Chapter volunteers who made a difference in 2013

Friday, January 31, 2014
Mary Morales

Each year the Angeles Chapter Sierra Club gives awards to volunteers who have shown an outstanding commitment to the club's political, conservation and outings mission. The Chapter's 2014 Awards Banquet will take place Sunday, May 4, at Brookside Country Club in Pasadena. (Click here for more information.) Join us at the banquet to honor those who made a difference in 2013.

Mike Sappingfield will be honored with the Phil Bernays Service Award. He was a founding member of the Sierra Sage group in south Orange County and served as Chapter Chair for three years. He has guided the Angeles Chapter through a difficult transition by leading three to four fundraising trips each year. Mike also leads many local day hikes and initiated "Mike's Hikes" for slower paced hikersto enjoy the outdoors experience.

Fred Dong will receive the Chester Versteeg Outings Award for his commitment to the Club’s outings program. Fred’s wide range of outings experience began in the early 1990s with a newcomer Backpacking Class (which he still organizes each year) as well as multi-day bus trips to Yosemite, Nevada, Monterey, Zion, Sedona, Mammoth, Lassen, Sequoia, and Havasupai. On behalf of the Chapter, he has led backpacking, skiing, camping and hiking trips. He also guides national and international trips to destinations like Florida, Yellowstone, Canadian Rockies, Glacier National Park, Alaska, and Colorado as well as China, Costa Rica, Tibet, Borneo, Mongolia, Gobi Desert, Sumatra, Thailand and Patagonia. Fred’s organizational skills have been used in management positions in 20 & 30s, Wilderness Adventures, Backpacking Committee and he currently serves as chair of the Crescenta Valley Group. Fred also is active in many conservation campaigns. In 2006, he led and organized a successful fight against a housing development in Glendale and the subsequent acquisition of public parkland. He received the Sierra Club's One Club Award too.

Dean Wallraff  will receive the Weldon Heald Conservation Award. Dean was instrumental in reviving the Angeles Chapter Legal Committee. An outings leader and lawyer, he scored a legal victory that will have impacts throughout the sate of California. Known internally as "The GIS Lawsuit," this legal action challenged Orange County's policy of charging high fees for mapping data. The California Supreme Court agreed with the Sierra Club position that public records should be available to all, not just those who can afford them. Dean has been instrumental in hosting yearly legal training for conservation activists and the community.  He has served as Conservation Chair, Legal Committee Chair, At Large ExComm representative and outings leader for Wilderness Adventure Section.

Bill Crane will be honored with the Lifelong Service Award. For most of his 40 years of membership, Bill has served on the Chapter Ex-Comm as an officer, first as Secretary and then as Vice-Chair. He has instructed backpacking and mountaineering courses and outings and shares his journeys and adventures in the form of slide shows at many Chapter meetings. He currently serves as Chair of the Backpacking Committee, a position he has held since 1978. Bill contributes to the Chapter in leading an annual trip to Hawaii each year too.

Bonnie Kinnear will receive with the Irene Charnock Office Service Award. Bonnie volunteers at the Chapter office to answer phones and help members and non-members with a range of questions and issues. She helps members navigate the Chapter organization, making sure members receive information about outings, meetings and other events.

Ron Silverman will be honored with the Linda Hoyer Chapter Staff Award.  The former senior Chapter director led the staff for more than seven years. His contributions include adding new outreach efforts to members and supporters, and new ways to support our outings, conservation and development activities across the Chapter. Ron developed the plans to significantly reduce expenses for office operations and office space in 2012.

Paul Koretz will receive the Public Policy Award. A long-time public office holder and true leader on the environment, he was first endorsed by the Sierra Club when he ran for the West Hollywood City Council a number of years ago. After serving with distinction, he was elected to the California State Legislature, serving for many years and leading the way on environmental protection. When term limits forced him out of the state Legislature, he ran for and was elected to the Los Angeles City Council. He was again endorsed by the Sierra Club, and the Club played a big role in his election. While on the Los Angeles City Council, he championed environmental issues, especially on the regulation of fracking and genetically modified food. As long-time leader on the environment as an elected official, he has also been an active member of the Angeles Chapter Political Committee. He has attended many meetings. In the past, he has received the Chapter's Political Leadership Award.

Sharon Koch will be honored with the Political Service Award. She has done an excellent job as chair of the Orange County Political Committee for the past 3 years. Sharon has organized a successful endorsement campaign for the 2012 elections which resulted in the election of many of the endorsed candidates. Following the election, she attended Lobby Day in Sacramento and initiated follow up interviews with the elected endorsed officials to bring them up to date with issues supported by the Sierra Club. This fall Sharon organized a successful Sierra Club Political Action Committee fund raiser for the 2014 elections. The event was attended by many local legislators and officials, including Rep. Loretta Sanchez.  Sharon has also served as the Sierra Sage of South Orange County management committee for 4 years and is currently the group representative to the Chapter's Executive Committee.

Conservation Service Awards

Dr. Clyde Tom Williams for his service to the Water Committee since it started in 2008. He has provided countless hours of his time and expertise particularly with submissions of Draft EIR statements on behalf of the Chapter. He has represented the Chapter at RWAG meetings and been commended for his services there, and also was a voting representative on the Conservation Committee. He has been a member of the Chapter's Transportation Committee and the Fracking Committee at national level. He is a lifelong member of Sierra Club.

Glenn Pascall took charge of the San Onofre Task Force in mid-2012 and organized the campaigns to permanently shut down the failed San Onofre plant. He spoke at NRC and CPUC hearings, met with NRC Chairman McCarthy, and launched letter writing campaigns that received some of the largest responses by members and supporters ever seen at the Chapter.  The campaign to shutdown San Onofre was successful, and the work now continues to plan for the safe storage of the highly radioactive spent nuclear fuel as the plant is decommissioned.

Steffen Eikenberry joined the Organics Project of the Zero Waste Committee and contributed to the development of survey materials, analysis of greenhouse gas emissions from landfills, and led the launch of the project's Worm Bin campaign. The worm bins have become a popular feature of the Organics Project outreach drawing much interest to the issue of recycling food scraps as compost. Steffen prepared an instruction sheet to build inexpensive worm bins and how to start a worm colony.

Ray Hiemstra stepped into the role of chair for the Orange County Conservation Committee at the beginning of 2013, and his involvement has been instrumental in reviving that committee and bringing Orange County activists to a collective table to discuss their local issues and move environmental conservation efforts forward.  In addition, Ray has taken the lead in the Angeles Chapter efforts to oppose the proposed desalination plant in Huntington Beach. He traveled to local Regional Groups and entities to provide education and recruit members to testify at the Coastal Commission hearing in Nov 2013.

Outings Service Awards

Regan Lau has been in the 20s and 30s Section for over 10 years. Since becoming a leader, he has averaged more than 20 outings a year, ranging from the Studio City Pizza hikes to ice cream beach hikes to help promote the yearly Catalina Trip. He has co-led trips to Yosemite, Joshua Tree, the Grand Canyon, Pinnacles, and Las Vegas. He has also taken groups to hot springs, to go cherry-picking and to attend events like the Renaissance Fair.. As a steadfast supporter of the Sierra Club, he never miss an opportunity to encourage people to become members and leaders, always willing help new leaders to plan outings.

Al Owens has served as an Leadership Training Course navigation examiner for many years and was the navigation chair for the MTC. He was checked off in 1981 at the advanced level by the late Bill T. Russell and has checked out many leaders over the years, including Harry Freimanis and Bob Myers at the E-level (past and current navigation chairs for LTC). He's the go-to guy for E-level (advanced) navigation checkouts. He's served the club well for decades, and many leaders are indebted to him for their fine navigation skills.

Liana Argento has been a member of the Natural Science Section for about 20 years and a member of the management committee and activity leader for most of this time. Her most significant contribution has been to lead and organize the section's Nature Knowledge Workshop, a weekend event in the San Bernardinos that fulfills the Environmental Education requirement for I-rated leaders. The workshop features multiple sessions with professional naturalists to inform participants about the area's habitat and its wildlife. Liana has also served as Membership Chair, attending many Newcomers Events to interest chapter members in the Natural Science Section. She leads a series of plant walks each spring with professional botanists and writes a Plant of the Month column for our newsletter.

Marlen Mertz is a member of Wilderness Adventures Management Committee and she organizes annual Channel Island trips as well as leads many day hikes and backpacking trips. She also leads for the Hundred Peaks Section, Lower Peaks Committee (Outings Chair) and has been a Wilderness Training Course Instructor for 9 years. She also has led three week-long backpack trips as a national leader and completed the Chapter's Hundred Peaks List.

Sharon Moore became an O rated leader in 2005 after graduating from the Wilderness Travel Course. She achieved an I-rating in 2007. She has edited the Long Beach Group’s newsletter, Tidelines since 2006. She currently serves on the Management Committee of the Natural Science Section as Membership Chair. She has been on staff with Wilderness Trael Course in West LA since 2009. Sharon leads outings for a variety of activity sections, the Wilderness Travel Committee, and the Long Beach Group.

Mark Alan Mitchell was an assistant leader in the Basic Mountaineering Training Course from 1986 to '88 and then in the first Wilderness Travel Course in 1989. He earned an I-rating in 2002, leading summer mountain climbing trips with Wilderness Adventures and winter back-country ski trips for OCSS to the present. Mark is on the OCSS Ski Committee and has stepped forward to lead bus and carpool trips to Mammoth Lakes and the Sierra and day back-country ski tours in local mountains. In addition to an “I” rating, Mark successfully completed 2 additional winter back-country ski provisionals. He is a valued member of Orange County Sierra Singles and has demonstrated extraordinary skills as a winter bus and back-country ski leader.

KC Reid has been involved with Wilderness Travel Course for 15 years. Initially, as a student and then WTC registrar from 2002 to 2004. From 2004 to 2005, KC served as Long Beach South Bay Area Vice Chair and was Area Chair from 2005 to 2008. She also continues to be the WTC Treasurer from 2007 to present. She leads multiple day backpacks for WTC to the Sierras and Sequoias.

David Meltzer is honored for the following accomplishments: Wilderness Travel Course chair from 2011 to present; current Outdoors Management Committee secretary; WTC Long Beach/South Bay Area Chair from 2008 to 2011; WTC Long Beach/South Bay Vice Chair from 2006 to 2008; achieved O-rating in 2004 and I-rated leader since 2005, leading for WTC, 20s & 30s, Backpacking Committee, PV South Bay. He also has helped with the Backpacking Committee beginner backpacking course for 5 years.

Special Service Awards

Bob Dean has been a Harwood Lodge overseer for over 10 years. In that time, he has earned the respect and acceptance of many visitors to the lodge. Bob volunteers for all the extended holiday weekends, including Thanksgiving’s four-day celebration.He is always willing to cover for other overseers when they cannot fulfill an assignment.This go-to attitude has also earned him the respect of the Harwood Lodge Committee.

Annette Kargodorian for three years has served as treasurer of Verdugo Hills Group. He's a leader for Verdugo Hills who's known for her Pastry Hikes in Brand Park. Active in the group, she has helped organize fundraiser mystery dinners, annual Oktoberfest weekends at Harwood Lodge and car campouts. She's also active in Sierra Club International Issues Group.

Jeanne Karpenko has been a member of the Sierra Club since 1975 and an active member of Sierra Singles Section since 1980. She was an O-rated leader who has assisted on bus trips, canoe trips. Over the years, Jeanne has held many positions on the Singles' management board: three terms as Chair, also as Outings Chair, Editor of the newsletter, Sole Talk, for seven years and has been the Vice Chair for the past few years. 

Arthur Antolick is a certified public accountant and has been a Sierra Club member for over 36 years. He is a current elected member of the West Los Angeles Group's Executive Committee and continues to serve as its treasurer. Arthur previously served as the Chair of the West Los Angeles Group and in many other volunteer positions. He is also a past member of the Angeles Chapter Executive Committee.

Felicia Hammond has been a dedicated and committed member of the Sierra Club for over 25 years who has been active in the West Los Angeles Group in various positions. She is currently an elected member of the West Los Angeles Group's Executive Committee serving as its secretary. She has been an outings leader for most of that time as well, leading ski trips, hikes, backpacks and bus trips to a wide range of destinations including Yosemite, Tehachapi, Solvang, Lake Arrowhead and other destinations. This year she co-led a trip to Southern Nevada that raised $3,000 for the Angeles Chapter. On each of these trips she has been an outstanding spokesperson for the Sierra Club and its environmental efforts.

Shirley Olson has been a tireless volunteer for the Sierra Sage Group in South Orange County for years, helping with membership, the annual Starr Ranch BBQ and wherever needed. She faithfully attends Coastal Commission meetings and other environmental meetings and passionately supports the environmental agenda.

Wayne Vollaire has served the Hundred Peaks Section as chair for two terms. In the past he has served on the Management Committee of the Hundred Peaks Section and as an Orange County WTC Group Leader. He spent two years as chair of the HPS programs and organized events like the Spring Fling, Fall Festival, and banquet. He has been responsible for the HPS Lookout newsletter for over four years, He leads for HPS, Lower Peaks , Wilderness Adventures Committee  too. Wayne gives of himself selflessly to the Club, never saying no to a job or task.

Mark Fleming is a relatively new leader but has become a vital part of the Orange County Sierra Singles Winter Sports Program. For the past 3 years he has successfully lead winter bus trips to Mammoth Lakes. In addition to Mark’s “I “leader rating, he completed extra winter ski tour provisionals beyond what is required by the Chapter Safety Committee. He has taken on the responsibility of budgeting and managing a bus trip that sometimes takes up to a year to coordinate. He also leads backcountry ski tours, and year round hiking and backpacking events.


KC has been a terrific leader and treasurer for WTC for years. Note that I said HER! Please make a correction. SHE is too cool to let that pass.

Thanks for the careful read! Correction made and we honor her!

Way to go Honorees! Thank you all a thousand times for your commitment to our environment.

Add new comment

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
Enter the characters shown in the image.