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In the Spirit of Hollywood

The Volunteer Center honors its stellar participants with a star-quality awards ceremony held at Tinseltown Studios

November 24, 1998|KATHRYN BOLD

The event: The Spirit of Volunteerism awards luncheon, where individuals and groups who serve the community got to be stars at the new Tinseltown Studios in Anaheim. The awards ceremony was staged by the Volunteer Center of Greater Orange County, a Santa Ana-based agency that promotes volunteerism.

In the spotlight: The Art Deco-style dinner theater treats patrons as if they were award show guests and nominees--mobbing them with fans, featuring them in famous film clips and awarding them Oscar-inspired "Oggie" statuettes.

For the luncheon, volunteers received service awards instead of Oggies, to the applause of 500 guests.

"It's great to see we can pull this off at noon," said Jack Lindquist, a creator of the dinner theater. Tinseltown will be made available to groups for fund-raisers on a case-by-case basis, Lindquist said.

Taking a bow: Mark and Barbara Johnson of North Tustin received the center's Giving Is Living award for their support of organizations that include the Pacific Symphony, Orange County Performing Arts Center and the Olive Crest Treatment Centers.

"We don't feel we deserve this award at all," said Mark Johnson, chairman of the Orange County Performing Arts Center. "The real unsung heroes are the people out there, working alongside the homeless, delivering meals to the hungry or rocking babies at 6 a.m."

Matchmaker: The Volunteer Center, established in 1958, matches prospective volunteers with more than 2,000 nonprofit organizations that deal with social problems such as child abuse, illiteracy and hunger. In 1997, the center connected more than 52,000 volunteers to community service groups.

Quote: "Publicly recognizing people inspires others to participate," said Steve Kwong, event chairman. "There's a right fit for every person out there who wants to volunteer."

Other winners: Volunteerism awards were given to the Court Appointed Special Advocates' Kids Team; George Westrom; Adena Spingarn; Reed Barnes; Arthur and Alice Jermy; the Second Generation youth group with Interval House Crisis Shelter; Frances Munoz; Richard Chavez; Ray Havert; Kathy Wachter; Linda Smith; Merle Hatleberg and George Wills.

Faces: Tim Ashcroft, Larry and Dee Higby, Carl and Margaret Karcher, William and Willa Dean Lyon, David Fields, Donna Fouste, Rusty Kennedy, Dan Merkle, Rick Reiff and Bee Tran.

What's Next: The Volunteer Center on Jan. 18. will stage a Martin Luther King Jr. Service Day for Youth at four locations throughout Orange County. Youths are invited to participate in four service projects. Information: (714) 953-5757.

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