D.A.P. honors the dedication of its volunteers

“Whether you work at the reception desk at D.A.P., at one of our five Revivals stores, or in any of the many other jobs our wonderful volunteers do for us, the contribution that each of you makes is so important to us,” said David Brinkman, Executive Director of Desert AIDS Project, to the 400 volunteers and guests gathered for D.A.P.’s annual Volunteer Appreciation Dinner on December 17 at the Wyndham Palm Springs.

And what a contribution those dozens of volunteers have made this year, as in so many years before, to D.A.P. “If we had to pay the salaries and benefits for the hours you all gave us in the last year, D.A.P. would have had to add another $600,000 to our budget,” said Brinkman. “Everyone in this room tonight has helped us to continue minimizing our expenses in offering care, prevention, and advocacy services for those infected with, affected by, or at-risk for HIV and AIDS.”

Curt Ringness, President of D.A.P.’s volunteer Board of Directors, added, “In the past few months, we have expanded our medical clinic, opened a dental clinic and a new community center, and weathered the challenges of a weaker economy. Everyone in this room is no small part of helping to make all of that happen.”

This was the first year that any volunteer accumulated a total of 10,000 hours of service – and Louis Barbo did it in a big way by putting in 2,000 unpaid hours in the last year alone. But Barbo’s 2,000 hours during the last year were matched by Roman Monroy who reached 8,000 total hours of volunteer service.

Ken Blochowski, Chairman of D.A.P.’s Client Committee, and Ken Behrens, Volunteer coordinator for the Revivals stores, also spoke during the program, adding their thanks for the contributions of the various volunteer programs throughout 2008. Volunteer group Stitch in Time arranged the table centerpieces, designed by group member Rick Draughon. The dining room was decorated with a holiday theme including centerpieces featuring evergreen and red anthyriums.

The evening was hosted by Hudson Alling, Volunteer Services Associate, who extended D.A.P.’s appreciation to the Wyndham Palm Springs Hotel for their partnership with this event since 2001, extending a special thanks to Joe McDonough and his staff.

Desert AIDS Project is the organization in our community where people living with HIV and AIDS can receive comprehensive support, including medical care, case management, and social services. D.A.P. also offers free and confidential HIV testing at a number of locations and widespread education and prevention services for schools, civic organizations, businesses, churches, and health organizations throughout the communities it serves. For more information, visit www.desertaidsproject.org or call 760-323-2118.