YMCA of the Foothills volunteers are honored

Jerry Martin and Wes Seastrom — two longtime community volunteers — were honored last week at a dinner hosted by YMCA of the Foothills.

Martin received the Pat Aho Volunteer of the Year Award, while Seastrom won the President's Call to Service Award. More than 70 people attended the event at La Cañada Flintridge's Thursday Club on April 25, including Y staff, board members and students involved in the organization's Youth & Government Program.

The Pat Aho award, established in 1989, recognizes Y volunteers and is named after a former staff member and volunteer of the organization.

Elena Ksendzov, chief financial officer of YMCA of the Foothills, introduced Martin, a former La Cañada Flintridge city councilman. He has also served on the boards of the La Cañada Flintridge Tournament of Roses Association and the YMCA of the Foothills.

Ksendzov said she asked people in the community to describe Martin. They painted him as a knowledgeable, considerate, humble and passionate man, she said.

"Jerry is amazing," said Ksendzov. "He participates in every single event. Whatever it is, Jerry is there."

Martin said he started going to YMCA centers at the age of 12, when he lived in Seattle. Most of his friends were Cub Scouts at the time, he said, but he wanted to do something different.

"I didn't want to be a scout, so my dad said, 'Why don't you go to the YMCA?'" he recalled.

Martin said serving on the board since 2006 has been a "marvelous experience."

"They're really a dedicated group of people," he said.

Seastrom is the current chairman of the La Cañada Flintridge Chamber of Commerce. He was a member for eight years on the city's Public Safety Commission and joined the YMCA board in 2005.

Terry Walker, a current planning commissioner, called Seastrom the "nicest man in La Cañada."

Last fall, Walker went on a trip to Africa with Seastrom and their respective spouses. Usually, she said, you learn about someone on a trip abroad.

"But you know, I really didn't learn that much about Wes," she said. "In fact, all that did for me was reinforce what I already knew, and that is he is the most kind, thoughtful, caring people on the face on this Earth and he would do anything for family, friends and for community."

Walker said he has been instrumental in rounding up new volunteers.

Seastrom said he was humbled and surprised to receive the award. "When I look around, there are around 20 people that deserve this award as much or maybe more than I do."

Chamber President Pat Anderson also lauded Seastrom during the ceremony, calling him a dedicated leader.

Other Y volunteers who were recognized were Annie Bolding, Ryan Thomas, Michael Breeden, Cyrus Haghighian, Vanessa Havakian, Mary Lineberger and Lillian Alden, who each volunteered at least 100 hours.


Follow Tiffany Kelly on Google+ and on Twitter: @LATiffanyKelly.

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