The North Bay Spirit award was developed in partnership with The Press Democrat and Comcast NBCU to celebrate people who make a difference in our communities. In addition to highlighting remarkable individuals, the North Bay Spirit program aims to encourage volunteerism, raise visibility of nonprofits and create a spirit of giving. You will find stories and videos about the recipients below.
January - Rose Hammock
The Santa Rosa native has a hand in multiple local organizations that support and advocate for Native American communities. She also teaches North Bay students about Native American cultures and traditions. More here.
February - Denise Redeker
The Petaluma woman, a heart transplant recipient, created the Heartfelt Help Foundation to help other organ transplant recipients with one of the biggest post-surgery challenges - a place to stay to recover that is close to the surgery center, which is required. More here.
March - Musetta Perezarce
The Sonoma County nurse started Mi Futuro to provide a path to health, stability and a way out of poverty for young people born with less opportunity but a lot to contribute. More here.
April - JoAnn Augustine
The 74-year-old Sonoman has clocked about 3,000 hours as a volunteer at Jack London State Historic Park in Glen Ellen, sharing her years of expertise and her passion to keeping the beloved park open to visitors. More here.
May - Memphis Roetter
Cardinal Newman junior Memphis Roetter, 17, started at an early age raising money for causes such as the Cotati Kids Day Parade and Early Learning Institute. Primarily, Roetter has collected food and funds for the Redwood Empire Food Bank. More here.
June - Heidi Klyn
When vaccines were first rolled out for COVID-19 at the end of 2020, Oakmont resident and retired optician Heidi Klyn arranged for Safeway Pharmaceuticals to bring mobile vaccination clinics to Oakmont, a 55+ adult community in Santa Rosa, ultimately helping to protect at least 75% of the residents. More here.
August - Elise Curtis
Every Friday after school, Elise Curtis jumps into a car, her mom, Tambra, at the wheel, and hightails it to Ceres Community Project not far from her home near Santa Rosa’s Spring Lake. For the next hour, mom and daughter drive through town to knock on doors and deliver healthy meals to people with serious, often life-threatening, illnesses. More here.
October - Joe Noriel
Joe Noriel never joined the military, although he has a deep connection to veterans through his late father, Ron Noriel, a one-time assistant Petaluma fire chief who had served in both World War II and in Korea. Yet, Noriel has emerged as a highly respected leader in the Sonoma County veterans’ community, a spokesman and go-to guy who will employ his many connections to get things done. More here.