H.E.L.P. honors Hicks, Seamans and a surprised guest

From Mary Scott of the Palos Verdes Peninsula News -

When De De Hicks became president and CEO of the Volunteer Center, it had an operating budget of $137,000. Today, 27 years later, it has a $2 million budget and serves many low-income school children in the South Bay through programs like Food for Kids and Operation Teddy Bear. The Volunteer Center serves as the “hub” for volunteer activities for 600 nonprofit organizations in 43 cities.

“She’s an icon in the South Bay and beyond, for all she does for the Volunteer Center, for all the people she’s helped over the years,” said Steve Napolitano, senior deputy to Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe, during H.E.L.P.’s Celebrate Summer dinner, held Friday night at the Palos Verdes Golf Club. Napolitano took the microphone as the evening’s auctioneer and master of ceremonies. “It is not too many people who can say that in their lives, they have touched as many folks, have helped as many people as she has.”

De De Hicks, president and CEO of the Volunteer Center, left, and Susan Seamans, former mayor and council member in Rolling Hills Estates, were honored Friday for their service to the South Bay community. (photo by Mary Scott)

Hicks was awarded H.E.L.P.’s Vanguard Award for her service to the community. Besides her work at the Volunteer Center, Hicks has been active with the Palos Verdes Art Center, the Norris Center for the Performing Arts and the League of Women Voters.

Hicks recently announced she will retire in December 2015.

Susan Seamans, known as Suzy, received H.E.L.P.’s Inspiration Award.

In introducing Seamans after Hicks, Napolitano said, “from one icon to another.”

Seamans, who left her seat on the Rolling Hills Estates City Council in November 2013, was honored for 32 years of public service. Also involved with the League of Women Voters, Seamans served as a Palos Verdes Library District board of trustee and Planning Commissioner for the city of RHE, and she has sat on the boards of the South Bay Cities Council of Governments and the League of California Cities.

Longtime H.E.L.P. Ralph Scriba was surprised with a Lifetime Achievement Award for his support of the nonprofit. Scriba, left, pictured with Britt Huff, H.E.L.P.’S president and CEO, spontaneously donated $10,000 following the live auction at Friday night’s Celebrate Summer dinner. (photo by Mary Scott)

For those unfamiliar with public service, Napolitano suggested they read Theodore Roosevelt’s poem, “In the Arena.”

“Because [there are people] who put themselves in that arena and will take the slings and arrows of others because they believe they are doing something good and that they are representing their fellow man,” Napolitano said. “And that’s what Suzy has done for more than 30 years.”

The evening was a fundraiser for H.E.L.P., a nonprofit organization that offers free and low-cost referral services, education and counseling on elder care, law, finances and consumer protection to older adults and their families.

H.E.L.P. President Britt Huff surprised longtime supporter Ralph Scriba with the organization’s first Lifetime Achievement Award, honoring his dedication to H.E.L.P.s mission. He later surprised everyone by making an additional $10,000 donation to the nonprofit after the live auction ended.

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