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Scotts Valley
March 4, 2024

Valley Churches United celebrates angels and community heroes of 2023

Press Banner’s Colly Gruczelak is honored at anniversary event

Valley Churches United awarded four recipients of the 2023 Angel of the Year Award at its recent 40th Anniversary Ruby Gala.

Each Angel Award recipient has been either volunteering or supporting Valley Churches in a variety of ways over the years.

“They have been huge champions of the San Lorenzo Valley community and give of their time and energy to promote many important causes that help our community thrive,” said Valley Churches Executive Director Lynn Robinson.

The 2023 Angels of the Year for Outstanding Volunteer Service are Linnaea and Bert Donlin.

The award reads: “For the last decade they have been volunteering countless hours to help create the annual holiday gift shop that benefits the year round food pantry. Their boundless energy to help create the gift shop from the ground up each year, as well as the Spring Thing sale is amazing. Whatever it takes to get the job done, Linnaea and Bert are there to help.”

Linnaea and Bert Donlin are the Angels of the Year for Outstanding Volunteer Service. (Contributed)

Colly Gruczelak, a Press Banner columnist, received the 2023 Angel of the Year Award for Outstanding Community Hero.

Her award citation cites “her commitment to helping seniors living in our mountain communities of San Lorenzo Valley and Scotts Valley. Colly has been such an inspiration through her many ways of helping seniors thrive, such as her cooking classes through the senior programs in Scotts Valley and Ben Lomond. She has also been a strong force in creating the new nonprofit Damian’s Ladder, providing support for seniors needing small repairs in their homes.”

Colly Gruczelak receives the 2023 Angel of the Year Award for Outstanding Community Hero. (Contributed)

The 2023 Angel of the Year Award for Outstanding Community Hero was also awarded to veteran broadcaster Rosemary Chalmers “who has been a championing voice for Valley Churches United for many decades,” her citation read. “She always shines such a beautiful light on the many incredible community events that take place in the San Lorenzo Valley, a place she calls home. She gives of her time to promote the unique people and places of San Lorenzo Valley and does it with such a positive and cheerful style.”

Surprising the awardees at the event were presenters, Congressman Jimmy Panetta, Assembly member Gail Pellerin’s assistant Maureen McCarty, 5th District Supervisor Bruce McPherson and Scotts Valley Mayor Jack Dilles.

The 40th Anniversary Ruby Gala event brought 170 guests together to celebrate the four decades Valley Churches United has provided assistance to San Lorenzo Valley communities and Scotts Valley.

Staff Report
Staff Report
A staff member wrote, edited or posted this article, which may include information provided by one or more third parties.

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