St. Dorothy's Rest executive director honored for swift response to Sonoma fires

Posted on February 21, 2018

On January 11, 2018 there was a ceremony to honor Katie Evenbeck, the executive director of St. Dorothy’s Rest for her response to the community during the fires in October in Sonoma County by immediately welcoming and hosting disaster relief staff. Carl Higbie, Chief of External Affairs Director for the Corporation for National and Community Service (NCCC) awarded Evanbeck with the Presidential Service Award. The Presidential Service Award is the highest civilian honor bestowed by the President of the United States. The President’s Volunteer Service Award (PVSA) is a national volunteer awards program, encouraging citizens to live a life of service, offering presidential gratitude and national recognition. PVSA recognizes, celebrates and inspires volunteerism, service and citizenship in the community.

“This award really recognizes someone doing something great. And I’ve never seen one approved faster," HIgbie said. "I saw what St. Dorothy’s was doing. They were putting up and feeding close to one hundred NCCC members at times who were working on the fires, sometimes driving one to two hours to get back here covered in soot and were being fed and put up by Katie. And then they got up the next morning to go back and do this seven days a week. It was really something," he said. The second I saw (the work at St. Dorothy’s) I said, ‘Wow, this is truly something special,' and this is what makes America great, this type of attitude — ‘what can I do to help my community and those around me'?'’"

Karen Baker, Chief Service Officer and Suu-Va Tai, Director of Disaster Volunteering and Preparedness at California Volunteers, the state office that runs AmeriCorps, Community Partnerships, and Disaster Volunteering and Preparedness, both spoke highly of Katie’s work and the hospitality and service of St. Dorothy’s Rest. “Katie’s response was ‘I’m not going to think about myself right now because I need to pitch in and help’. That's that’s why Katie deserves this award and I’m so excited that she is getting this, Tai said.

Baker said, “You have quite a fan club of people who love and care about you and who are inspired by you. And it makes them feel like they become better people. That’s a really important part of who you are and the impact you are having.”

A representative from Congressman Jarod Huffman’s office came to share the congressman's thanks for of Evenbeck's work and present her with a certificate. “He (Congressman Huffman) wanted to congratulate you on this honor as well as thank you," said the representative. "We were already impressed with your lifetime of volunteerism and service before the fires, but when we found out about all you did during the fires and continue to do, we were doubly impressed. We rarely see this kind of compounded service.”

Please consider a donation to help St. Dorothy's recover from lost income during the fires, as well as its ongoing hosting of Americorps teams that continue cleanup and restoration work in Sonoma County.