The first time Terry Walker volunteered in La Cañada Flintridge was three decades ago, when she pitched in for the annual Children's Horse Show benefiting Huntington Memorial Hospital.
Since then, Walker has shepherded Boy Scouts on their local adventures, served for three years as president of the La Cañada Chamber of Commerce, and kept an eye on school finances as a member La Cañada Unified School District's budget oversight committee.
Soon Walker will be asked to do something she hasn't before: allow the Kiwanis Club of La Cañada to honor her as the 52nd La Cañadan of the Year.
Walker said she's happy to receive the honor, but added she has done only what any La Cañadan would do.
“I didn't think, and I still don't think, I was doing anything special,” Walker said of her years of volunteerism. “I was just doing what everybody in La Cañada does, and that's give back to their community.”
Walker will be honored at a special meeting of the Kiwanis Club on May 2 at Descanso Gardens.
A La Cañada resident for 31 years, Walker said she got involved with the chamber when she was working for the Allen Lund Co., a freight and transportation firm that has its corporate headquarters in town.
She retired two years ago to work at the La Cañada Pet Clinic, which is run by her husband, Woody Walker.
Nick Berkuta, chair of the Kiwanis Club's selection committee, said it took three weeks for the committee to assess all the candidates. Nominations come from past winners and leaders of community organizations.
Berkuta said one of the best aspects about the process is discovering residents like Walker, people who aren't Kiwanis members, but who are making a difference.
“We find that we had people who we knew little of, because they're big in their circles and not necessarily big in ours, and it brings these people to light,” he said.
Added Walker: “I've lived in the town 31 years now and watched many wonderful people get this award before me, so it's really an honor and a privilege to be among such a group of dedicated La Cañadans.”