The Church of Scientology of the Valley, which recently became the largest Church of Scientology in North America, drew over 600 for a United Nations World Humanitarian Day award ceremony in August that honored San Fernando Valley community heroes.
Celebrity award presenters included double Emmy-award winner Michelle Stafford, radio host and activist Kerri Kasem, “Veronica Mars” star Jason Dohring, and from the upcoming “Ten Days in the Valley,” Erika Christensen.
United Nations World Humanitarian Day was created to advocate the
survival, well-being and dignity of people and to honor those who combat and prevent the suffering of others and who help and protect their fellow man in times of need.
The awardees included two veteran Los Angeles Police Dept. leaders, a San Fernando Valley commander and local police captain. Both commended the Church’s rapid response volunteer ministers, many of whom brightened the audience with their signature yellow shirts.
Emergency response awardees included Lady Alicia Hamilton of emergency management organization PAC RED and Colonel James E. Anderson of the LA City Fire Dept.’s CERT program. Hamilton and Anderson spoke about the need for disaster readiness and emphasized the importance of community disaster response teams like the Scientology volunteer ministers.
Social justice awardees included Albert Hernandez of Family Promise, the Salvation Army’s John Stennett, and Roberto Recillas of the I Believe in My Future Initiative. They spoke about families on the edge of homelessness, the destructive scourge of drug abuse and the need to pull our communities together and restore dignity and human rights.
“My favorite part of my job is that I get the opportunity to work with the amazing men and women in our community who live to serve others,” said Kathy Morrill, president of the Church of Scientology of the Valley. “This includes everyone from our brave police officers and firemen to the seemingly endless list of community groups and volunteers committed to uplifting our society, one person at a time. I am honored to have had the chance to recognize them and look forward to collaborating with them for a long time to come.”
The event closed with a presentation on the Scientology volunteer minister program, a broad initiative bringing effective physical and spiritual assistance to anyone, anywhere. Since its beginning, hundreds of thousands have been trained in a wide range of skills to alleviate physical, mental or spiritual suffering and improve any aspect of life, from communication and study to marriage and raising children. The Church further established within its global network of volunteers a permanent Volunteer Ministers Disaster Response Team, ready to mobilize in times of disaster.
“Our Founder, L. Ron Hubbard, said ‘Something can be done about it,’” said Morrill. “We are here to show how true that is, and support anyone doing the same.”