We have three outstanding candidates for Volunteer of the Year this year: Tom Derr, Jim Hearn and Jennifer Kvalvik.

Tom Derr – Tom Derr has been an active volunteer with the Mira Mesa Town Council and other community organizations for many years. TomDerrSF2008bHe served on the MMTC Board of Directors for two years, and has been chair of the Mira Mesa Maintenance Assessment District Committee for the last 10 years. That committee controls a budget of $800,000 annually that is used to improve and maintain landscaping on major streets such as Mira Mesa Blvd.  He is also a member of the Mira Mesa Community Planning Group. Tom moved to Mira Mesa in 1974. He was the owner/operator of Tom’s Master Mechanics from 1981 until his retirement in June 2011. Tom joined the Automotive Service Council (ASC) in 1985 and served as treasurer. In 1996, he joined the San Diego Herpetological Society, serving as treasurer and vice president for many years. Tom is well known for bringing his snakes to the Mira Mesa Street Fair and other community events. SDHS also brings reptiles to schools, especially those with at-risk kids, to spark their interest in learning. Tom is co-founder of EcoVivarium, a nonprofit living museum for all reptiles, amphibians, and some insects. Tom has been a member of San Diego Botanic Garden Foundation for over 10 years and is currently serving as 1st Vice President. He served as president of the Exchange Club of San Diego, a chapter of the National Exchange Club, the oldest national service club, whose national project is Child Abuse Prevention. Tom is chair of the Law Enforcement Volunteer of the Year event.  In the summer, you can find Tom re-homing rattlesnakes to keep them from harm.

Jim Hearn – Jim Hearn moved to Mira Mesa in 1978 while still on active duty near the end of his JimHearn230-year career in the Navy. While raising his grandson, he participated in Boy Scouts for 12 years and was a unit commissioner and merit badge counselor. He was also an umpire for Mira Mesa Little League and for 10 years a referee and referee coordinator for the American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO). Jim has been very active in the Mira Mesa Scripps Ranch Retired Senior Volunteer Patrol (RSVP) for 21 years, since its second year of existence, and only missed the first year because he was not yet retired. Over the past three years he has put in over 1000 hours/year with RSVP, and says that he enjoys it very much. He also serves as an ambassador for RSVP at Balboa Park and volunteers with the Diamond Gateway RSVP in addition to the Mira Mesa Scripps Ranch RSVP. His colleagues at RSVP say that he is always stepping up to the plate and volunteering, wherever and whenever needed. He was involved in helping set up the perimeter around Lake Hodges for the Chelsea King search and he assisted fire victims during the 2003 Cedar fire and the 2007 Witch Creek fire. In addition to his work with RSVP, he volunteers at the San Diego Police Historical Museum.

Jennifer Kvalvik – Jennifer Kvalvik has lived in Mira Mesa for 29 years with her husband Mark. They have 3 grown daughters and 2 grandchildren. KVALVIK_JENNIFER93Jennifer is proud to say Mira Mesa is her home, and she lives, works and volunteers in Mira Mesa with great pride for this community. She served on the Mira Mesa Town Council Board from 2011-2013. She initiated the banner district committee in 2011, and continues to serve as its chair and grant writer. She is an active member of the Mira Mesa Street Fair committee. She volunteered as school room mom for all 3 of her girls every year until high school and then as parent booster president for 10 years, raising money for grad night and prom activities. She ran a Girl Scout troop for 4 years. She has been Vice Chair of the Mira Mesa Cluster Schools Council since its inception in 2010. She has volunteered as a Sunday school teacher for the Rock Church since 2005. Since 2004 she has assisted with planning, set-up, public relations and the creation of up to 120 silent auction baskets for the Taste of Mira Mesa fundraiser for schools. She serves on the San Diego Northeastern Communities Pageant committee working with venue design, promotions and support for the director. For the past 6 years, she has served as a Guest Relations Technician at San Diego Comic Con, assisting special guests with their appearances and breakout sessions. Jennifer teaches Hospitality and Tourism as well as Foods and Nutrition at Mira Mesa High. She advises three student clubs which enables many students as well as herself to volunteer at community and city events.