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Humanitarian Awards of 2019

The Humanitarian Awards of 2019 were presented on the Sunday before Thanksgiving by the Interfaith Council of Murrieta & Temecula Valley at their annual Night of Gratitude, held at the Temecula United Methodist Church. The concept of the Humanitarian Award was brought to fruition by Barbara Matthews Scott, who each year solicits nominations from all the faith organizations in IFC membership, as well as from the public.

The winner of this year’s individual award was Ken Nordstrom, a member of the Temecula Valley Elks Lodge, Boy Scouts of America, and Grace Presbyterian Church, whose pastor Neal Neuenschwander nominated him for the honor.

In nominating Ken, Pastor Neal said: “Ken demonstrates the IFC values of compassion, support, dialogue, and respect. Ken has been serving our community in many and varied ways for decades, active in the Boy Scouts, the Elks Club, the Temecula food pantry, and the church.

“Ken is the chair of our missions committee at Grace Presbyterian. Thus, he spearheads countless humanitarian projects, including the Christmas Shoe Boxes (for underprivileged children overseas), the Temecula TEAM ministry (to benefit homeless residents), the annual soup supper that benefits Habitat for Humanity, the annual VBS drive to support the Heiffer Project, and the ‘Scouting for Food’ program of Troop 384. For many years, Ken headed a team of volunteers from the church who provided used furniture to the families of Marines stationed at Camp Pendleton. He also led several church teams to support a ‘gleaning’ program on the big farms of central California and the building program of an orphanage in Tecate, Mexico.

“When Ken is not working on an ‘official’ mission project, he teaches Sunday School to our children and taxies our seniors to and from their parking spots in a golf cart. Then, he takes quilts (sewn by his wife) to the children at Rady hospital. He is a big supporter of Rancho Damacitas (serving unwed mothers) and Camp Alandale, (serving abused and neglected children in their middle and high school years).

Ken is also a lot of fun. He loves to serve as a DJ for community dances and social gatherings—particularly those that are raising money for the poor. He has also served as an auctioneer for a number of charity benefits through the years. With rare exceptions, Ken knows the leader of every social service agency in town, and he has worked with most of them at some point in the past.

“In short, the breadth and depth of Ken’s commitment to humanitarian causes in our city is truly remarkable. So is his cheerful attitude. Ken Nordstrom is an inspiration to us all.” The winner of this year’s Humanitarian Business Award is Signs by Tomorrow, owner Keith Randall, nominated by IFC member Craig Smedley. Craig says: “Keith Randall and his business Signs by Tomorrow exemplifies the IFC values of generosity, service to the community, and The Golden Rule. I was first made aware of Keith’s generosity when I was looking for signs for an Eagle Project in 2013, followed by signs for cub scouts and other banners. Keith has given back to his community since he opened his doors 33 years ago (1986) by donating labor and materials needed for signs for golf tournaments, funerals, church activities, Scouts, Chamber of Commerce functions, family projects/reunions and many more. He also considers his employees in his decisions and finds ways to keep them busy and happy.”

The Interfaith Council was honored to present each recipient with a beautiful engraved crystal award donated by Steve Butterworth of Fallbrook Awards. The IFC meets on the second Tuesday of every month at Miller-Jones Mortuary, 26855 Jefferson Ave., Murrieta, from noon to 1:30 pm. New members and guests are always welcome. The next meeting will be held on January 8, 2020.