Kathy Thornton, who found the best path to even more closeness with her sons was to become a volunteer, will recieve a Silver Award tonight at the San Anselmo Town Council meeting. Thorton was also a .
The Quality of Life Commission recently voted unanimously to give her the award, aimed at “unsung heroes” who have benefited San Anselmo without expectations of recognition.
It will be presented at the Town Council meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 14.
“To see Kathy Thornton is truly a ‘super-volunteer,’” says Woody Weingarten, commission chair, “all you need do is look at what she’s accomplished.”
Thornton has not only run the snack shack for SABA, the San Anselmo Baseball Association, for four years but has volunteered in countless ways at ,andschools.
She’s also been heavily involved in projects at St. John’s Church in Ross.
“Volunteering is my way to give back, to pay it forward,” she says. “The process feeds my passion — and allows me to be actively involved with my kids.”
Thornton seems passionate about virtually everything in her life.
She started volunteering with SABA eight years ago as a team mom, when her eldest son, Jeremy, who turns 16 this month, was in the third grade. She continued working for the community-based organization as her middle boy, Randall, 14, and the youngest, Bryant, 8, started playing ball.
“Like the Energizer Bunny, she keeps on keepin’ on,” says Weingarten.
As a SABA board member, Thornton fully supports the organization’s mission “to teach and foster…teamwork, participation and camaraderie.”
She’s also added personal touches twists — making sure the snack shop’s locally-supplied goodies are healthier than they were (moving more toward organics and “away from processed ingredients”) and ensuring perishables are donated at season’s end to St. Vincent’s in San Rafael for the homeless.
She’s also pleased the snack shop now makes a healthy profit. In 2011, she notes, “it netted $15,000.”
For the Thorntons, SABA has definitely become a family affair: Kathy’s husband, Jeff, who’s in the mortgage business, has been a coach.
Meanwhile, at Wade Thomas, Kathy Thornton helped coordinate the creation of several greenery areas, including the Habitat Gardens that replaced some construction debris left over when classrooms were added.
She voices pride at the fact that “we didn’t pay anybody. We did it with our own sweat.”
As a PTA volunteer, she’s taken part in classroom activities and special projects such as International Day. And she’s supported the field-trip concept by driving school kids.
She served, too, on the board of YES, the Ross Valley Schools Foundation, and for several years was a liaison between its theatrical component and its technical side. She also became the White Hill liaison for afterschool sports clubs offering basketball and volleyball and lunchtime clubs that ran the gamut from math and robotics to mythology and jewelry-making.
She also cites enhancing dance programs within that school’s physical education unit, and helping it evolve from square dancing and ballroom to modern dance and hip-hop.
“We’ve added a cultural component and are providing something valuable,” she says.
Thornton, who earned a degree in interior architecture, is not only a full-time mother and nearly full-time volunteer, she also finds time to run two businesses of her own.
The family has lived in San Anselmo for almost 16 years. But they attend St. John’s in Ross, where Kathy serves on the outreach committee, which has been responsible for many hands-on activities, including caring for homeless individuals.
Four times she’s led the church’s major annual fundraising event, the Tour de Noel.
It’s clear much of her volunteerism surrounds kids’ activities. Why? Besides being able to spend time where her boys are, she cites the result of a St. John’s cleanup project at a youth center: “We got a wonderful letter from the children. It shows how small acts of kindness can be huge for them.”
Thornton will become the 21st winner of the Silver Award. Previous winners were , , , , the husband-and-wife team of , , , Ben Burtt, Royce Truex and Jo Gross, Michael Schwab, Deborah Cichocki, Kay Peacock, Frank Ortiz, Tom Boss, the husband-wife team of Patricia and Chuck Swensen, Bill Abright, Cynnie Barrows, Marilyn Girodo, Sophia Spencer and Dollie Frauens.
Silver and the more environmentally oriented Green Awards are handed out in alternate months. Nominations for either can be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com — or mailed or hand-delivered to the Quality of Life Commission c/o the Town of San Anselmo, 525 San Anselmo Ave.