For the past eight years the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors and the Human Services Coordinating Council have hosted the Heroes of Human Services Awards, honoring individuals and groups in the Sacramento community who go above and beyond in the area of human services. There was a full house in the Board Chambers on Tuesday at the 2014 awards ceremony with many friends and family in attendance to celebrate the honorees.
Honorees range in age, race and size, but they all have one thing in common; they have, in one way or another, touched the lives of others in the community through their advocacy, dedication, services and support. For example, honoree Matthew Johnson is an 11-year-old seventh grader at Andrew Carnegie Middle School, who, at the age of eight, began collecting socks and giving them to the homeless, and in 2012 started “Socks from the Heart for the Homeless.” Matthew has collected more than 15,000 socks and undergarments for the homeless. When asked how he provides inspiration to others, Matthew said, “It’s by my community service and because I’m so young. I’m just like a regular kid in the world making a difference.”
On the opposite end of the age spectrum is honoree Gloria Stemler, a lifetime supporter and advocate for the Galt community. In 1985, Gloria saw a need and partnered with Galt’s Serve Our Seniors program to establish home-delivered meal services for her mother-in-law and other seniors in need. Gloria recruited 30 volunteers through the Galt Ministerial Association and was responsible for scheduling delivery drivers, completing client eligibility assessment, and turning Galt into a model for home-delivered meals in the greater Sacramento region. Gloria also saw the need for and established a safe-haven for women to escape their troubles by meeting new friends, sharing commonalities, and learning basic life skills. In 2004, her passions ignited the L’Chayim program, which provides classes for cooking, sewing, food preservation, and other life skills. Gloria still heads food sales and other fundraisers to continue funding these significant programs for women and families. Through a lifetime of personal commitment and advocacy for the community of Galt, Gloria has turned her visions into reality and has become the pioneer of social services and a hero for people of all ages in her community.
Stories like these can inspire people of all ages to volunteer and make a difference in the community. The Sacramento County Board of Supervisors and the Human Services Coordinating Council are proud to honor these Heroes of Human Service.