Recipients of the monthly North Bay Spirit Awards
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.
February: Krista Gawronski - founder of Fabulous Women
Founder of Petaluma's Fabulous Women first inspired by Oprah
In the nearly 10 years since The Fabulous Women have been sprinkling acts of kindness on the Sonoma County community, the group has raised some $400,000, mostly through small donations of $20 or less. More here.
March: Herman Hernandez - founder of Los Cien, Sonoma County
Purpose, passion drive Los Cien leader
As a founding member of the Los Cien Sonoma County leadership group and now its president, Hernandez considers it part of his personal journey to have stepped out of his comfort zone in the lower Russian River and inserted himself in an ambitious effort to boost civic involvement among Latino residents countywide. More here.
April: Steve Baxman - Monte Rio Fire Chief
Meet the Monte Rio Fire Chief who seems to be everywhere at once
Steve Baxman has been fighting fires and responding to medical calls for almost 50 years as a volunteer without pay, including four decades as chief of the 45-square-mile fire district between the Sonoma Coast and Guerneville. More here.
May: Christi Camblor - Founder of Compassion Without Borders
“She's the epitome of grace, tact and diplomacy, and compassion, of course.”
Christi Camblor is recognized for providing veterinary care, spay/neuter services and rescue to more than 31,000 animals, mostly dogs, in underserved communities on both sides of the border, including many in Sonoma County, over the past 18 years. More here.
June: Queenie Tran - Owner of Queen Nail Salon
“She’s rolling up, unafraid, regardless of pouring rain or freezing cold, with food and warmth."
Every Friday night, after a full day of work, the Windsor nail salon owner and her husband, Michael, have a date with a hundred or so folks waiting for them at the Goodwill just north of the intersection of Sebastopol and Stony Point roads. There, they distribute food, blankets clothing and toiletries to the homeless. More here.
July: Patty Ginochio - Owner of Ginochio's Kitchen
"She's like the mayor of Bodega Bay. She has her finger on the pulse of everything."
Restaurant owner and volunteer Patty Ginochio sprung into action during the North Bay fires in 2017. She and her family served food to refugees escaping the wildfires, and she helped organize an impressive supply drive. More here.
August: John Dennison - Santa Rosa volunteer extraordinaire
"I don't know if the guy ever sleeps ."
Retired warehouseworker John Dennison spends his time volunteering for a dozen Santa Rosa nonprofits. His decades of relentless post-retirement work on multiple fronts now bring him honors as this month’s North Bay Spirit Award winner. More here.
September: Clint St. Martin - Santa Rosa marine, entrepreneur and volunteer firefighter
"He’s a self-made guy. A renaissance fellow. We just wish there were a lot more of them in the community.”
Marine, volunteer firefighter, contractor and volunteer Clint St. Martin dedicates his time to Devil Pups, a youth program fostered by the Marine Corps. But that's not the only cause St. Martin has championed while recovering from the 2017 Tubbs fire. More here.
October: Sunny Galbraith - Sebastopol teacher and 'Zero Waste' champion
"And when there is a whole community aspect created ... you don’t feel like one voice lost in the dark and nobody cares."
A science and math teacher at Orchard View School in Sebastopol, Galbraith is dedicated to leaving as small a carbon footprint as possible. Galbraith oversees a student-run compost and recycling program on campus and at the neighboring Apple Blossom School. Over the past 13 years, the effort has diverted more than 90,000 pounds of organic and recyclable material from the landfill while instilling in children an ethos for the environment. More here.
November: June Michaels - Founder of Foodrunner
"I call her Saint June because she?s a retired lady who has no time for herself. It?s amazing how much she does from sunup to sundown. She?s on it.?
Five years ago June Michaels founded Sonoma Food Runners, a volunteer-run nonprofit that salvages excess food and delivers it to people in need. Michaels' mission is to eliminate food waste, alleviate hunger and build community More here.