West’s development personnel honored at virtual awards ceremony

Never, perhaps, has the importance of fundraising for The Salvation Army been as apparent as it is now. In the West, The Salvation Army is currently meeting needs caused by unprecedented wildfires, in addition to those associated with homelessness and the pandemic. With this in mind, the West recognized its development personnel during a virtual awards ceremony, replacing a ceremonial luncheon planned for at this year’s National Advisory Organizations Conference—canceled due to COVID-19. The awards reflect the 2019 fiscal year. 

Western Territorial Commander Commissioner Douglas Riley, Chief Secretary Colonel Kelly Igleheart and Territorial Secretary for Communications Lt. Colonel Kyle Smith commented throughout the presentation—with Smith serving as master of ceremonies—acknowledging the importance of these individuals’ work to fulfilling the Army’s mission.

“These have been critical times. These have been very challenging times, and you have hit the mark,” Riley said, speaking to the honorees. “We’re grateful for the resources that you’re providing right now, these days—from shelters to feeding and our ongoing programs. Thank you very much…for the work that you’ve done and for the funds that you’ve raised for the people we serve.”

Igleheart added that the first three letters in the word “fundraising” exemplify what it means to him. “I always found it to be a great joy,” he said. “And those that we celebrate today, I know you do, too.” Igleheart also thanked the people behind the scenes who contributed to the successful efforts of the award recipients.

Territorial Executive Director of Development Debbie Rossi presented awards to the Donor Relations Directors, acknowledging the unique strengths of each individual and how they share their expertise with their teammates. In addition to the Million Dollar Club, new this year were the One and a Half Million Dollar, Two Million Dollar and Three Million Dollar clubs. 

Rossi also presented the Major Gifts Award of Excellence, Excellence in Collaboration, Outstanding Achievement— “Goal,” Outstanding Achievement— “Most Improved” and Outstanding Achievement— “Visits.”

“I would be remiss if I didn’t recognize the development directors,” Rossi said, as she called the names of those who exceeded their goals for the 2019 fiscal year: David Swanson (Cascade), Kim Butters (Del Oro), Ernst Bauer (Golden State), Justin Coleman and Carry Blanchette (California South) and Geoff Gephart (Southwest). “This amazes me that these great managers have created these wonderful teams of major gift officers but are out there in the field themselves raising substantial funds to support our programs and services,” she said.

Territorial Director of Corporate Engagement Maria Todaro presented the territory’s first-ever corporate engagement awards to Enrique Ovando (Golden State) and Robin Dunn (California South). Ovando worked with Google, securing a total of $2.5 million in committed funds to help The Salvation Army serve people experiencing homelessness, Todaro said. Dunn worked with Territorial Headquarters to secure more than $1 million from Dignity Health to expand the Army’s Street Level program. 

Territorial Director of Gift Planning Jeff Hesseltine presented awards to those involved in charitable estate planning, recognizing $5, $10, $15 and $20 million annual achievements, and a $100 million Lifetime Achievement Award to BJ Dorman (Southwest).

Riley again expressed thanks. “You help provide the mission, which is the resources that we need for our programs and our services,” he said. “They help people. They serve people. They change people’s lives. Never forget that.” He also thanked them for the relationships they build with the donors, and for how they “show the reflection of Christ to them.” He closed the awards ceremony with a prayer of gratitude and blessing.

Development Personnel Awards


Three Million Dollar Club 

Michele Prosser

Two Million Dollar Club

Lorrie Davis

Sharon Kerr

MaBel Turner

Dawn Bonker

One and a Half Million Dollar Club

Lyn Woods

Million Dollar Club

Amy Keene

Camille McKinnie

Gretchen Heffler

Donna Ruiz

Mali Cuda

Doug Person

Barbara Wallace (also received plaque for 2018 – Million Dollar Club)

Traci Brewer

Derek Deegan

Carrie La Duc

Homer Smith

Major Gifts Award of Excellence 

Southwest Division

Excellence In Collaboration 

Lyn Woods, Donor Relations Director and Natalie Decker, Director of Gift Planning (one each)

Outstanding Achievement “Goal” 

MaBel Turner

Outstanding Achievement “Most Improved” 

Sharon Kerr

Outstanding Achievements “Visits” 

Derick Orr


Corporate Engagement Award

Enrique Ovando

Corporate Collaboration Award

Robin Dunn


$5,000,000 Annual Achievement 

Scott Claeys

David Durant

Kate Frew

Kyle Karioka

Bill Olson

Richard Podgorski

$10,000,000 Annual Achievement 

Lee Meling

Todd Paige

Tim Rodriguera

$15,000,000 Annual Achievement 

BJ Dorman

Mitch McConkey

$20,000,000 Annual Achievement 

Natalie Decker

$100,000,000 Lifetime Achievement 

BJ Dorman

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