When Doug Kenyon opened the envelope, he sat there stunned. After a few moments, the commander of Green Valley's Sheriff's Auxiliary Volunteers gathered himself.
"Oh, my goodness!" he said. "I don't know what to say."
Inside the envelope was a check for $20,000 signed by Green Valley resident Gudrun Price, made out to the SAV and hand-delivered by an emissary Tuesday afternoon.
The Green Valley SAV is made up of more than 100 volunteers who assist the Pima County Sheriff’s Department. SAV members help deputies at the front desk, conduct neighborhood watch patrols and perform bailiff duty at Justice Court. They also check on the homes of hundreds of part-time residents, vacationers and shut-ins.
SAV members work six-hour shifts and are asked to volunteer 120 hours a year. While the SAV is run entirely upon donations, Kenyon said he's never seen one so large.
"I'm beyond words. That someone thinks that much of us... I'm just stunned," he said.
"It's one of those things that makes Green Valley great," said Lt. Derek Ogden. "People here just really go out of their way to help."
Twenty minutes later, Ogden, Kenyon and his lieutenant commander, Marie Miller, were at Price's home to thank her in person. Wreathed in smiles, Price said there was no need to thank her; she simply wanted to thank them for all they do.
The SAVs are "priceless" because when they could be home enjoying retirement they're serving their community, she said.
"I see the dedicated men and women from the SAV patrolling the neighborhoods daily," Price said. "I also see them at the White Elephant and they're not just there as security, they are also very helpful to the shoppers. Often they are the first to offer a helping hand and a kind word at traffic jams or accidents."
Price, who has lived in Green Valley 35 years, said she grew up under difficult circumstances in Austria and Germany and she learned at a young age people need to work hard, save, invest and live below their means. Because she continued to live by that creed when she came to America 40-plus years ago, she is now able to give back to the community, she said.
In April, it was Price who came to the rescue of the Arivaca Coordinating Council/Human Resource Group. Price had read in the Green Valley News that the Pima County Health Department had refused to issue them a health department until the organization replaced several freezers and refrigerators with commercial-grade appliances.
The news came after the council had already spent more than $21,000 in grant funding, and board vice president Rick Vogel wasn’t sure how the group was going to come up with another $13,000 for the appliances.
Price immediately cut the organization a check for $16,500, allowing the council to continue providing food and transportation for struggling Amado residents.
Price just shrugged her shoulders when reminded of last year's kindness.
"I just try to do something every year," she said.
While it will ultimately be up to the SAV board to determine how the funds should be used, Kenyon suspects they will go toward vehicle maintenance and possibly a computer system upgrade.