Chair Madrigal w/ McCoy Award winner Dr. Connie MasuokaAwards ceremony audienceChair Madrigal w/ McCoy Award winner Dr. Connie Masuoka] Balloons, storytelling and much laughter marked the festivities as Multnomah County honored its most exceptional volunteers at the Volunteer Awards Ceremony hosted by the Citizen Involvement Committee on Wednesday, April 16th. Upwards of  more than 180 people listened as volunteers had descriptions of their work read aloud prior to receiving their awards. Last fiscal year, volunteers contributed more than 130,000 volunteer hours with an estimated value of $3,335,760 to county programs and projects!

During the ceremony, 11 departments and county-affiliated programs recognized the extraordinary achievements of 74 volunteers. Their achievements ranged from advising on committees, walking dogs at 6am at the animal shelter, assisting rape victims with the District Attorney’s Office, serving as jail chaplains, and developing creative activities for RACC's Right Brain Initiative.

Additionally, the CIC presented the Gladys McCoy Award, the Multnomah County Commission on Children, Families and Community presented the Hilltops Awards, and the Multnomah Youth Commission presented its Beegle Award. Meet the volunteers in the ceremony program which contains short descriptions of the extraordinary work provided by all the award recipients.(link is external)

Gladys McCoy Award: 
A central part of the annual event is the presentation of the Gladys McCoy Award, presented to a person who has exemplified the life of late county chair Gladys McCoy, an advocate for human and civil rights, children and families, the environment and education. This year’s winner is Dr. Connie Masuoka. She is a dentist who volunteers free dental services to the homeless and people in need. She has led the Japanese American Citizens League, the Oregon Nikkei Endowment, which advocates for civil rights and civil liberties protections, and educates people about the history of Japanese Americans, as well as the youth group Unite People. Members serve meals to the homeless, attend leadership conferences, volunteer at community events, and fundraise through various events to support their activities. The projects Dr. Masuoka has taken on have had significant impacts, like revitalizing an event to commemorate Japanese internment during World War II. It included educating TriMet about how the Expo Center MAX stop was an internment camp site. Dr. Masuoka also serves on the boards of Ikoi So Terrace, OHSU Dental School Alumni Association, and Multnomah Dental Society Additionally, she’s active with Friends of Creston School Dental Clinic and numerous Japanese churches and temples. Further, she provides funding to support many organizations she volunteers with and activities she puts on. Her colleagues believe that she either doesn’t sleep or has been blessed with eight more hours a day! To all her volunteer service, Dr. Masuoka brings incredible vision, compassion, problem-solving, and a commitment to justice. 

Volunteers receive awards in 2014Hilltop Awards:
The 2014 Hilltop Awards were presented by Multnomah County’s Commission on Children, Families & Community (CCFC).  The Hilltop (Heroes Inspiring Leadership, Learning, Teamwork, Opportunity and Pride) Awards were created in 2006 to honor individual and organizational efforts to address poverty in Multnomah County. This year’s Hilltop Award winners include Nancy Weed, Daniel Swope and Multnomah County Chair Marissa Madrigal.

Jennifer Beegle Award:
The Beegle Award was established by the Multnomah Youth Commission in honor of Jennifer Beegle to highlight the positive impact youth volunteers have on their communities. Adela Maria Bonaca is receiving this year’s award in recognition of her extraordinary amount of time she volunteers with a multitude of community causes.