Monrovia's Citizen of the Year: Karen Sutherland

Karen Sutherland is the recipient of the Chamber's Iris Award.

Karen Sutherland doesn't waste time broadcasting her involvements in numerous volunteer activities, which probably allows her to do even more.

Sutherland is the 2011 recipient of the Iris Award, which is the 's equivalent to the Citizen of the Year Award. The Chamber will honor her this Friday at its annual awards dinner at the .

Sutherland is known for her passionate focus on youth and education. Her numerous community involvements have included active participation in PTA, , Monrovia’s Task Force on Youth, Monrovia Guild of Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles, the Monrovia Schools Foundation, and The .

Mayor Mary Ann Lutz said that she thought the award was the perfect fit for Sutherland. 

"Karen is one of those people who volunteers quietly for a number of things and just gives her all. Everything she does is with such love and such a giving spirit," Lutz said.

Sutherland credited her parents with teaching her the importance of giving back to her community as she was growing up in Glendale. She continued the family tradition when she came to live in Monrovia by joining the PTA, where she met and befriended teachers and parents at her daughters' school. She also said that community leader Mary Wilcox played an important role in getting her involved in volunteer activities in Monrovia.

"She had a way about her that you just followed her lead," Sutherland wrote in an email.

As a founding board member of the Boys & Girls Club, Sutherland was active on the executive committee until the year 2000, and remains active on the board. She said that the most recent highlight of her involvement was the successful 2011 "Festival of Trees" gala to benefit the Boys & Girls Club of the Foothills. 

Sutherland said that she is currently focused on helping with the second "Festival of Trees" gala, and has a new project to establish the "Friends" auxiliary of the Boys & Girls Club of the Foothills. 

"It still excites me to see all we have accomplished for the kids of Monrovia," she wrote.

Sutherland said that she derives satisfaction from seeing her three daughters choose to volunteer in their communities and schools.

"My granddaughter, Karlie, has been a volunteer since she was little, going to board meetings and stuffing envelopes for fundraisers, and now chooses to volunteer on school activities and at the Boys & Girls Club," she added.

Sutherland also expressed fond memories of working on Monrovia’s successful All America City campaign.

Sutherland described her reaction to the news that she was receiving the Iris Award as "shocked."

"I really did not consider I would be given this award for doing what I love to do - volunteering to help our kids. I am very humbled that my name will be added to the list of previous Iris Award winners, as I believe each one has made their mark in our Monrovia community," she said.

Alex Zucco January 30, 2012 at 07:05 PM
Karen is the absolute best :) She offers her time and resources unselflessly...I only wish we had more people like her! Thanks for everything you do for Monrovia!
Charlotte Schamadan January 30, 2012 at 10:12 PM
Although the article didn't specifically mention it, Karen gives huge credit to her family for their help and support in her volunteering activities and attending the myriad of events that often come with being supportive. One must mention her husband Gary for his quiet encouragement of Karen's gifts of time to our community.
Betty Sandford January 31, 2012 at 04:46 PM
It's about time!!!!


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