Annual chamber event honors its Visitors Center Volunteers


October 5, 2018


volunteer-panoOne of my favorite annual events is joining the board of directors to celebrate the Chamber’s one-hundred plus volunteers. Our Visitors Center at the corner of Forest Road and SR 89A is one of the busiest in Arizona. Thanks to our 80 volunteers and the welcoming atmosphere they create, it is also a critical tourism management tool.

We also celebrated our event volunteers, ambassadors and board of directors, who all volunteer their valuable time and expertise to our organization, partners and the community. A big thanks to the City Council who volunteer hundreds of hours to our community.

No Sedona business has more direct contact with visitors than our Center. About 300,000 people step through the doors annually, looking for guidance on everything from hiking to places of worship. Thousands more call or email every month.

An encounter with volunteers is often a visitor’s first impression of our community, and each one finds their Sedona experience enriched by the friendly reception and expert guidance our volunteers offer.  Thanks to their dedication, the Center is open seven days week from 8:30 a.m. -5 p.m.  every day except Christmas and Thanksgiving.  Tourism – Sedona’s most important industry – would not succeed without volunteers.

Our Sustainability Plan includes educating visitors about our culture and environment, which means the Visitors Center is becoming even more important, helping place a ‘Sedona ethos’ at the heart of the visitor experience.

On September 23, Board Chair Stephanie Giesbrecht, Vice Mayor John Martinez, Director of Visitor Services Donna Retegan, Visitors Center Manager Brenda Andrusyszyn, and other Board members joined in recognizing our volunteers at Poco Diablo Resort and noting many special achievements.

Volunteers of the Year: Debbie and Ray Schwartz

Debbie and Ray attend almost all volunteer familiarization tours and mixers. They even design many of the informative handouts our visitors find so valuable. They volunteer for the RunSedona and the Sedona International Film Festival. Ray is a volunteer with the Sedona Police Department and Debbie is active with the Verde Valley Caregivers.
Their warmth and community-mindedness have created fond Sedona memories for thousands of visitors and provided valuable service to their fellow Sedonans.
The Board and their volunteer colleagues share my admiration for their dedication. Congratulations and thank you, Debbie and Ray!

It was a day to celebrate many milestones, including:

Service Awards

5 years of volunteering at the Visitor Center – Carole Bell, Wade Bell, Fran Beltz, Kay Bork, Suzanne Burkey, Mikki Fogg, Ginnette Haas, Katie Hamilton and Sue Williams
10-years – Dixie Carlson, Debbie Schwartz and Joe Tomala
20 years – John Reass
Most hours Volunteered
Ron Slyter – 463 hrs
Dick Youngberg – 280 hrs
Jeanne Fischer – 262 hrs
Most Retail Items Sold
John Reass, Joe Tomala and Gary Kincaid
Most Familiarization Tours Attended
Debbie Schwartz, Ray Schwartz, Melanie Bullock
200 Volunteer hours
Karen Yeamens, Dick Weisbaum, Heidi Schroeder, Tom McCabe, Joe Tomala, Carl Saban, Gary Kincaid, Harry Grossman, Wade Bell, Ray Schwartz, Debbie Schwartz, Elinor Friedman and Carole Bell
150 Volunteer hours
Peter Gendron, John Freeman, Katie Hamilton, Anita Capps, Dick Fishel, Fran Beltz, Michelle Snyder, Ken Marcus. Tony Cuebas. Dixie Carlson. DeAnna Lehnen, Paul Lehnen, Caroline Rudat, Sharon Drake, John Reass, Sharon Madison, Lynn Svenningsen and Sheila Knies
100 Volunteer hours
Laurie Dawe, Marty Krepco, Barbara Earnshaw, Mikki Fogg, Greg Williams, Susie Fairchild, Becky Anderson, Suzanne Burkey, Ginette Haas, Melanie Bullock, Vito Caprio, Marvin Apter, Belinda Calloway, Jill Jepson, Jim Wilson and Donna Foreman
Thanks to the devotion and hard work of the Chamber, city and regional volunteers!
–Jennifer Wesselhoff