Glen Speer, a senior citizen with an irrepressible smile and heart-warming spirit, was presented with the Volunteer of the Year Award during the Hesperia Recreation and Park District's annual Volunteers Award Dinner on April 22 at the Percy Bakker Community Center.


For more than six years, the WWII veteran has loyally served the park district as a volunteer docent at the Harrison Exhibit Center. Recently, Speer also has become the welcoming personality for the International Banana Museum and John M. Swisher collection, both of which are housed at the exhibit center.


"We feel that Glen and his personal history our third exhibit," said Cal Camara, the park district's longtime administrator.


Addtionally, Camara noted, Speer has been named "Top Banana" of Hesperia by Ken Bannister, founder of the International Banana Museum.


In March, Camara was recognized by the California Parks and Recreation Society for his outstanding professional service to the field of park and recreation.


Camara, with the help board president Richard Lupton and Administrative Operations Manager Lindsay Woods, presented numerous other awards. However, many couldn't attend the annual dinner because they were doing what they do so well - volunteering.


"It's hard to find a time when we do not have dozens of volunteers volunteering for us," Camara said.


But volunteers are the heart and soul of the park district. Without them, the district wouldn't be as successful.


"Volunteers mean a lot free time and success to the district," Camara said.


Ironically, he noted, volunteerism is down statewide, but "that hasn't happened here yet." He urged volunteers to pass along their volunteering efforts to their children "so we can get good people to fill your shoes."


He also commended the district's extensive finger-printing, which helps ensure child safety.


"We have some of the safest parks in terms of volunteers and users you'll find," he said.


First District County Supervisor Brad Mitzelfelt, who served as a guest speaker, echoed Camara.


"We really can't function without our volunteers," Mitzelfelt said. "They are so many ways that people can serve our county."


Lupton said, "The park district appreciates all you do."


The following were recognized for their dedication:


Green Flag Volunteers: Gary Solomon, Dave McMillan, Rick Ashmead, Chris Allen, Karl Childress, Jane Shaw;


District Event volunteers: Flora Williamson (provided popcorn at Christmas Tree lighting), Glen Speer (Museum), Cindy Weis (PowWow), Zelda Lutz (PBCC), Wanda Hotze (Senior Bunco), Alan Kumlin (Veteran's Day event);


Hesperia Lake volunteers: Callie Brosowski, Julian Arroyo, Lan Mays, Randy Mays, Randy Wallace.


Lindsay Woods also thanked specific groups for their support:


Kiwanis Club of Hesperia, for their continued support of Hesperia Days, the Kids Fishing Clinic and other events;


Hesperia United Methodist Church, specifically Delbert and Maxine Webb for their yearly dedication to the Hesperia Days 5K race;


Sultana Key Club and Hesperia Interact Club for serving as Santa's helpers at the annual tree lighting ceremony.


The Sultana High School Drum Line provided music for the awards ceremony.


Camara also urged attendees to support the Italian Kitchen, which for years has provided gift certificates to their restaurant as raffle prizes.


Others in attendance included park board members Bob Chandler, Michael Limbaugh, and Rebekah Swanson; HARD Foundation members Jeanne Helsley, Gary "Griz" Drylie, Percy Bakker, Charlene Peters and Carol Hill; school board member Helen Rogers and HUSD Assistant Superintendent of Business George Landon; and Hesperia Chamber of Commerce President Mark Austin and General Manager Yvonne Woytovich.