of the HOA. Certificates will be presented during the awards ceremony and photo opportunities will immediately follow the event.

The 39 honorees include 36 individuals (volunteers, student interns and reserves), four volunteer groups and one corporate partner. Each of the honorees has an inspirational story including Vickie and Michael Ferguson and Chaplain Edmund Werner.

Vickie and Michael Ferguson are a husband and wife volunteer team with Risk Reduction Education Community Health Program (REACH). Since 2001, they have helped homeless individuals, many of whom have substance abuse issues. They also provide staff support for Higher Ground Life Skills workshops, and they speak with clients participating in County-contracted Alcohol and Drug treatment programs about HIV-related issues.

This duo knows firsthand what many REACH clients are experiencing. Several years ago, they were in a residential drug treatment program and, at one point, they were homeless. Through all of their struggles, the Fergusons have continued to volunteer so they can help others overcome obstacles just as they did.

“In 2004, Vickie and Michael volunteered more than 500 hours with the REACH program,” said Jane Dawson, Manager of Volunteer/Intern Resources. “Michael was recently re-appointed by the Board of Supervisors to the HIV Planning Council and is an active member of the HIV Client Advocacy Committee. Like our many other volunteers, this duo is making a dramatic difference in the community through their volunteer efforts.”

Another honoree on the 20th will be Chaplain Edmund Werner who dedicates countless hours to Orangewood Children’s Home; the County’s emergency shelter for abused, abandoned and neglected youth. Since 1990, he has provided on-site Protestant religious services for the children and teens placed in protective custody at Orangewood.

Through the years, he has contributed more than 2,100 hours, ministering to the kids at Orangewood, offering them spiritual guidance and providing on-site Bible study. “The children and teens benefit both spiritually and emotionally through Chaplain Werner’s involvement,” said Dawson. “ He gives them the special attention that they lack and helps ease the trauma that they are experiencing.”

More information on the County’s volunteer recognition ceremony, directions to the HOA and parking instructions are available online at http://www.oc.ca.gov/hr/volunteer/volunteerrecognition2005.asp.You can access County agencies and departments by visiting www.oc.ca.gov.