December 13, 2017

Stacy Sledge Honored as County Volunteer of the Year

 

The Texas transplant has logged 5,000 volunteer hours for Topanga and is only getting started.

If there is anything that needs to be done in Topanga, just talk to Stacy Sledge.

Currently in her second term as president of the Town Council, she is involved in just about anything and everything to help out in her adopted town.

PHOTO BY SCOTT HARMS

Stacy Sledge Honored as County Volunteer of the Year

Sup. Zev Yarloslavsky and Stacy Sledge at the 2010 Volunteer of the Year Recognition and Awards Luncheon at the Music Center on April 12.



Stacy is a member of the County’s Topanga Emergency Planning Project Steering Committee and continues to serve on the emergency management task force, the group responsible for the Topanga Survival Guide, available online at www.topangasurvival.org

Under her leadership Stacy helped create the Topanga Resident Access Card, which allows residents easier re-entry to their homes during or after a disaster.

Stacy is also a member of the Canyon Sages Committee, a newly formed group that serves seniors; she leads the Council’s Graffiti Patrol; and is spearheading a new community-based Topanga website.

As if that weren’t enough, she also serves on the Sheriff’s Community Advisory Committee and on Arson Watch, the group that monitors the Canyon during red flag alerts.

Which is why Stacy was chosen to be the 2010 Board of Supervisors Third District Honoree and awarded with a plaque at a luncheon on Monday, April 12, at the Los Angles Music Center.

Volunteers Build Bridges

The County Volunteer Program, created in 1981 on a motion by Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich, encourages citizens, employees and retirees to volunteer their time and talents to public service programs.

“Volunteers Build Bridges” was the theme as the County of Los Angeles awarded plaques and commendations to 71 youth and adult honorees during the 28th annual observance of National Volunteer Week as proclaimed by the President of the United States.

The special designation honors the outstanding contributions of residents to community-based agencies, non-profit organizations, neighborhood projects, and local government.

According to the county, last year, 37,654 individuals donated more than 2.7 million hours to a wide range of County programs that benefit the community.

The Independent Sector, a national organization, establishes rates to determine the value of volunteer hours. Using these rates, they calculated the value of County volunteer service hours to be $55.1 million dollars.

One might say the value of volunteers like Stacy is priceless.

Almost from the moment she and her husband, Vince, moved to Topanga in 2000, Stacy jumped in with both feet and grew to become a “super volunteer.”

“Stacy and I met six years ago when she convinced me to join the Topanga Town Council,” said Rebecca Goldfarb-Duggal of the Neighborhood Networks. “Since then we have worked together on all of our volunteer projects — the Town Council, T-CEP, Arson Watch and CERT.”

“I am so glad she got that award, Stacy is amazing,” said Pat MacNeil of T-CEP. MacNeil mentored Stacy in the Emergency Operations Center for T-CEP.

Michele Johnson, who works in PR for T-CEP and another super volunteer in her own right, offers her thoughts on what makes Stacy stand out in Topanga.

“I think Stacy is a remarkable person, a natural leader,” Johnson wrote in a recent Messenger article. “She dusted off a fairly moribund Town Council, and with Rebecca Goldfarb-Duggal’s help, breathed life into it.”

But there is more to Stacy Sledge, who always sees things a little differently.

“These awards are very special and I must say that this kind of recognition is great, but I really enjoyed wearing the Smokey the Bear costume two years ago at Earth Day to save Topanga State Park,” she said. “No one knew who I was but I was interviewed on TV, and stressed how important it was to keep the park open. It was fun, kooky and I got to be a kid.”

A True Texas Gal

Perhaps the source of her being a Topanga super volunteer was her growing up loving football in San Antonio, Texas.

“I was the first girl to play football at Garner Junior High School,” she laughed. “I was bigger than most of the boys and played quarterback like Roger Staubach of the Dallas Cowboys.”

But they wouldn’t let her play football at Macarthur High School, so she became a cheerleader. She also joined a musical group, The Sound Foundation, that toured the Soviet Union. Naturally, Stacy also became Miss Teen Optimist of San Antonio.

“No matter how bad it gets, I can always find a way to make it better,” she said.

After winning the Miss Butter Crust contest, she earned a degree in education and communications at North Texas University and later became the co-host and associate producer for “All Pro 78” in Dallas, Texas. She also began a career in various areas of production work before turning her attention to California.

“I always said, the greatest commodities that come out of Texas are oil, football and beautiful women,” she laughed.

Well, two out of three ain’t bad.

Topanga Transplant

Sledge said that she fell in love with Topanga when they visited friends in 1983 and ate at the Inn of the Seventh Ray.

“The creek looked just like my backyard in San Antonio,” she remarked to her friends. “I told myself someday we would live here, I just fell in love with the place, but it wasn’t until 2000 that we could make the move.”

Super Volunteer

Almost after settling in to Topanga, Stacy set about finding ways to connect with the community.

“Jack MacNeil came to survey my property when I was in escrow. I asked him how I could get involved with the community and he gave me the -3000 number for the Town Council,” she recalled. “After one meeting, I was hooked. The Town Council led to other volunteer activities; I told Pat [Mac Neil] that I suffer from the inability to say ‘No’ to anything.”

But while Stacy was busy racking up 5,000 volunteer hours in the community, she also had a host of personal obligations to take care of, one of them being the full time care of her husband, Vince, who suffered brain damage after an accident.

“We all have full-time jobs and mine is managing Vince’s care. We fired the case manager, so the State is paying me to care for him,” she said. “Can you imagine anything worse than to have your husband become a five-year-old at the age of 34? But we found other ways to make it better so we can live with it.”

Stacy also runs a mail-stuffing service, Cock A Doodle Do, that hires seniors, students and the homeless to assemble mass mailings for non-profits. In fact, they just finished assembling the 3,000 letters and workbooks for Topanga Safety Week for the upcoming May 1 safety drill.

“After 3,000 mailings, I need a massage and a manicure,” Stacy laughed. “This is a busy, busy time of year, what with the 2010 Census, the State Park initiative, the May 1 Drill, the Task force stuff, the Town Council Community Calendar on the new website, the Topanga access card, and I am organizing a memorial for Vic [Richards]. I have a lot on my plate and if anyone wants to help, e-mail me at ssledge@verizon.net.”

As always, Stacy takes it all in stride and encourages others to join in with their community.

“Not everybody has to be a super volunteer,” Stacy said. “What Topanga can really use is a large number of people who can put in a certain number of hours out of the year, not hours out of the day. It might be that you can help with the fireman’s chili dinner one night a year, but it makes it possible to have the event.”

Stacy said everything adds up and makes a difference.

“Stacy is absolutely amazing,” Goldfarb-Duggal said. “She inspires everyone around her to get things done for Topanga, with excellence and love for our community.”