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Two Paso Roblans honored for their community contributions 

Bill Pluma, Alexis Okumura, and Steve Austin.

Bill Pluma, Alexis Okumura, and Steve Austin.

Volunteers honored at senior center re-opening

-The Paso Robles Senior Center opened its doors on July 1 with a reopening celebration. Part of the celebration included Senior Volunteer Services, through AmeriCorps Seniors, honoring two Paso Robles residents with two of its most prestigious awards recognizing their contribution to the community through volunteering.

William (Bill) Pluma was honored with the Carol Conway Award. The Carol Conway Award is given to that individual who embraces volunteerism on all levels. Pluma considers himself a professional volunteer and community advocate. For Pluma, “Volunteering opens the door to learning, camaraderie, and community service”. Pluma has been a volunteer for over 20 years. In 2007, he received a Presidential Award from President Bush. He was recognized by President Bush for volunteering over 4000 hours in two consecutive years. He has been instrumental in the building of the Food Bank Program. When part of the Food Bank, Pluma began the grocery store Food Barrel Program. In addition to this, he is on the Board of Directors for the Toy Bank of the Greater Paso Robles Area for over 24 years, being President for 17 years and Chairman of the Fundraising Committee for the last seven years. Pluma is also a member of the Optimist Club, and works with local high school students who are part of the Junior Optimist Club. He also started the Main Street Spelling Bee which is held in the downtown park.

Pluma encourages all seniors to volunteer. He says, “Seniors have the advantage of time and life experience that makes them perfect candidates for volunteerism.” Alexis Okumura, Director of Senior Volunteer Services says, “Anyone who knows Bill Pluma knows that he puts his heart and soul into every project he takes on… in doing so, he inspires others to do the same.”

Greg Carpenter, Bill Pluma, Fred Strong, Vicki Janssen (John Peschong’s Legislative Assistant, and Steve Martin.

Greg Carpenter, Bill Pluma, Fred Strong, Vicki Janssen (John Peschong’s Legislative Assistant, and Steve Martin.

Steve Austin received the Director’s Award. This award is given to the individual who serves the Senior Volunteer Services program. Austin has served on the Board of Directors for the Senior Volunteer Services Program as Treasurer for a total of 7 years. Alexis Okumura said, “Steve is a quintessential gentleman, quietly providing his essential expertise to SVS.”

In addition to Alexis Okumura, Steve Martin, Mayor of Paso Robles, Greg Carpenter, Interim City Manager, a representative from John Peschong’s office, City Councilman Fred Strong, and many others were in attendance.

Both winners want to encourage all who can to volunteer in their community. If you are over 55, contact Senior Volunteer Services at (805) 544-8740. Senior Volunteer Services through Americorps Seniors recruits and matches volunteers with a community service organization. Many of these organizations depend on their volunteers to keep their doors open.

“Our volunteers make it possible to provide services and activities to our older adult population,” Micki Wright, Coordinator of the Paso Robles Senior Center stated.

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The news staff of the Paso Robles Daily News wrote or edited this story from local contributors and press releases. The news staff can be reached at info@pasoroblesdailynews.com.