Ben's Bells Project

Ben's Bells promote kindness and community.

Every Friday morning at 8:30 the Morning Mix teams up with the Ben's Bells Project to salute a person who betters Tucson! Each weekly recipient is "belled" (and joyfully celebrated!) as a unique individual who shares their kindness with our community. Visit bensbells.org or call 628-2829 to nominate a special person you feel should be recognized for their kindness and caring.

  • Meet Marty Bourbeau, an employee at the Dusenberry-River LIbrary, and this week's Ben's Bellee! Nominated by her coworker, Dianna Thor, for her quick thinking and action in coming to the aid of a library patron who collapsed of an apparent heart attack. Marty saved the day and the woman’s life, literally, by administering chest compression CPR until Rural Metro crew were able to arrive and take over. The next day the husband returned with flowers for Marty and relayed that the doctor had confirmed the woman would not have survived without Marty’s quick and competent action. Photo by Jeannette Maré of (from left to right) Dianna Thor, Helene Woodhams, Marty Bourbeau, Nancy Lowe and Gene Lowe.

  • Meet Marsha Thrall, this week's Ben's Bellee! Marsha was nominated by April DuBoce, a recent above knee amputee. During a recent physical therapy appointment, Alice was feeling frustrated. Marsha came over and found out that April's medicare only pays for 30 visits and she was on her last one. Marsha immediately hugged April and said she was going to pay for her to be seen until the end of the year. April and Marsha did not previously know each other, only seeing one another each week at the clinic. Photo by Jeannette Maré for Ben's Bells

  • Meet Ellie Abraham, managing director of Corona Cares, a voluntarily run Neighborhood Alliance Program working in partnership with the Pima Council on Aging providing direct support to the elderly community of Corona de Tucson, and this week's Ben's Bellee. Ellie was nominated by Gregg Barnes, a volunteer and Corona Cares Board President, for being a highly respected and compassionate leader, opening her home to support Corona Cares, managing 25 volunteers and coordinating every client's request. Photo by Cassie Williams of Ellie Abraham (center, back row with Ben's Bell) volunteers with Corona Cares and members of the Corona de Tucson Fire Department for Ben's Bellings.

  • Meet Jim Krauss, this week's Ben's Bellee! Jim was nominated by his neighbor, Grace Kumar, for having the biggest heart and always being ready to share his kindness. Jim takes daily walks to roll neighbors garbage and recycle bins, picks up newspapers to get them closer to everyone, sweeps side walks, trims plants when he sees they need a little trimming, and visits many older friends ready to fill them up with joy and laughter. From Jim, Grace's family has learned that "Time is the best gift you can give anyone" and that the ten most powerful two letter words are "If it is to be, it is up to me." Photo by David Nieto of Jim Krauss (center with 'be kind' shirt, holding Ben's Bell), Grace Kumar (in black shirt next to Jim) and neighbors for Ben's Bellings.

  • Meet Michelle Morden, a special needs teacher at Miles, and this week's Ben's Bellee. Michelle was nominated by Patty Mitchell for her incredible kindness as a teacher. In Michelle's job she goes above what a classroom teacher would be expected to do. She becomes an extension to the families to the community and the school. She makes sure all of her students and their families have what they need. Students that don't have clothes or personal need products she supplies or finds others that can help. She oozes kindness especially to her students and their families. Photo by Jeannette Maré of Michelle Morden (back row holding Ben's Bell), Patty Mitchell (in turquoise shirt next to Michelle) and students at Miles.

  • Meet Shylo Sanchez, a VIP Pet Volunteer with the Humane Society of Southern Arizona, and this week's Ben's Bellee. Shylo was nominated by Gina Hansen, her volunteer coordinator, for Shylo's work in the community with her therapy dogs, Gunner and Shamu. No matter what is going on, Shylo is dependable, quick to bring a smile to others and brings the joy of pet therapy to the Tucson community. Photo by Samantha Esquivel of Shylo Sanchez (center, holding Ben's Bell), Gina Hansen (to the left of Shylo, holding a dog), staff and volunteers at the Humane Society of Southern Arizona.

  • Meet Erin Schmidt, this week's Ben's Bellee! Erin was nominated by her former co-workers for her outstanding contributions to the Tucson community. Erin is a certified foster parent, as well as a volunteer with BARK, fostering puppies and their mothers. She has supported individuals affected by sexual assault by volunteering with SACASA and held a diaper drive bringing in over 3,000 diapers for Tucsonans in need Photo by Cassie Williams of (from left to right) Cindy Bieger, Erin Schmidt and Michael Clark for Ben's Bellings.

  • Meet Steve Seidl of Merle's Automotive and this week's Ben's Bellee! Nominated by Sheila McGinnis, for his years of volunteer work with the University of Arizona’s Annual Charitable Event. Steve donates supplies for breakfast and lunch and provides the volunteers with a delicious bbq meal while they serve. Rain or shine, Steve has not missed this event in the past five years, often being the first to arrive and set up with a smile on his face. Photo by Cassie Williams of Gerrick Provencio (UA), Steve Seidl (Merle’s Automotive), Sheila McGinnis (UA), Randy Livingston (UA), Kathi Hart (UA), Richard Mattiussi (Merle’s Automotive), and Carolyn

  • Meet Barbara Eiswerth, founder of Iskashitaa Refugee Network, and this week's Ben's Bellee. Nominated by volunteer, Gina Gresham, for her vision and leadership since creating Iskashitaa in 2003. Iskashitaa is primarily a harvesting program that gleans excess produce from local farms and backyards and then distributes it to refugee families and volunteers. Gina remarks that Barbara is a truly brilliant woman who is at once compassionate and strong-willed, and who cares deeply for her clients and coworkers. Photo by Cassie Williams of Barbara Eiswerth (center, holding Ben's Bell), Gina Gresham (to Barbara's left in tan dress), staff, board members, volunteers and supporters of Iskashitaa.

  • Meet Hugh Ward, a volunteer at Community Home Repair, and this week's Ben's Bellee, nominated by Scott Coverdale, the director of Community Home Repair. Hugh has volunteered with Community Home Repair for the past 4 years, volunteering 4 days a week utilizing his carpentry skills to build adaptations for the elderly and people with disabilities. When he is not volunteering, he is usually repairing something for a neighbor or visiting someone who is home-bound. Photo by Jeannette Maré of Hugh Ward (front row, holding Ben's Bell), Scott Coverdale, Director of Community Home Repair (behind Hugh's right shoulder) and staff and volunteers at Community Home Repai

  • Meet Johnny Carrasco, an office support specialist at the Pima County Legal Defender's Office, and this week's Ben's Bellee! Nominated by his coworker Helen Gonzales, who remarks that Johnny treats clients and visitors with respect, regardless of their position in life. He shows great compassion for and has a calming influence on people in stressful situations. Without fail, whenever the elevator doors open on the 8th Floor of the Legal Services Building, Johnny greets the elevator’s occupants with a hearty wave or greeting. Photo by Jeannette Maré of Johnny Carrasco (center holding Ben's Bell) and staff members of the Pima County Legal Defender's Office.

  • Meet Rachel Vega, a team leader at Cope Community Services' Coady Clinic, and this week's Ben's Bellee! Nominated by Charlotte Bennett, a former coworker, who remarks that Rachel is a constant source of inspiration for her coworkers and clients. Rachel maintains a positive attitude and always goes the extra mile, taking the time to recognize achievements, small and large. Photo by René Pacheco of Rachel Vega (center, holding Ben's Bell) and staff at Cope Community Services Coady Clinic.

  • Meet Diana Vargas Villa, an art instructor at the Southern Arizona Association for the Visually Impaired (SAAVI) and this week's Ben's Bellee. Nominated by Judith Schneider, a volunteer, for her ability to teach with with love, patience, skill, imagination, adaptations and integrity. Photo by Jeannette Maré of Diana Vargas Villa (center, holding Ben's Bell), Judith Schneider (far left, back row) and students of Diana's SAAVI art class.

  • Meet Dr. Dale Woolridge, chief medical examiner with the Southern Arizona Children's Advocacy Center and this week's Ben's Bellee! Nominated by Grace Kelley for the care and compassion he shows abused and neglected children in our community - making sure each one of them feels safe. Photo by Jeannette Maré of Dr. Dale Woolridge (center, holding Ben's Bells), and members of the Southern Arizona Children's Advocacy Center for Ben's Bells.

  • Meet Georgia Ehlers this week's Ben's Bellee! Nominated by Cameron Price for her work with the U of A Peace Corps Fellows Program. Georgia provides support to over 50 Graduate Student Fellows at the U of A. Price venerated Georgia's role, stating, "We'd be lost without her." Photo by Jeannette Maré of from L to R: Cameron Price, Jeannette Maré, Georgia Ehlers, Jodi Vander Ploeg

  • Meet Anita Brennan & the staff at Curves on E. Tanque Verde - this week's Ben's Bellee. Nominated by Evelyn Fretz for the care they provide her mother, Claire Theriot. Evelyn was in search of a fitness center that would provide Claire the support she needed to regain strength in her legs. Anita and the caring staff offered to stay with Claire throughout her exercise circuits, providing ongoing encouragement to her. Photo by Jeannette Maré of from L to R - Anita Brennan, Octavia Hancock, Evelyn Fretz, Silvia Vasquez and, in front, Claire Theriot

  • Meet Rosario Medina, an employee at Whataburger on River & LaCanada, and this week's Ben's Bellee. Rosario was nominated by Michelle Spano, a longtime customer, for always making a point to say hello, wave or provide a smile no matter how busy he might be. Photo by Jeannette Maré of (From L to R) Michelle Spano, Rosario Medina, Bernie Corrales, Leo Lara, Nikki McNeal and Alberto Caperon for Ben's Bellings.

  • Meet Cathy Ramirez, administrative assistant at Mexicayotl Academy, and this week's Ben's Bellee. Cathy willingly ministers student injuries, provides a counseling ear to parents, feeds and cleans the school's resident animals, and always wears a smile. Students see her as a role model to follow and from whom to learn. Photo by Jeannette Maré of Cathy Ramirez (center, wearing black and holding Ben's Bell), Lina Susee (standing behind Cathy with arm on her shoulder) and students at Mexicayotl Academy for Ben's Belli

  • Meet Michelle Hamilton, a Radiation Therapy Technologist at Arizona Institute of Urology, and this week's Ben's Bellee. Michelle goes out of her way to make all her patients feel special. When a patient begins treatment, she finds out what their hobbies, vacations aspirations, and interests are. Then, she finds pictures to create a collage to give them when they complete their treatments. Photo by Jeannette Maré of Michelle Hamilton (center holding Ben's Bell), Dale Hefner (right of Michelle) and staff at the Arizona Institute of Urology for Ben's Bellings.

  • Meet Trent Rowley of University of Pest Control, and this week's Ben's Bellee. In 2013 Trent collected 28,368 diapers and over $2000.00 in cash making him one of the Diaper Bank of Southern Arizona's largest individual donors. Trent was nominated by Lisa High who learned about his diaper drives from her mother, one of Trent's pest control customers. Photo of Trent Rowley (center back row with Ben's Bell), Lisa High (to the right of Trent), Jeannette Maré, Bobby Rich and members of the Diaper Bank of Southern Arizona staff and volunteers.

  • Meet Dr. Scott Wilson, this week's Ben's Bellee. Scott started a hepatitis C treatment clinic in May, 2003 at El Rio Health Center because he wanted to improve care for those disproportionately affected by this disease. Dr. Wilson travels to satellites of El Rio to treat homeless patients or others who have trouble accessing care with a specialist. Photo by Jeannette Maré of Scott Wilson (center with Ben's Bell), Sandra Leal (to Scott's right) and El Rio Community Health Care Providers for Ben's Bellings.

  • Meet Mary Komadina, a registered nurse for 19 years, and this week's Ben's Bellee! Mary volunteers as champion and mentor for Girls on the Run, as well as volunteering her services at health screenings, geriatric events and annual baby fairs. Those who work with Mary refer to her as “Mary Sunshine” as her smile and positive energy are contagious, and can make others feel better on their worst day. Photo by Jeannette Maré of Mary Komadina (center holding Ben's Bell), Jennifer Petrick (far left in black skirt, lace top) and members of the TMC Clinical Education Team for Ben's Bellings.

  • Meet Linda Lazzeroni, this week's Ben's Bellee! On March 21st, Linda organized a 12 hour long, piano-thon to raise funds for Nikki Landreville, a young woman who was hit by a car on Oracle Road while walking home from work, even though Linda had never met her. Linda also shares her musical talents with senior citizens, and collects prom dresses for youth who are unable to purchase their own. Photo by Jeannette Maré of (from left to right) Meredith Savin, Emily Hopkins, John Lazzeroni, Linda Lazzeroni Becky Cordier, Marnie Smith and Laurie Haskett for Ben's Bellings.

  • Meet Austin Bourn, seven-years-old and this week's Ben's Bellee. Austin was nominated by Desiree and Nick Poire, parents of his classmate, Trinity. Trinity needs a heart transplant and they were raising funds to travel to Columbia University. Austin coordinated a fundraiser in Trinity's honor raising close to $700 on his own for her trip. Photo by Jeannette Maré of Austin Bourn (front row in blue shirt), Trinity Poire (center, holding Ben's Bell) and their family and friends.

  • Meet Daisy Rodriguez Pitel, Advanced Program Manager at Pima Community College, and this week's Ben's Bellee. Daisy was nominated by co-worker, Kyra Wallace, for transforming the student life office at Pima West campus. She motivates students and staff to get involved in campus and community activities, caring about each person she comes into contact with and celebrating diversity on campus. Photo by Jeannette Maré of Daisy Rodriguez Pitel (center behind banner), Kyra Wallace (holding the 'be kind' edge of the banner) and members of the Pima Community College Student Life team.

  • Meet Jan Hitchinson, an active member of the pet therapy community and this week's Ben's Bellee. Recently retired from her position as program manager from Gabriel's Angels (pet therapy for at risk children), Jan has worked and volunteered with her dogs, "Annie" and "Augie," for many years to bring the love of pets to children and people in need. Including mentoring 180+ pet therapy teams active in southern Arizona. Photo by Jeannette Maré of Jan Hitchinson (center with Ben's Bell) and friends for Ben's Bellings.

  • Meet Mimi Lawton, Marie Frontain and Danielle Anderson, special education teachers at Flowing Wells High School and this week's Ben's Bellees, nominated by student teachers Samantha Wince and Dani Tronz. These three teachers go out of their way to assist students and families in any way possible. They are dedicated to helping students live healthy lifestyles, providing opportunities for them to succeed after high school, and focus lessons on the importance of kindness. Photo by Jeannette Maré of Mimi Lawton (center in orange shirt ), Marie Frontain (to Mimi's left in black/white striped shirt), Danielle Anderson (to Mimi's right in green jacket), Samantha Wince (sea

  • Meet Laurie Gaetano, founder of Pima Paws for Life and this week's Ben's Bellee. As a long-time volunteer for shelters, Laurie discovered an unmet need for a safe destination for sick and injured animals to be sheltered and treated until ready for adoption. Laurie worked with a local boarding kennel owner; motivated a dedicated group of volunteers who, alongside her and her constant canine companion Oliver, have worked tirelessly for the past three months to open Pima Paws for Life. Photo by Jeannette Maré of Laurie Gaetano (far left, holding Ben's Bell), Susan Wilson (far right) and volunteers

  • Meet Alfred Urbina, Chief Prosecutor with the Pascua Yaqui Tribe, and this week's Ben's Bellee! In his work, Fred looks for the root cause of what brings people to his office. He is helping pave a path for prevention and intervention programming for youth, and incorporating kindness into diversion programming. Fred treats everyone that he encounters with kindness, dignity, and respect, and is an exceptional leader, friend, and mentor. Photo by Jeannette Maré of Fred Urbina (center holding Ben's Bell), Mercedes Garcia (in pink shirt next to Fred) and members of the Pascua Yaqui Tribe for Ben's Bellings.

  • Meet Sheryl Mahnken, a special education teacher at Ironwood Ridge High School, and this week's Ben's Bellee. Nominated by her coworker, Danita Dawn Heller, who writes that Sheryl always goes the extra mile without want of reward or recognition. Sheryl leads students in kindness through the People Club on campus that supports the local community as well as recognizing and passing on kindness at Ironwood Ridge Photo by Matt Stamp of Sheryl Mahnken (holding Ben's Bells), Danita Dawn Heller (in red next to Sheryl) staff and students at Ironwood Ridge High School for Ben's Bellings.

  • Meet Jan Myren, director of the all volunteer staff of the Senior Kitchen and this week's Ben's Bellee. Jan often buys food and needed items from her own pocket, frequently comes into the building long before daylight to begin cooking, handles most of the shopping on her own time, and has made it her personal responsibility to get acquainted with the seniors who receive hot meals through the Meals on Wheels program, as well as those who come to dine in the Senior Kitchen. (Nominator: Scarlett O'Casey) Photo by Jeannette Maré of (from left to right) Walle Welzien, Brigitte Spuhler, Jan Myren, and Scarlett O'Casey for Ben's Bellings.

  • Meet Larry Trent, this week's Ben's Bellee. For years, Larry has shared his kindness with those in need - providing items, love and concern across the border in Nogales, raising funds to provide toiletries to people living with HIV, and volunteering with local organizations in Tucson. Photo by Jeannette Maré of Larry Trent (in red, holding Ben's Bell), Delle McCormick(in red scarf) and Scott Blades (in light blue on the far left) for Ben's Bellings.

  • Meet the staff of Apollo Middle School, this week's Ben's Bellee! Nominated by their principal, RoseMary Rosas, who says times our tough for families in their area. Recently, they came across a student wearing the only pair of shoes he had, which were in poor condition, and could not afford a new pair. RoseMary emailed staff about the situation and within 24 hours they had 4 pairs of new shoes, 2 bags of socks and enough money to purchase another pair of shoes. RoseMary remarks that her staff is rich in kindness and heart, always coming through to help children in need. Photo by Maria Cota of Apollo Middle School Staff for Ben's Bellings

  • Meet Salon Nouveau, owned by Kathy Alexander, and this week's Ben's Bellee! 6 years ago, Kathryn Deffke was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer and was referred by the American Cancer Society to Salon Nouveau where she could have her head shaved, free of charge. Six years later, the cancer returned, and Kathryn returned to have her head shaved once more. Kathryn nominated Kathy Alexander and the staff of Salon Nouveau for this week's Ben's Bell for quietly and humbly taking care of cancer patients for many years. Photo by Jeannette Maré of Kathryn Deffke (center holding Ben's Bells), nominator, surrounded by Salon Nouveau staff for Ben's Bellings.

  • Meet Ruth Houkam, a Duplicate Bridge player and this week's Ben's Bellee. In 2007, Ruth started Tucson Charity Bridge Club with her Bridge group to raise funds for local charities. They have given over $27,000 to local charities. Ruth directs all the games, is a friend to all the members, and makes sure there are partners for those who need a partner.

  • Meet Della Thompson, a teacher at Agua Caliente Elementary School and this week's Ben's Bellee! Della is a gifted teacher and advocate, much loved by all her students. She helps them achieve their potential by skillfully tailoring instruction to children of all abilities through creative means in the classroom. Della is a founding board member of Echoing Hope Ranch, helping guide the development and opening of a community where teens and adults with autism can be productive in a peaceful, supportive environment.

  • Meet Sharri Cagle, assistant principal secretary at Anza Trail School and this week's Ben's Bellee! Sharri believes a pleasing environment is more conducive to learning and coordinated volunteers and donations from Lowe's to repaint the school's interior as well as building a structure to provide shade and seating for the school community. In addition to her work at Anza Trail, Sharri coordinates fundraisers, starts Cub Scout troops, and mentors youth. Photo by Scott Boone of (left to right) Scott Downs, Clarisa Nido, Sharri Cagle, Sharon Koby and John Fanning for Ben's Bellings.

  • Meet Julie Longstaff, the program coordinator at the John and Doris Norton School of Family and Consumer Sciences at the UA and this week's Ben's Bellee. Nominated by the Council of Alumni and Friends of the Norton School for her vision, knowledge, kindness and willingness to go out of her way to support students, staff & faculty, alumni and the community. Photo by Alexandra Chavarria of Julie Longstaff (center with Ben's Bell) and members of the Council of Alumni and Friends of the John and Doris Norton School of Family and Consumer Sciences for Ben's

  • Meet Mike Motzkin, this week's Ben's Bellee and owner of Pioneer Plumbing. Mike was nominated by John McComb whose daughter, Caroline, is battling cancer, and whose home had a number of plumbing issues. After hearing their story, Mike and the Pioneer Plumbing team gave up their Saturday and re-plumbed the entire house free of charge. Photo by Jeannette Maré of Mike Motzkin (center holding Ben's Bell), John McComb (to the right of Mike) and members of the Pioneer Plumbing team.

  • Meet Carla Garrett, this week's Ben's Bellee and a coach at Salpointe High School. She has chosen to lead the boys she coaches as a role model, leader, and most of all by giving of her time, knowledge, and heart. Her former students come back to see her often and all speak of the tremendous influence she has or had on their lives. Numerous students have considered, enrolled, and completed college and even earned college scholarships because they were pushed, pulled, led, and willed by Coach Garret . Photo by Linda Kirkpatrick of Carla Garrett (center holding Ben's Bell) with members of the Salpointe High School Football Team for Ben's Bellings.

  • Meet Mark Irvin, this week's Ben's Bellee. For more than 20 years, Mark has served on the Board of Directors for The Boys & Girls Clubs of Tucson. He devotes endless hours of his time to The Boys & Girls Clubs of Tucson and does it with kindness, humility and humor, never asking for anything in return. Photo by Jeannette Maré of Mark Irvin (kneeling with Ben's Bell) members of the Board of Directors for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Tucson and friends for Ben's Bellings.

  • Meet Ellen Duperret, a dietician and photographer, and this week's Ben's Bellee. As a dietitian, Ellen has volunteered, providing monthly nutrition support for over 15 years at Clinica de St. Andrews, a volunteer border clinic in Nogales that serves chronically ill and disabled children from Nogales and Northern Mexico. As a photographer, she volunteers with Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep program which provides the gift of remembrance photography for parents who suffer loss of a baby. Photo by Jeannette Maré of Ellen Duperret (center holding Ben's Bell) and friends.

  • Meet Renee Banuelos, the property manager at Nottinghill Apartments where she has dedicated part of her parking lot into a community garden for her tenants and given up one her apartments to be used as an office for Veteran's Services. Renee also takes time to check in with senior citizen residents, and works closely with community agencies in placing new residents at her property. Photo by Jeannette Maré of Renee Banuelos and residents

  • Meet Joe Dimercurio, this week's Ben's Bellee. Every Tuesday & Friday, Joe volunteers at the University of Arizona Cancer Center, bringing dozens of cookies and fruit to patients undergoing chemo treatments. He takes time to visit with patients, and even takes lunch orders. Photo by Jeannette Maré of Joe Dimercurio (center holding Ben's Bell), Emmitt Warner (in yellow shirt next to Joe) and staff and volunteers at the University of Arizona Cancer Center.

  • Meet Doris Walenta, this week's Ben's Bellee. Doris is a pottery teacher at Tucson Parks and Recreation Randolph Center. She builds community by encouraging students to get to know each other, share ideas and help each other. Doris takes students under her wing, no matter what their ability, encouraging openness in their work. Her classroom is a joyful place! Photo by Jeannette Maré of Doris Walenta (center holding Ben's Bell) and Grace Young (right of Doris in flowered shirt) and students for Ben's Bellings

  • Meet Lisette LeCorgne, Lisette has been donating free physicals for the past two years to students in the Exceptional Education program at Lynn/Urquides Elementary School who participate in the Special Olympics. Lisette relates to the students, creating a kind and compassionate space where they can feel comfortable. (left to right) Michelle Wilhelm, Anne Knoop, Ronda Segerman, Lisette LeCorgne (holding Ben's Bell), Emily Gaylord, and Kate Jordan

  • Meet Shelby King, this week's Ben's Bellee. Shelby offers Tucson Summer Music, free summer music lessons to low-income children of Tucson. Offerings include multiple instrument lessons, plus theory, composition, and singing. The teachers are also volunteers. Nominated by Caroline McArthur, whose daughter Maria is a recipient of violin lessons, says they are truly grateful for this opportunity and for Shelby's vision and organization! Photo by Jeannette Maré of (from left to right) Mike King, Becky King, Shelby King (with Ben's Bell), Maria, Caroline McArthur and Kathy Koenig (in back) for Ben's Bellings.

  • Caren Prather, center in blue, a volunteer with the Pima County Office of Emergency Management, holds a Ben's Bell after recieving it from Ben's Bells Project Executive Director Jeannette Mare, far left, on July 22, 2013. Prather volunteers approximately 30 hours every week and travels in her personal car to the classes she teaches, never seeking reimbursement for gas or other expenses. A retired Navy Captain, where she worked as a registered nurse, Prather also holds two Masters Degrees. As a volunteer member of the Arizona Disaster Medical Assistance Team, she has deployed to several national disasters, including Katrina. Pima County Communications

  • Meet BJ Godard. BJ is the Administrative Specialist for the Director's Office at UAMC, nominated for going above and beyond her typical work duties to care for patients and families. BJ has set up weddings for parents of sick/dying children, birthday parties, and high school/college graduations for patients who were not able to attend their special events because they were in the hospital. BJ has helped find wigs, set up spa days, called restaurants to donate food for families and patients, and even secured donated tires for a family's car. Most of all, BJ does everything with a smile, always wanting to keep patients and families as comfortable as possible while they are the guests of UAMC. Photo by Cassie Williams of BJ Godard (center, holding Ben's Bell), Mercedes Saenz (center, kneeling in blue shirt) and coworkers at UAMC for Ben's Bellings.

  • Karen Perez, nominated by Phyllis McIntire, an 84-year old, health challenged widow. When Phyllis' health needs called for extra help, Karen invited Phyllis into her home and for almost 6 years has accepted the responsibilities of monitoring all of Phyllis' needs. In addition to caring for Phyllis, Karen finds time to help other with errands, shopping, and pet sitting. This includes her work with the Poverello House, a site where men in need can shower, wash clothes, have a meal and receive supplies and clothing. Karen continues to contribute to the community in many meaningful, selfless ways with her gracious, generous nature and an unfailing sense of humor. Photo by Cassie Williams