2020 Volunteers of the Year

The Board of Supervisors would like to thank all our volunteers for their work in our community, for their outstanding service to County departments, and for serving the residents of San Diego County.

In recognition and appreciation of their volunteer service, below you will find this year’s recipients of the Volunteer of the Year award and their accomplishments.

For Fiscal Year 2018-19, the County utilized 28,142 volunteers providing a value to the County of San Diego of $35,137,660. Behind these numbers are volunteers like you who give their priceless gift of time and talent to enhance the services provided to the residents of San Diego County. 

Nancy Olesky

Nancy Olesky - District 5
Department of Animal Services

Ms. Olesky is a dog walker who provides behavior training and mental stimulation to the animals at the shelter. Ms. Oleski is skilled at recognizing each dog needs and she makes sure they are met. She has donated over 350 hours.

Charlotte Morales

Charlotte Morales - District 1
Department of Animal Services

Ms. Morales is a greeter at the Bonita shelter. She assists staff with various administrative tasks. Ms. Morales donates time every week, which helps the shelter run smoothly. She offers each customer a smile and treats all with respect and patience. Ms. Morales has donated 330 hours.

Hannah Hickman

Hannah Hickman - District 2
Department of Child Support

Ms. Hickman contributions include preparing ex-parte applications and case files for daily court calendars, prepares and files petitions to revoke probation, researches and prepares memorandums of law, points authorities and draft and files trial briefs. Ms. Hickman has donated 221 hours.

DA Dog Program

Court Dog Program - Districts 2 through 5
District Attorney

Marilin Ambrose and Caleb - Pattie Burford and Lexi - Marilyn Fullen and Brutus, Kathy Lam and Poppy - Dee Moossa and Daphne - Christie Norris and Truman, Liz Rajknecht and Milagra- Diane Shwisberg and Bently - Tina Swim and Lauren

The Court Dog Program participants provide certified therapy dogs, in court settings, for child victims of physical, sexual, and emotional abuse.  They also assist victims in preparing for court, testify and provide victim statements at sentencing hearings. The program has been cited in published opinions and has been instrumental in establishing the law in California which permits therapy dogs to accompany the most vulnerable victims when they testify before a judge or a jury.  The program has donated 371 hours to the District Attorney Office


Faisa Elmi

Faisa Elmi - District 4
Health and Human Services Agency - Central Region

Ms. Elmi assists with the filing and sorting of mail, prepares packets and provides exceptional customer support assistance. She was able to use her bilingual skills in Somali to provide translation assistance to our diverse customers. Her volunteer work has significantly contributed to the County's H.E.A.R.T. initiative and Live Well San Diego vision. She has donated over 204.7 hours of her time.

Elisa Acosta

Elisa Acosta - District 1
Health and Human Services Agency - South Region

Ms. Acosta provides support to the Community Health Action Team (CHAT). She reviews documents for Economic Vitality workgroup as well a survey and data analysis. She assisted with the conversion of paper surveys into online versions through survey monkey and supports the team with summarizing data. Ms. Acosta created a breathing exercise tip sheet and a one pager with meditation apps in both English and Spanish that are currently being used at the "Grandparents raising Grandchildren" events. Ms. Acosta has donated 181 hours of her time.

Tara Ott

Tara Ott - District 2
Health and Human Services Agency - Child Welfare Services - Camp Connect

Ms. Ott is the main lead for the overnight summer camp.  She continuously provides helpful direction and insight on the best practices for the Promises2Kids program. In 2019, she attended 9 of the 12 monthly events and goes above and beyond to assure that the siblings have a safe space to strengthen their sibling bond. Ms. Ott has donated 450 hours.

Erik Jonannesen

Erik Johannesen - District 4
Health and Human Services Agency - Child Welfare Services - Foster Youth Mentor Program

Mr. Johannesen has taught his mentees how to prepare home cooked meals and has attended various sporting events together. Mr. Johannesen has also provided out of state transportation so the mentees could visit their extended family. Mr. Johannesen is known to have a strong working relationship with his mentees. He is considered an essential part of the team. He has donated over 300 hours of his time.

Nancy Olesky

Rebecca Long - District 4
Health and Human Services Agency - Child Welfare Services - Foster Youth Mentor Program

Ms. Long has taught her mentees how to prepare home cooked meals and has attended various sporting events together. Ms. Long has also provided out of state transportation so the mentees could visit their extended family. Ms. Long is known to have a strong working relationship with her mentees. She is considered an essential part of the team. She has donated over 300 hours of her time.

Lois Fong

Lois Fong-Sakai - District 2
Health and Human Services Agency - Child Welfare Services - Polinsky Children's Center

Ms. Fong-Sakai, dedicates her time, hard work and compassion to providing a safe an nurturing environment for the infants and toddlers of the Polinsky Children's Center. Through play she assists toddlers in reaching developmental milestones. For over 19 years she has provided interaction that fosters healthy development, allowing them to thrive in this home-like setting. Through reading age appropriate books, she provides communication skills to minors.  Her assistance in this program has made her an integral part of the Polisky team.  She has donated 1,110 hours.

Jane Duvall

Jane Duvall - District 1
Health and Human Services Agency - Ombudsman

Ms. Duvall oversees the investigation and resolution complaints of abuse, neglect, and resident rights violations.  When wrongdoing has been detected, Ms. Duvall coordinates with licensing authorities, community agencies, and protective service agencies. In the past year, Ms. Duvall investigated over 50 cases and had over 360 entries. She submits timely reports all while attending her assigned skilled nursing facilities. Her tireless advocacy keeps residents safe while assuring they also receive fair treatment from service providers. She has donated 1,600 hours.

Dana Tomlison

Dana Tomlinson - District 1
Library - Bonita Branch

Ms. Tomlinson serves as the 1st Vice-President for the Bonita -Sunnyside Friends of the Library. She sorts, organizes, shelves and maintains the storage of donated books. In addition to managing the book inventory, she created both a Facebook page and new website for the library that she maintains daily, and creates the FOL's quarterly newsletter. She also assisted with the expansion of the library by holding various fundraising events.  She donated 3,300 hours of her time.

Carol Miller

Carol Miller - District 2
Library - Casa de Oro Branch

Ms. Miller started as an attendee of the library's Saturday painting classes. After the long-time host who lead the classes retired, Ms. Miller volunteered to take over and now she is the host of several monthly classes, such as painting, quilting and sewing classes. Since taking over as host, the classes have doubled in size. she is known for Ms. Miller has donated 81 hours.

Dawn Mason

Dawn Mason - District 3
Library - Del Mar Branch

Ms. Mason provides continuous support to the Del Mar Branch as she actively promotes the library as a resource in her non-library volunteer activities, she constantly seeks opportunities for the library with non-profit organizations. In 2019, Ms. Mason assisted with the library's first annual Halloween program. She has donated 350 hours.

Susan Billing

Susan Billing - District 5
Library - Fallbrook Branch

Ms. Billing has volunteered at the Fallbrook branch for 13 years. For the last 11 years, she has served as the branch manager. She supervises between 60 to 90 volunteers on a monthly basis.  Her duties include the scheduling and managing of yearly fundraisers.  Thanks to her hard work, the Fallbrook branch has ensured an annual donation of $100,000 which is applied to the community programming and materials of the library.  She has donated over 20,000 hours of her time.


Carlos and Bianca Gomez - District 2
Department of Parks and Recreation

Mr. and Mrs. Gomez have been serving as the live-on park hosts at Lamar Park for the past 5 years. They perform daily opening and closing procedures, maintanance for the facilities and complete daily park safety inspections. Mr. and Mrs. Gomez assisted with oversight of the construction of a second playground addition, exercise equipment, walking train, and an on-and-off leash area of parks.  They have both donated over 5,200 hours of their time.

Waldon Riggs

Waldon Riggs- District 2
Planning and Development Services

Mr. Riggs was the first member to be selected to the Canyon/Granite Hills Community Planning Group that was established in 1978.  Aside from preparing and conducting monthly meetings, Mr. Riggs also assists with various administrative tasks.  He has donated 2,520 hours of his time.

Janet Mulder

Janet Mulder - District 2
Planning and Development Services

Ms. Mulder has served as a member of the Jamul/Dulzura Community Planning Group since it's establishment in 1978. She prepares and finalizes the meeting minutes and also facilitates communication between the group and the stakeholders. Ms. Mulder has donated 2,520 hours.

Nancy Olesky

Vern Denham - District 2
Planning and Development Services

Mr. Denham is one of the original members of the Pine Valley Community Sponsor Group that was established in 1979.  Aside from serving as the chairperson for the monthly meetings, Mr. Denham also assists with various administrative tasks.  He has donated 2,640 hours of his time.

Marsha Schjolberg

Marsha Schjolberg - District 3
Primary Public Defender - Juvenile Division 

Ms. Schjolberg serves as an educational representative for clients in need of support in schools. She has served as a guest speaker at various schools to inform the youth of post high school opportunities. Ms. Schjolberg also participated in the research, preparation and presentation of a potential grant in support of strengthening the Educational Advocacy program. She also assisted in securing after school programs for teens, including "Arnold's All Stars", which provides free support for minority under privilege youth with tutoring, homework support, career counseling, character building and participation in sports.

Kendra Breman

Kendra Breman - District 2
Public Defender

Ms. Breman is an investigative intern that assist with case organization, research and conducts court records checks. She also assists with serving subpoenas and obtaining confidential records required for demonstrative evidence for presentation in court. She has assisted case investigator in three active homicide cases by visiting with defendants and reviewing case information and obtaining a multitude of documents to assist in case preparation, these efforts have saved countless hours of paid investigative time. Ms. Breman has donated 500 hours.

Walter Wallenborn

Walter Wallenborn- District 2

Mr. Wallenborn joined the Sheriff's Citizen Volunteer program in 2014. He assists the Sheriff's media relations by supporting the production of training materials, documenting department community relations and outreach events. Mr. Wallenborn also provides support when there is a need for supplemental communication during emergencies. He has donated 15,000 hours of his time.

Heather Holland

Heather Holland- District 3
University of California Cooperative Extension

Ms. Holland serves as a Master Gardener providing science-based gardening and pest management. She assists with coordinating more than 80 consultants that work with more than 450 schools throughout the County. She also served as the lead in the revision of the school garden manual as well as the conversion of the manual to an online platform. She has participated in many facets of the organization, including school gardens, selection future Master Gardener selection gardeners, staffing community booths and promoting the annual "Garden with Class Teacher" conference.  Ms. Holland has donated 1,325 hours of her time. 

Elizabeth Woodward

Elizabeth Woodward - District 3
University of California Cooperative Extension

Ms. Woodward serves as a Master Gardener for 10 years and provides science-based horticultural and pest management. Aside from serving as the president of the Extension for the last two years, she actively participates in all aspects of the program such as, event coordinator, answering questions at information booths, and coordinating outreach activities. She has donated 2,082 hours of her time.