Interviewed by Haley Sutton, Land Stewardship Associate
How long have you lived in the Bay Area?
All my life, minus a few years for college: 45 years.
How did you learn about Save Mount Diablo?
I worked summers through high school and college at Turtle Rock Ranch, a property that specialized in company picnics and events that was located on Mount Diablo. After years of running the property, the owners decided to sell the property to Save Mount Diablo.
When did you start volunteering with us and why did you get involved?
I started volunteering in 2009. I called the office and asked if there was anything I could do. I had recently been promoted to head chef at Postino Restaurant in Lafayette. I was hopeful that I could work with them in that capacity. In this profession, you are asked to support many causes, I wanted to work with an organization that supported something that I too was passionate about.
Which Save Mount Diablo programs are you involved in?
I support Save Mount Diablo at the Four Days Diablo hiking event, and auction-off dinners prepared at the Mount Diablo summit.
What do you enjoy about the volunteer work you do?
I enjoy being on the mountain any time I can! Getting to know like-minded volunteers, state park employees, and Save Mount Diablo staff is always fun. It is fun to be able to use your particular expertise to support an organization that fits one of my other interests. Spectacular sunsets at the summit would be an added bonus!
What is the most challenging project you’ve worked on as a Save Mount Diablo volunteer?
Carrying meticulously plated dishes through high winds up the stairs at the summit is always an adventure. I was also really worried about cooking one year when California was awash with wildfires. I was nervous I might find myself in a news headline the next day. “Local chef burns down Mount Diablo.”
Is there a memorable experience you’ve had as a Save Mount Diablo volunteer?
We were cooking in high winds one year at the summit. It was blowing so hard the stove kept blowing out. We built a human wall of volunteers to keep the stove lit long enough to finish cooking the meal.
How do you spend your time beyond your volunteer work with us?
Chef work always keeps me busy. Beyond that, time with family and friends. Special thank you to Heather Beatty, Donny Nishita, Parry Tong, Richard Bruzdowski, and Brian Hoagland for all they do supporting me and helping me to support Save Mount Diablo.
Join Our Volunteer Crew! We Depend on You
Given limited staff, resources, and time, Save Mount Diablo depends on volunteers to take organizational effectiveness from excellent to exceptional.
Save Mount Diablo seeks to connect a passionate community to our mission, cultivating a sense of ownership and proficiency in every volunteer position offered.
Whether you want to help with restoration and stewardship, build and maintain trails, help with events, assist in the office, lead hikes, or advocate for us, there’s a place for you. For more information, check out Save Mount Diablo’s volunteer opportunities.