In recognition of the invaluable contribution of their time, efforts and expertise to their communities, six SRP employee volunteers were awarded the SRP Presidents’ Volunteer Spirit Award.

The award recognizes employees and retirees who are leaders in volunteerism and who serve as excellent examples of the power of caring.

“One of the truly remarkable aspects of the SRP employee family is the unwavering commitment to volunteerism that spans the entire organization,” said SRP President David Rousseau, who added that SRP employees and retirees, with help from their friends and families, donate thousands of volunteer hours a year to their communities. “Employees from all areas of the company help us build stronger communities through their personal commitment to volunteering.”

This year, SRP recognized employee Mike Heath with the Karl F. Abel Volunteer Recognition Award for his sustained leadership in addressing significant community needs. The late Karl F. Abel, a Glendale resident who served as president of SRP from 1972 to 1982, was a strong community advocate and  provided volunteer leadership to numerous organizations.

The 2015 SRP Presidents’ Volunteer Spirit Award honorees and the nonprofits they assist are:

Chandler resident Nancy Brooks – Most Valuable Pets

Nancy Brooks devotes more than 20 hours a week to Most Valuable Pets (MVP) and helps deliver mobile dog and cat health services to needy communities by supporting free spay/neuter events. Moving from neighborhood to neighborhood, the mobile surgical unit spayed and neutered more than 6,700 dogs and cats last year. Brooks manages all the publicity in the communities MVP visits; schedules and confirms appointments; picks up and delivers surgical patients; searches for grants to support the charity; and finds loving homes for unwanted animals. She has been with MVP for more than two years. In that time, the organization has helped thousands of pets in many underserved areas across the Valley. The MVP director says they could not do the work they do without Brooks’ ongoing support — she makes sure the mobile vet clinic runs efficiently and smoothly.

Chandler resident Dennis Gerlach – Flying Samaritans Arizona, Phoenix Chapter

Dennis Gerlach is a pilot who uses his plane to fly health care volunteers to Adolfo Lopez Mateos, Baja California Sur, Mexico, to provide medical, dental and optical care to the residents in this small, remote fishing village. This volunteer group provides medical services to underserved communities in Mexico one Saturday per month, 10 months out of the year, and recently added a second clinic in Laguna San Ignacio. Gerlach has been active with the Flying Samaritans since 2008. In 2011, he became the Phoenix Chapter’s president, and this past summer, he was named vice president of the Flying Samaritans Arizona. Though not a medical practitioner, he supports efforts by serving as a clinic coordinator and by using his electrical engineering knowledge to repair medical and dental equipment. Gerlach also helps maintain the facility where the clinics are held. 

Peoria resident Mike Heath (KFA recipient) – Peoria Arizona Historical Society

The city of Peoria was established in 1886, and with nearly 130 years of history, the Peoria Arizona Historical Society is in charge of collecting, preserving, protecting and displaying significant artifacts, photographs and other materials for future generations. Mike Heath is the Historical Society’s vice chairman of the board and has been with the organization for two years. He is active in fundraising events, identifying opportunities for grants and providing tours of the jail house and museum. Heath is often found cleaning, making repairs and maintaining the museum to save the Historical Society money. In addition to the Historical Society, he also volunteers with Leadership West, the Glendale/Peoria YMCA, Benevilla and the Challenger Space Center Arizona. Heath spends much of his free time each month supporting a number of organizations near and dear to his heart. Identifying need and then helping address it, he is the recipient of this year’s Karl F. Abel Volunteer Recognition Award for his wide-ranging volunteer work in the community.

Phoenix resident Kim Humphrey – Habitat for Humanity Central Arizona

Working to eliminate substandard housing in our community, Kim Humphrey has volunteered with Habitat for Humanity Central Arizona for nine years after introducing the SRP PowerWise home program to the charity as a Key Account Manager. Since then, Habitat has become one of the largest single-family LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) builders in the state of Arizona. Humphrey has been an active board member for several years and recently completed her term as chairman where she guided the board’s efforts and worked closely with the organization’s CEO to meet strategic goals. She raised money, recruited volunteers, led publicity campaigns, developed new community partnerships and helped build homes – all of which translated into 60 homes that meet the needs of more than 300 families. Humphrey also led the planning efforts for the Habitat for Humanity Central Arizona’s 1,000th home celebration with the help of several SRP employees.

St. Johns resident Les Young – New Hope Ranch

New Hope Ranch provides transitional housing for victims of domestic violence as well as food boxes and firewood for the homeless in Apache County. Les Young has been volunteering with New Hope Ranch since 1998, assisting in maintaining the transitional homes, fixing plumbing and electrical issues and ensuring that everything is clean, in good working order and stocked with supplies for those in need. He helps when emergency situations arise and also performs regular volunteer work, including cutting wood, spraying weeds, painting and cleaning safe houses or helping out at the New Hope Chest thrift store. Living in a small town magnifies the needs of people in the community. Seeing this need, Young spends up to 25 hours a month supporting New Hope Ranch’s mission to better serve his community.


Tempe resident Nancy Starr-Cassidy – Toastmasters International, District 3

For nearly 30 years, Nancy Starr-Cassidy has been a member and a volunteer leader in Toastmasters International, District 3, an organization devoted to helping individuals become more effective communicators and leaders. First elected as an officer in the mid-1990s, Starr-Cassidy continued to be elected to higher offices, culminating in her 2004 appointment to the international board of directors. She founded the Toastmasters Leadership Institute after realizing newly elected officers did not have the business or leadership experience to guide the organization. Spending 40 hours each month, Starr-Cassidy provides instructional design skills to review and develop new curriculum for winter and summer education programs. She also serves as chief ambassador for the Revitalized Education Program and leads volunteer efforts to roll out a new educational program for Arizona’s 214 clubs.