VENTURA : Volunteer Lauded for Years of City Work

Ventura resident Maxine Culp wouldn't want to exaggerate the amount of time each week she volunteers at City Hall.

"I figure it averages out to about four hours per week," she said.

But Ventura city charts show that Culp, 71, has logged more than 4,000 hours of volunteer work since she began offering her help about 10 years ago--more hours than any other citizen. Last week, Mayor Tom Buford gave her an award in gratitude for the time she has donated to the city.

"I feel like I owe the city a debt," she explained of the record, which includes many senior-related activities and organizations. "The city does a lot for us that we don't pay for. Plus, I also feel like I am doing something for myself."

Culp is a former member of the California Senior Assembly, which lobbies the Legislature on senior issues. She also has been active in the city's senior recreation programs and the Ventura Avenue Senior-Adult Center.

"To me, she epitomizes what a volunteer is," said Lynda Frey, a former senior services supervisor for Ventura's recreation division. They worked together for five years, until Frey became city water conservation coordinator.

"She throws herself into projects, gives of herself unstintingly and just doesn't give up," Frey said of Culp. "She pounds doors and asks for money and donations. She'll go after anything."

Frey and Councilman Gary Tuttle say the library on Ventura Avenue might be closed if Culp had not helped the Save the Avenue Library campaign with such zest.

"It was people like her that made the campaign successful," Tuttle said.

Culp, he said, is a true community leader. "We have a lot of Maxine Culps in the city," he said, "but I wish we had a whole lot more."

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