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Women in Service honored by Zonta

Award: Linda Cormack named winner of Zonta Club of SCV Carmen Sarro Award at Women in Service event

Posted: April 3, 2010 10:35 p.m.
Updated: April 4, 2010 4:30 a.m.

Nominees for the Carmen Sarro Community Service award take a photo break at the beginning of Zonta's Women in Service ceremony held at Robinson Ranch in Sand Canyon. Shown are (front row, left to right) Wendy Downs, Corinn Miklosovic, Jeri Seratti Goldman, Christine Miller, Debbie Marquez, Dawn Abasta-Hovhannisyan (middle row, left to right) P...

Linda Cormack, a founding board member for the nonprofit Circle of Hope, was named the winner of the Carmen Sarro Community Service Award from Zonta Club of the Santa Clarita Valley. Cormack was selected from a slate of 24 women nominated by various SCV nonprofit organizations. The award was presented to Cormack, an enthusiastic supporter of a number of SCV charities, at Zonta’s annual Women in Service brunch held at Robinson Ranch in Sand Canyon. The event attracted nearly 200 participants to the scenic golf course’s clubhouse banquet room.

Each of the 24 nominees was honored during the program before Sarro’s daughter, Christine Sexton, announced the final winner and presented the award to Cormack. A Zonta committee selects the Carmen Sarro winner each year as the nominee who best epitomizes the commitment to volunteer service that Sarro, a former Zontian, maintained throughout her lifetime.

Cormack was critical to Circle of Hope in its formative years, according to her nomination letter from Circle of Hope Founder Colleen Shafer. Her expertise was significant in developing Circle of Hope’s client criteria and application guidelines and in creating the Angels of Hope Club, volunteers without whom Circle of Hope could not function. In 2009 Cormack earned the Inspirational Angel Award for her support to the nonprofit, clients and other volunteers.

A dozen years ago, Cormack helped found — and continues to serve with — the Saugus Action Committee, working with the city government to enhance the communities of the SCV. She worked with the committee to develop the City Beautification Plan, designing street landscaping and tree planting, creating new city parks, developing the now city-wide School Drop-off Program that ensures that schoolchildren are safe at the beginning and end of each day, and partnering with the SCV Food Pantry to increase its ability to meet the needs of SCV families.

She has turned her love of walking into productive fundraising efforts through the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life, the Circle of Hope 5K Walk, the Susan Komen Race for the Cure and the Avon Three Day Walk to End Breast Cancer. Cormack and her walking team raised more than $15,000 in 1999, and again in 2003, when Shaffer’s breast cancer was rediagnosed.

She has participated and raised funds for the fight against heart disease and diabetes, and joined the sheriff’s Athletic League’s Mud Run in Castaic to raise money for the Boys & Girls Club. Thanks to her Community Emergency Response Team training, she became a volunteer with the local Red Cross Emergency Preparedness Unit, where she has been working on community awareness and mass care, including the SCV shelter for last year’s Station Fire.

Cormack has independently organized numerous collections and food drives for the SCV Food Pantry, helps to provide meals for the SCV Winter Homeless Shelter, organized numerous E-waste collections and works with the annual Sheriff’s Toy Drive. She has repeatedly volunteered with the Over the Line Tournament, an annual baseball tournament for paraplegics and quadriplegics. She volunteers as a bowling-tournament lane aid with the Los Angeles Therapeutic Recreation Program, working with mentally and physically challenged athletes.

Before Cormack was announced as the Carmen Sarro award winner, Zonta members DeAnne Joy and Karen Maleck-Whitely introduced each of the 24 honorees, saluted the organizations that nominated them and presented each with a nominee’s award.

Each honoree received a yellow rose corsage, the symbol of friendship for Zonta International.

“We are pleased that 21 diverse organizations submitted nominees this year — some of them nominating teams of outstanding volunteers who worked together in community service,” said Donna Schmidt, event co-chairwoman. “It is evident when going through the applications that the Santa Clarita Valley is blessed with many giving women.”

Schmidt organized this year’s event with co-chairwoman Chris Miller. She said the Zonta Club of SCV has honored service to the community for 26 years.

“It is appropriate that the top award honors Carmen Sarro, who shared her time and talents with many community organizations in addition to Zonta,” she said.

The other nominees for the award and the nominating organizations were: Christine Miller, Daughters of the British Empire; Maria Gutzeit, Santa Clarita Valley Committee on Aging; Doreen Hawbecker, Betty Ferguson Foundation; Debbie Marquez, Pet Assistance Foundation; Dora Zavala, Soroptimist International of the Greater Santa Clarita Valley; Jami Kennedy, Carousel Ranch; Lisa Kaminsky, Michael Hoefflin Foundation; Hannah Langley, Boys & Girls Club of the SCV; Dawn Abasta-Hovhanisyan, Single Mothers Outreach; Ellie Laks, The Gentle Barn; Deborah Estes, Family Child Care Association of Santa Clarita; Jackie Hartmann, Special Olympics; Jeri Seratti Goldman, Providence Holy Cross Foundation; DaAnne Smith, Single Mothers Outreach; Jean Albrent, Domestic Violence Center of the SCV; Jackie Hamby, Assistance League of Santa Clarita and Michelle Witkin, Child & Family Center Foundation.

The SCV Family YMCA nominated a team of women — Peggy Gelpi and Wendy Downs. Gerri McCorkle, Jan Fear and Corinn Miklosovic were nominated as a team by the G.R.A.N.D.S. (Giving Respect and Nurturing to Deserving Seniors). Several nonprofit organizations nominated Zontians for their community service outside their Zonta affiliation. Those honorees were saluted as nominees but were not eligible to receive the Carmen Sarro Award.



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