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Whittier YMCA honors volunteers, staff for outstanding service

WHITTIER — The YMCA of Greater Whittier is proud to present its annual service awards.

Each year the Y recognizes staff and volunteers for their outstanding service to the Y’s mission. Each awardee is nominated by their peers and is honored at the annual board recognition event. This year’s event, the 104th, will take place virtually.

The Myron Claxton Award recognizes distinguished service to the Y. This year it is being awarded to 2019-2020 Board Chair and Chief Volunteer Officer, Berta M. León.

Berta began volunteering for our association because, as a Whittier resident, she wanted to help the Y take action to support young people and seniors to reach their highest potential. Berta became more engaged as a volunteer and began her membership on our board in 2005.

In addition to chairing our board, she is leading the diversity, inclusion and global task force charged with developing policies to ensure that all segments of society have access to and can thrive at our Y. Berta has been an integral part of creating structures and support that enable all of our neighbors to take an active role at the Y.

Greg Burchfield is receiving the Don Jenkins Award recognizing outstanding volunteer service.

Greg has devoted his energy to YMCA Camp Arbolado for more than 30 years. His passion for serving others began when he arrived at camp as a child, and he now is one of four generations of Arbolado enthusiasts. Greg spends each Memorial Day at the Camp Volunteer Work Weekend where he takes great pride in readying the mountian bikes for the Don Jenkins Mountain Bike Program.

Whenever possible he makes time to clear old trees for use as firewood during camp sessions. He is a Camp Alumni Member and is an exemplary example of what it means to be a White Ragger in our YMCA Ragger program. Greg has created a legacy that continues to empower future generations to continue to support the mission of the YMCA as a Y for All.

Florie Harrison, Executive Director of Youth Services, is being honored with The Tina Arriaga Heart of the Y Award as the outstanding employee of the year.

Florie began at the Y in 2016, in the childcare department, and since then she has become the lead staff member for all of Youth Services. Florie’s attention to detail and her ability to implement procedures to ensure compliance for federal and state licensing regulations have been priceless assets to the success of both the childcare and food distribution programs. With her oversight the food distribution program has grown from snacks and lunches for children in childcare to providing year-round meals for any child in the area.

During the COVID-19 pandemic school closures Florie quickly adapted the food distribution logistics and procedures to provide “Grab and Go” meal service to ensure the safety of families and staff. Since March 16, the program has grown from about 1,000 meals per week to more than 5,000.

Florie has been a dedicated member of the operations team and exemplifies the Y’s core values of caring, honesty, responsibility and respect through her care and concern for the youngest members of our community.

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