Karen Tappin honored for volunteerism
Posted: Wednesday, October 1, 2003 12:00 am
By Nathan Wright, Staff Writer
Karen Tappin's volunteer career began in 1969 when she couldn't find a swing set for her children.
"When I first moved to Healdsburg I went to take my children to swing, and there were no swings," she said. Karen and husband Harry, a member of the Healdsburg Kiwanis Club, helped organize a project to build those swings.
A short time later, Karen began working with the Bluebirds youth program, and shortly after, she helped Harry get the Pop Warner youth football program started.
Thirty-three years later, Karen is being honored with the Marie Sparks Memorial Volunteer Award by the Healdsburg City Council for her service to the community. "I was shocked," she said.
If one word could sum up Karen's volunteering career, it would probably be - busy.
"For 33 years this selfless person has served on no less than three boards or advisory committees at a time," said Carmen Perez, a community volunteer and the recipient of the same award in 2002. "Her vision for Healdsburg is illustrated by the 32 years she has devoted to youth sports, health and academic education, the arts, along with promotion of diversity, tolerance and understanding. To say she has improved the lives of hundreds of people is an understatement."
Karen has worked with the United Way, the American Cancer Society, Sonoma County Social Services, the Healdsburg HIV/AIDS Task Force, the Healdsburg Unified School District, the Healdsburg Boys & Girls Club, and dozens of other organizations.
"Life is like a bucket," Karen said. "It's what you put in that bucket that you get out of life."
The Healdsburg City Council created the Marie Sparks Memorial Volunteer Award in 1995, after the inspiring volunteer's death. The award is given annually, with recipients from past years choosing the winner for the current year.
To be considered for the award, the recipient must be a resident of Healdsburg, show leadership qualities, give freely of their time and energy, have vision for the betterment of the community, and share their talents in diverse endeavors.