Volunteer of the Year: JoAnn Maiter
Last updated 8/7/2018 at 11:42am
Volunteerism in Borrego Springs is at the very heart of our community. People, ordinary people with extraordinary energy and commitment selflessly devote their time to serving the needs of others, and for the most part they go unrecognized in the community at large.
But once a year, the Chamber of Commerce selects a community volunteer who stands out from the rest to be honored during the Borrego Days Festival.
This year, it is the indomitable JoAnn Maiter. If you’ve been to the Welcome Center in the last four years, you’ll know who she is.
“I call her my hummingbird,” said Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Linda Haddock. “She’s so full of boundless energy and enthusiasm, and she makes people feel very welcome in our community.”
That notion of a welcoming presence was easily confirmed in a conversation with fellow resident and social acquaintance at the RoadRunner Club, Barbara Cuciz, one of our local dentists.
She and her husband Giancarlo came to Borrego Springs on a visit, and it turns out they bought a home and moved here for one simple reason: JoAnn Maiter!
“JoAnn was so friendly, so generous with her time in helping us,” Cuciz said.
“Her energy was contagious. She was a true ambassador for Borrego, teaching us about all the interesting things that go on here, and how great the people are. She was Heaven on Earth.”
Maiter was a bank teller in Wisconsin before coming to Borrego in 2014, where she promptly became a community volunteer. She greeted folks at the Welcome Center (first as a volunteer, and four months later as a paid staffer).
“I love helping people,” JoAnn said of her motivation, and she did so even during our Super Bloom in the Spring of 2017, when 150-200,000 visitors descended en masse in Borrego. Her eyes glazed over a bit at the memory of that event, but she came back quickly with a positive response and a big smile, “But we’ll be ready next time!”
Maiter has also been involved with school kids as part of her volunteer work at the American Legion Women’s Auxiliary.
In that capacity, and eventually as President of the Women’s Auxiliary, she has worked in the schools on fundraising, essay writing, and other programs for children and youth, including “Americanism,” as she called it.
“Things like flag etiquette and ways to show respect for our flag and country.”
There is no doubt that JoAnn Maiter has made a valuable contribution to the Borrego Community.
So come Borrego Days, as she rides and waves in the Parade with a sign on the car that says “Volunteer of the Year 2018 – 19,” and later accepts her award at Christmas Circle, we can all show JoAnn Maiter how much she’s appreciated.