On the early morning of Monday, October 9, 2017, one of the most devastating fires hit Sonoma County. The fires incinerated over 5,000 structures, lives were lost and people were displaced. The fires were referred to as the “worst fire disaster in California’s history.”
Among one of the evacuees was Tammy Affonso, President of Santa Rosa Chapter 75 and Regional Representative for Region 24. Though she was displaced, she did not spend much time preoccupied with her belongings. Tammy immediately started reaching out to those who could have been impacted by the fires. Tammy assisted in the crisis by phone banking potential victims, delivering Dorothy Bjork Emergency Assistance applications to members, and helping them fill it out with all of the photos and documentation required.
She was not only focused in her chapter but all areas impacted. She was volunteering her time at all hours of the day, from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Three weeks after the fire, Tammy was still spending a significant amount of time helping members and making sure they knew of the assistance that was available to them through their union.
The Sonoma County fires impacted over 125 members and retirees. Of those, at least 77 had lost their homes and 48 were evacuated. Although Tammy was one of the evacuees, she did not apply for the Dorothy Bjork Assistance fund as she felt other members needed it more. She instead channeled her energy into asking other local chapters to donate to the fund.
Tammy volunteering her time gave many members a glimpse of hope during these tough times. For these reasons and more, it is our pleasure to present the William P. Schwartz Humanitarian of the Year award to Tammy Affonso.
The William P. Schwartz Humanitarian of the Year Award is given to a person who continues founding father Bill Schwartz’ legacy of unselfish concern and reflects a noble desire to improve the lives of CSEA members and/or the community at large. The recipients of this award have performed a significant act of a humanitarian nature, including: demonstrating a generosity of spirit and dedication to the betterment of people in need (in particular CSEA members); being involved in service which has enriched the lives of others and the welfare of humanity and society; or contributing above and beyond in the name of charity.
Nominees must have performed any significant act of a humanitarian nature:
2017 Delia Alvarado, Retiree Council 5008
2016 Frank Carey, Plumas Chapter 193
2015 Miguel Alatorre-Munoz, Orange Chapter 67
2014 Marie Hoveln, Vista Chapter 389
2013 Jerry Chames, Kerman Unified Chapter 279 and Gloria Pinedo, Patterson Unified Chapter 174
2012 Gary Davis, Sunnyvale Chapter 205
2011 Karen Sweet, Galt Chapter 362
Every year, CSEA members are recognized for their extraordinary contributions to their union and the students they serve.
Member of the Year Award
CSEA Life Member and Honor Roll
California Classified Employee of the Year Award
California Community Colleges Classified Employees of the Year
Activist of the Year Award
Humanitarian of the Year Award
The Walter H. Blice Award
The Victory Club Circle of Stars
Membership Unity Program & Award
Recognizing Inspirational School Employees (RISE) Award