A City of Murrieta fire official, police officer and a Murrieta Valley Unified School District teacher were honored today (Monday, Oct. 7) during the third annual Rotary Club of Murrieta Vocational Service Awards luncheon.
The three individuals—Art Durbin, Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Coordinator for the Murrieta Fire Department; Carol Hernandez, teacher at the Dorothy McElhinney Middle School in the MVUSD, and Sergeant Don Weller of the Murrieta Police Department—were nominated by their respective agencies for their distinguished vocational and community service. The awards luncheon was held at Rancho Spring Medical Center’s Conference Center in Murrieta and was attended by Murrieta officials and local business leaders.
“The Rotary Club of Murrieta is honored to recognize these upstanding citizens who through their work are making tangible differences. Every one of them has reached beyond the requirements of their profession to improve our community,” Patsy Orr, 2013/14 Rotary Club of Murrieta President, said. “We asked their employers to nominate individuals who exemplify the standards of Rotary, including the ‘Four Way Test’ which stresses integrity, fairness for all, building goodwill and better friendships as well as being beneficial to all.”
The Fire Department’s Art Durbin has been involved with EMS since 1975, having graduated from Riverside City College and completed Loma Linda University’s paramedic program in 1978. He completed Mt. San Jacinto Community College’s advanced degree in nursing and worked 16 years as an emergency room nurse. He earned a Master of Science in Education from Capella University. He is an associate professor in Allied Health/Nursing Department at Mt. San Jacinto Community College and Emergency Medical Technician instructor. Durbin is also a reserve deputy with the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department’s Emergency Services Team and with the City of Hemet Special Operations Unit. He has been heavily involved in expanding the level of care that Murrieta Fire Department paramedics provide to the community. In addition, he developed and implemented the Pechanga Fire Department’s paramedic program.
MVUSD Teacher Carol Hernandez has been an educator for 19 years and currently teaches beginning drama, advanced theatre and physical education at Dorothy McElhinney Middle School. She is passionate about getting students involved in the community and has done so through a variety of programs. Clubs she has started include the guitar club, a Shakespeare Club, the Odyssey of the Mind Club and Community Club. The guitar club was started with the help of a local music store while the Shakespeare and other clubs have raised funds with the help of local restaurants to fund their involvement in competitions. Her students perform at numerous fundraisers and at local convalescent homes and hospitals. They were cast in an anti-bullying commercial produced by a pizza restaurant. She teaches an actor’s workshop through Murrieta Adult Education and was one of 27 teachers nationwide to receive a National Endowment of the Humanities grant to study Learning to Teach Shakespeare in the Classroom. She now works with Shakespeare in the Vines in community outreach to students. Recognizing students desire to learn comedy, she engaged Aces Comedy Club to send a comedian and a magician to conduct workshops in stand-up and magic. In addition, Carol facilitates nine teams which represent McElhinney in the Temecula Youth Basketball, Middle School League.
Murrieta Police Department’s Don Weller has been in law enforcement 19 years, nine of which have been in Murrieta. Known as one who takes pride in his work, Sergeant Weller has taught over 1,200 students the anti-drug and violence curriculum as an instructor for Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE). He has been the Department’s Volunteer Coordinator for the past five years, with some 40 non-sworn volunteers working in various capacities. He has organized blood drives and fund raisers within the department, including “Tip-A-Cop” for St. Jude cancer research and the Special Olympics. He was elected by his peers as President of the Murrieta Police Officers Association, serving several years. In submitting his nomination, the department noted “he has excelled in every assignment and models and instills the Department’s mission, vision and core values to those assigned to him."
Rotary is a non-profit organization of professionals and leaders in the local community who volunteer to improve the community and world. The Rotary Club of Murrieta was chartered on April 28, 1992 and serves the City of Murrieta and area. Some of the community service projects provided by the Rotary Club of Murrieta are the Field of Honor, Day of Service, scholarships for graduating high school seniors and bell ringing for the Salvation Army at the local Wal-Mart. The club is also involved in several international projects in cooperation with Rotary International, which has as its theme "Service Above Self." On the international front, the Murrieta club has projects in India and Mexico.
Rotary Club of Murrieta club meets every Monday, except national holidays, at
Richie's Diner, 40651 Murrieta Hot Springs Road in Murrieta.
"Individuals interested in opportunities
for service provided by Rotary are invited to attend one of our lunch
meeting," said President Orr.
For information regarding Rotary membership
and more, please visit www.murrietarotary.org.