News Flash


Posted on: September 15, 2022

Santa Rosa Merit Awards Honor Outstanding Community Volunteers

Merit Awards_news item

The city of Santa Rosa has selected 12 extraordinary individuals and organizations to receive the 2022 Merit Awards, which acknowledge outstanding volunteerism in serving the community and improving the quality of life in Santa Rosa. This year marks the 40th Merit Awards presentation, to be held on Monday, Sept. 19, 2022, at 7 p.m. at Finley Community Center for invited guests and livestreamed for the community to view online.

“Now in its fourth decade, the Merit Awards represent the best Santa Rosa has to offer,” said Mayor Chris Rogers. “This year’s recipients have selflessly given their time, energy, and talent to enrich our city and making Santa Rosa a stronger community.”

Merit Award recipients are nominated by community members and selected by the Merit Awards Committee. The Mayor and City Council members will join the Committee in presenting the awards on Monday evening. Those to be recognized in five categories include:

Serving Others

  • Ian Rich for founding Operation Blanket and his dedication to assisting the unsheltered in our community.
  • Regina Brennan and Nzinga Woods for founding the Sonoma County Black Forum, providing healthy food to those in need during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Tyler Wallace for creating the Council on Aging-Student Leadership Alliance, which funded lunches for at-home senior citizens through his creative leadership.

Cultural Enrichment

  • Rachel Evans for her commitment to youth in the development of physical fitness, creativity, and overall mental health through dance.   
  • Sonoma County Lowrider Council for the creation of The Marylou Lowrider Patrol Car and its symbol of cultural inclusion.    

Beautifying Our Community

  • Robert Ashe for his daily commitment to keeping our waterways and trails free of litter.     

Strengthening Neighborhoods

  • Jane Engdahl in recognition of her efforts to build community in the Burbank Garden neighborhood through events.   

Community Heroes

  • Food for Thought for extraordinary service in providing healing nutrition and compassion to people in our community living with serious medical conditions.   
  • Patricia Moreno and Ana Salgado for providing ongoing information to the community during challenging times through their bilingual programming on KBBF radio.     
  • Susan Hayes for her 15 years of service to Catholic Charities advocating for the underprivileged in our community.       

Per COVID-19 health guidance, the 2022 Merit Awards presentation will be an in-person ceremony for the awardees and their invited guests. Members of the community who wish to view the ceremony are invited to watch the livestream on the City’s YouTube channel on Monday, Sept. 19, 2022, starting at 7 p.m.

Visit to read more about each of this year’s Merit Awards recipients and to watch the ceremony.

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