The Casa Grande Valley Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution had the honor of submitting the names of two outstanding Casa Grande women for the prestigious NSDAR National Award in Community Service. The award recipients were Kim Vandenberg, chairperson of the Honoring/Hiring/Helping Our Heroes of Pinal County, and our chapter’s 98-year-old member, Ann Dessert.
These women have contributed to our community in an outstanding manner through educational, humanitarian, patriotic and conservation endeavors, receiving no monetary compensation for their volunteer efforts, a criteria for the award. The awards were presented at receptions hosted by our chapter this month. Their nomination packets consisted of documentation that detailed their service, two letters of recommendation from their peers and newspaper articles that showed their involvement with their respective service organizations.
Kim Vandenberg is known throughout Pinal County as a veterans’ advocate. Her leadership led to “Eagle One,” a mobile unit that travels throughout Pinal County staffed with knowledgeable personnel trained to help locate available services for veterans and their families. Kim was the primary promoter of the opening of the HOHP veterans resource center in downtown Casa Grande. Her networking skills and veterans advocacy extends to the Veterans Day parades, the yearly Pinal County Stand Down and to The Wall That Heals, the event that was so meaningful to Casa Grande and Pinal County citizens.
Kim’s award reception was held at the HOHP center, and her many friends, family and veterans gave loving testimonials of their appreciation for her passion for veterans and their needs.
Ann Dessert was honored for her service to the Court Appointed Special Advocate Program, where she has served as a trained volunteer to speak for a child who has been adjudicated as abused, neglected and/or dependent by the juvenile court system. During her nearly 15 years with CASA, Ann has advocated for 13 children, ages newborn to 10. She also screens new cases and volunteers at their community events. Ann participates in the Mayor’s Reading Club and the Pinal Elementary Science Olympiad. Through her efforts, she brought the Arbor Day program to Casa Grande, inviting school children to assist in the planting of a tree in a city park.
Ann has served as our chapter’s Arbor Day chair for nine years and conservation chair for 10. Her latest initiative is to plant pollinator gardens to save the bees. Her award reception brought heart-felt tributes from her friends, associates and family.
These two women are tireless champions in our community, and our chapter was pleased to be a part in recognizing their service as volunteers.
Janet Klein is regent of Casa Grande Valley Chapter, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution.