Springs commission honors city’s top volunteers

The cream of Coral Springs’ volunteer crop were recognized during last week’s City Commission meeting for their contributions.

The winners, in five categories, were selected from among 25 nominees. The award was renamed in 2010 in memory of Lynne Johnson, a lifelong volunteer who passed away shortly after she won the city’s “Bridging the Gap” award for volunteers in 2009.

Michael Singer, a teacher at Coral Springs Charter School and member of the city’s Martin Luther King Committee, was selected in the “Working with the Youth” category. Singer is the chairman of the MLK committee’s Youth Leadership/Diversity Program, which is aimed at helping students appreciate cultural differences and respect those with disabilities.

Irene Morgenthien, who has been a volunteer at the city’s police records unit for 21 years, took home the award in the “Seniors Making a Difference” category, while Carol Smith, who has been a member of various city committees, received an honorable mention. “Irene’s time and efforts have helped save the city money by not having to contract for the services she provides,” said Dale Pazdra, the city’s director of human resources.

The winner in the “Working with Youth in Sports” category was Jim Reilly, who has been the man behind the Kreul Classic Basketball Tournament for more than 25 years. Pedro Sanchez, a volunteer for the last 12 years in the Community Assisted Patrol Unit, as well as the fleet and facilities division of the police department, was chosen in the “Committed to Enhancing City Services” category. Mike DiTocco, who is the head of the city’s Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) won an honorable mention in the category.

Commissioner Lou Cimaglia had words of praise for William Vasquez, the winner in the “Enhancing the Lives of Coral Springs Residents” category. “You go along life and every once in a while a special person comes in your life. This is a special guy.”

Vasquez is the founder of the Coral Springs Veterans Coalition, a two-year-old support group that already has more than 60 members. He is also a member of the city’s Senior Advisory Committee, the board of directors of the Community Redevelopment Agency, the Vietnam Moving Wall Committee and the Multi-Cultural Advisory Committee. Ray LeFevre, who is a key member of the city’s Keep Coral Springs Beautiful/Adopt a Street Program, received a honorable mention in the category.

“The bar gets higher and higher,” said Commissioner Dan Daley, the city commission’s liaison to the CIGC, as he addressed the winners. “You are all fantastic individuals.”

Copyright © 2015, Sun Sentinel

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