2018 Volunteers of the Year Announced!

WAEF relies on nearly 200 volunteers annually to make the work of the foundation possible. A major outcome of that work this year included the awarding of $1.1 million in scholarships to a group of 310 students. To recognize and honor the volunteers that give their time and talent to ensuring the success of students and the tree fruit industry's charity, the 6th annual Volunteer Recognition Breakfast occurred this week in Quincy.

Just over 30 volunteers attended the recognition breakfast. Members present were involved by sending care packages, serving on audit, investment, strategic planning, student stewardship and scholarship selection committees, membership on the WAEF board of directors, judging the Year of the Apple art contest, serving as an official of the annual NCW Spelling Bee hosted by WAEF, providing student mentorship and career advising, hosting career tours and other student development events, presenting at student summer workshops and other avenues to help student achieve their potentials and WAEF to live up to its role as the charity of the tree fruit industry.

Annually three volunteers are honored for their exceptional service to the foundation's efforts to impact lives through access to educational opportunities.


Xochitl (Right) enjoying her time spent with waef students at the holiday lunch in wenatchee!

Xochitl (Right) enjoying her time spent with waef students at the holiday lunch in wenatchee!

Alumni Volunteer of the Year: Xochitl Velazquez

 Xochitl became a WAEF scholarship recipient in 2009 following her graduation from Eastmont and Wenatchee Valley College as a running start student. She attended Gonzaga University receiving a degree in business administration.

 Xochitl's volunteer activities began with WAEF when she was completing her masters at Gonzaga University. Xochitl was one of our first and one of our most consistent members of Team WAEF at Bloomsday, our fundraising team that ran/walk Bloomsday to raise money for scholarships. 

Xochitl was one of our very first student speakers at the scholarship luncheon sharing about her involvement with WAEF and the impact scholarships had on her life.  

 When Xochitl returned to Wenatchee, she sought out ways to be involved with WAEF. Since her return, Xochitl is one of our regular volunteers at the student holiday dinner and on the scholarship selection committee, this year becoming one of our adventurous first-year members of the renewal committee. Xochitl has also helped with regional dinners, summer workshops and led her group at Cashmere Valley Bank to participate in care packages.

jennifer witherbee and steve clive

jennifer witherbee and steve clive

Individual Volunteer of the Year: Steve Clive

Steve's involvement with WAEF began over 15 years ago when he was tapped to help with our annual golf tournaments. Later that evolved into board service and Steve was chairman of the board in 2010.  

After his board term concluded, Steve became a member of the WAEF Counselors Roundtable. Roundtable membership consists of former officers of WAEF and others that have made significant contributions to the organization through governance and service.

 Steve also continues to serve on our Farmworker Education and audit committees. The Farmworker Education committee's job includes reviewing grant applications and making site visits. Steve has furthered his role by assisting grant recipients with goal setting and assessments. This spring he demonstrated his commitment was in sickness and health when he spoke at the farmworker forum about bench marking while nearly dizzy from illness.  

 Four years ago when WAEF began student workshops, Steve suggested budgeting as a topic for the student workshops and volunteered to lead the session. Consistently this has been one of our top sessions and is annually offered to incoming freshmen. Student comments frequently also include how much they appreciate how Steve relates to them and makes the session interesting.

 Steve is a vice-president at Washington Trust Bank. Members of the bank attended the recognition breakfast to show their support of his efforts. 

Washington fruit and produce volunteers (from left) dan plath, rolando martin, cody lariviere, trent fuller, teresa pritchard, lisa plath and nate rubio

Washington fruit and produce volunteers
(from left) dan plath, rolando martin, cody lariviere, trent fuller, teresa pritchard, lisa plath and nate rubio

Volunteer Organization of the year: Washington Fruit & Produce

Washington Fruit & Produce Company committed several years ago to making a difference to the children of their employees through college access. Their financial gifts to students through WAEF have been life changing for nearly 130 students that have received multi-year scholarships over the last 8 years.  

Also extremely impactful has been the involvement of many Washington Fruit & Produce employees and family members in volunteer efforts.  In 2018, 17 employees and family members of Washington Fruit & Produce volunteered with WAEF in various areas, three were involved as both Washington Fruit & Produce employees and also WAEF alumni.  

Washington Fruit & Produce volunteers were members of the scholarship selection, farmworker education, student stewardship, resource development, investment and strategic planning committees, served on the WAEF board of directors, provided student resume reviews, hosted career exploration tours, sent care packages, provided student guidance and mentorship, shared about their industry experience on film and through an intern event, and spoke at the scholarship celebration luncheon.  Our special thanks to Rick & Lisa Plath, Cliff & Janie Plath, Dan Plath, Frank Davis, Rolando Martin, Nick Plath, Nate Rubio, Teresa Pritchard, Trent Fuller, Jeff Nordstrom, Bryan Mains, Cody LaRiviere, Mike Hanks and Jesus Rodriguez.

Guests at the breakfast were treated to a special presentation from WAEF scholarship recipient Oscar Ramirez, a senior at Eastern Washington University. Oscar shared the impact of the financial and emotional support of those involved with WAEF saying, "Being a scholarship recipient of this organization, I have no reason to fail. I refocus every time I receive a care package, I feel inspired every time I network, and I feel connected every time I attend a WAEF event. When you surround yourself with the right type of people, you can achieve anything in this world."


Thank you to all the volunteers that give your time, expertise and care for a very special group of students!