Valley seniors honored for inspiring others

POSTED: 10:37 AM PDT Mar 31, 2012    UPDATED: 11:21 PM PDT Mar 30, 2012 
PALM DESERT, Calif. -

A sold-out crowd descended on the JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort and Spa to honor the Deserving Dozen...twelve seniors nominated by local leaders as Inspirational to their communities.

The 2012 Senior Inspiration honorees are: Ofelia Salas and Leslie "Les" Surlow (Riverside County), Harry and Judie Stone (Cathedral City), Jesus Mota (Coachella), Rose Hargand (Desert Hot Springs), Phoebe Biscow-Brown (Indian Wells), Ray Halliday (Indio), Ann Kosich (La Quinta), Millie Bird (Palm Desert), Mickey Shepard (Palm Springs) and Roslyn "Roz" Gayler (Rancho Mirage).

The seniors, all aged 70 and older, were selected by their city based on their volunteerism and active engagement in their communities.

The Regional Access Project Foundation also provided a $500 donation on behalf of each of the honorees to a charity of their choice. Recipients included Food NOW, the Community Blood Bank and the Buddy Rogers Youth Symphony.

Shepard is coordinator for volunteers at the Comprehensive Cancer Center at Desert Regional Medical Center, and has logged more than 21,157 hours as a volunteer there.

"Well its been a labor of love," says Shepard. I get up in the morning I go out and get the paper, and first thing I look in the obituaries and if my name is not there, then I get shaved showered and get to work."

Biscow-Brown was instrumental in turning what is now the BNP Paribas Open into the world-renowned tennis tournament into what it is today, but her community service extends to politics as well.

"I do think that if you live in an area you have to give back.. And so being in politics and doing the things I do..I'm giving back."

The Senior Inspiration Awards was established by former Riverside County Supervisor Corky Larson in 1992 and is currently hosted by Supervisor John Benoit.