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Updated Apr 2, 2014 - 6:20 am

Mayors honor volunteers during day of recogntion

PHOENIX -- More than 1,500 mayors across the country paid tribute to volunteers on Tuesday during the Mayor's Day of Recognition for National Service.

In Phoenix, Vice Mayor Jim Waring read a proclamation honoring some 1,300 volunteers in the Phoenix area. He did it in front of 50 volunteers from the groups Americore and Seniorcore at the Children First Academy in south Phoenix.

"Thank you for the service," Waring said. "Obviously, the city is in budget straits right now, and so we need some volunteers to step up and fill in some need."

He said that the volunteers come from all walks of life.

"Some of them are still in school. I just talked with a fella who is going to leave and it sounds like he is going to go to law school," Waring said. "Then we have folks who are definitely further along in years and want to give back to the community."

Waring said that volunteers are doing a lot of things that Phoenix can't do because of its $38 million budget deficit.

"They're paving parking lots and taking care of abandoned houses," Waring said. "Those are things that normally your government takes care of, but we're running a little short (of money) this year."

The Corporation for National and Community Service said there are over 4,400 volunteers doing projects at more than 730 Arizona locations.

About the Author

Years with the company: I started on January 2, 2006.

Education: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, but we moved to Phoenix when I was one-year-old in 1957. I grew up here and graduated from Alhambra High School and attended Phoenix College.

Family: I live in north Phoenix with my wife Rene' and my son Devin.

Favorite food: Lots of favorite food, but our favorite restaurant is Fajitas.

Favorite spot in Arizona: The Little America Hotel in Flagstaff.

Favorite news memory: We have to go back to October 15, 1979. I was a country music air personality at KROP Radio in Brawley, California, when we had a 6.7 earthquake. Thankfully, there were no deaths and only minor injuries, but the entire community was pretty freaked out and listening to the station on their transistor radios. I would not want to go through an earthquake again, but it sure was a great night to work in radio and see how it can make a difference in people's lives.

First job: Working as a stringer for 'The Arizona Republic' at high school football games. My first real job was flipping burgers at the old Sandy's Hamburgers at 51st Avenue and Indian School Road. My first radio job was as announcer at KALJ radio in Yuma in 1977.

First concert: My Dad took me to see Jimmy Dean at the Arizona State Fairgrounds in the 1960's. It was before the Coliseum was built. The only thing I remember is Jimmy Dean singing his big hit "Big Bad John."

Favorite sports team: Phoenix Roadrunners minor league hockey. My dad took me to a game when I was in grade school, and I was hooked. I wanted to be a radio hockey play-by-play man. I used to take my cassette recorder and sit up in the rafters of the Coliseum and do play-by-play. It was great later in life to also take my son to Roadrunners games. Too bad the team just folded, I'll miss them. (Going to the Coyotes is fun, but they're not "my" team.)

Outside interests: My family and I are active in our church - Shiloh Community Church in Phoenix. Devin is a high school student at Scottsdale Christian Academy. He plays on the baseball, football, and basketball teams and sings in the choir. Obviously, we keep busy trying to go to all his events! We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and long road trips. We like to vacation at the Beach Cottages in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. And I love to play catch, basketball, football with my son.


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