By CHERYL SCHWEIZER, For the Basin Business Journal
QUINCY — A scholarship recipient, a supporter of farmworker education and a fruit warehouse that provides scholarships for its employees and their families received the Volunteer of the Year awards given by the Washington Apple Education Foundation. The foundation held its sixth annual Volunteer Appreciation Breakfast Sept. 12 at Cave B Inn in Quincy.
[caption id="attachment_2266" align="alignright" width="300"] Courtesy photo - The crew from Washington Fruit and Produce receives the Company Volunteer of the Year award from Washington Apple Education Foundation director Jennifer Witherbee (second from left).[/caption]
Xochitl Velazquez, Wenatchee, was the recipient of the Alumni Volunteer of the Year award; Wenatchee banker Steve Clive received the Volunteer of the Year award. Washington Fruit and Produce, Yakima, was the recipient of the Volunteer Company of the Year.
Clive is vice-president of the Washington Trust Bank in Wenatchee and a former apple foundation board chair. He’s still involved with the foundation as part of its farmworker education and audit committees. “Four years ago when WAEF began student workshops, Clive suggested budgeting as a topic and volunteered to lead the session,” wrote Jennifer Witherbee, foundation executive director.
Velazquez is a 2009 WAEF scholarship recipient, and became a volunteer for foundation activities while receiving her masters degree from Gonzaga University.She was part of the foundation’s fundraising team in the annual Bloomsday race. She stayed active after moving back to Wenatchee and is “a regular volunteer at the student holiday dinner and serves on thescholarship committee.”
She’s also volunteered for foundation activities like scholarship workshops and dinners, and in assembling the “care packages” sent to scholarship recipients each year.
[caption id="attachment_2267" align="alignleft" width="300"] Courtesy photo - Steve Clive (right) accepts the Volunteer of the Year award from the Apple Education Foundation director Jennifer Witherbee.[/caption]
Washington Fruit and Produce established a scholarship for employees and their families through the foundation eight years ago, Witherbee said. About 130 students have received scholarships through the program. In addition, the company’s owners, employees and family members are active in a number of foundation activities. “Washington Fruit and 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 membership, shared their industry experience on film and through an intern event and spoke at the scholarship celebration luncheon.”
Traditionally the volunteer recognition breakfast includes a scholarship recipient as speaker, and in 2018 the speaker was Oscar Ramirez, senior at Eastern WashingtonUniversity. Ramirez said the support he has received over the years has provided
him with important support and helped him focus on school. “When you surround yourself with the right type of people, you can achieve anything in this world.”
The foundation is “the charity of the tree fruit industry,” Witherbee wrote. “Its mission is to impact lives through access to educational opportunities.”
[caption id="attachment_2269" align="alignnone" width="300"] Courtesy photo - Xochitl Velazquez (center, pictured with her parents) received the Alumni Volunteer of the Year award at the recent Apple Education Foundation volunteer appreciation breakfast.[/caption]