Andy Amstutz Wins Award for Volunteer of the Year

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(Jeff Heyman, Photographer)
Orinda resident Andy Amstutz was honored as Volunteer of the Year, the Lamorinda Village’s inaugural Don Jenkins/Lamorinda Village Service Award on Dec. 9, 2022, at the Lafayette Community Center.

    It’s no longer a secret. The crowd assembled at the Lafayette Community Center burst into applause as Andy Amstutz was announced winner of the Inaugural Don Jenkins/Lamorinda Village Service Award.
    Executive Director of Lamorinda Village (LV) Kathryn Ishizu said it was fitting the first Village Service Award goes to 
Andy.
    “Don and Andy were at the inception of the Village and became founding board members,” said Ishizu. “They worked for years to develop the organization. I think Don would be very pleased to have Andy as his first honoree.”
    Amstutz was thrilled to receive the award.
    “I feel very grateful for the recognition from our Village community, for the Lafayette Rotary Paul Harris Fellow award and the Lafayette City Proclamation” he said. “I was surprised, but as Kathryn was describing all the activities I have assisted with, I knew it must be me! A lot of growth has happened in eight years.”
    Amstutz remembered accepting Don’s request to join the Village organizing task force.“It was just what I was looking for as my next personal growth chapter,” said Amstutz. “Volunteering is best when you can work on things you care about and have some experience doing.” 
    Amstutz said he was prepared by many years in leadership at IBM and Lafayette-Orinda Presbyterian Church (LOPC).
    “I wanted to do community development in a larger space, without any theological restrictions, just to love my neighbors in practical ways” he added. “Lamorinda Village was a natural idea whose time had come, and it continues to develop very well. I am fortunate to have found such a good place to serve and grow.”
    He joined the Task Force in the fall of 2014. He assumed chairmanship for Outreach and Recruitment, which included recruiting potential members, doing publicity and public relations, hosting Village 101 presentations, producing e-newsletters, coordinating outreach to media and other organizations and engaging faith communities and elected officials. 
    A snapshot of what he has done for LV also includes being a founding board member from 2015 to 2020. He also served as membership chair, started the Men’s Coffee and Conversation Group and took responsibility for upgrading the organization’s database while developing the website.
    Over the years he acted as driver, handyman, grocery and meal delivery person, computer helper, food prepper, gardener and friendly visitor. In retirement from the LV board, he is chair of the Ambassador Committee, member of the Program/Services Committee, host of multiple Weekly Zooms for LV (Meditation, Chair Yoga, Friday Presentations), all while making public presentations for LV.
    Board President Sharon Iversen said, “When I first met Andy in those early planning meetings, I didn’t know him, but I began to look forward to him being there because he brings joy with him when he walks into the room. He still does”
    Founded by Ruth McCahan, LV opened to serve older adults in the community in April 2015. Since the pandemic, LV has more than doubled in size, now having 249 members.
    Ishizu said, “Our Mission is to actively build a community that embraces connections, caring and choices in how we live and thrive. We believe Villages run on the power that comes from connecting people who possess abundant energy, creativity while having the knowledge and the determination to make the world a better place for each other. At Lamorinda Village, we make every effort to meet the needs of our members through programs, services and referrals.”

Bobbie Dodson can be reached at bobbiedodson109@gmail.com.

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