The Washington Apple Education Foundation, WAEF, presented the nonprofit’s 2020 Individual Volunteer of the Year Award to Courtney Lane of Zirkle Fruit Co. and its Alumni Volunteer of the Year award to Anika Grubbs.
Annually, WAEF recognizes an industry organization, individual and alumni for their efforts to make a difference through volunteerism. CMI Orchards was named the Volunteer Organization of the Year in an earlier announcement.
WAEF recognized Lane, human resources manager for Zirkle warehouse operations, for her work coaching scholarship recipients and helping them apply for jobs, ace interviews and negotiate a salary.
“It is the Courtneys of this world that make a scholarship from WAEF much more valuable than a financial investment,” Chris Willett, WAEF board chairman, said in a news release. “Courtney’s dedication, and others that join her, makes it possible for students to graduate from college with a solid start to a career network, human skills to advance their careers, and confidence that they know how to launch their careers.”
Grubbs, a corporate attorney for Amazon in Seattle, received a scholarship from WAEF in 2005, after graduating from Eastmont High School in East Wenatchee. She completed her law degree and worked in the legal field on the East Coast for several years before returning to the West Coast and connecting again with WAEF to inquire about volunteer opportunities and ways to make a difference for students in her home region.
“In pre-Covid days, Anika participated in student workshops and scholarship selections in person. In 2020, we relied upon her even more with monthly student mentoring, presenting in a career exploration workshop, and scholarship renewal interviews, all occurring at a distance,” said Jennifer Witherbee, WAEF executive director.
Annually, WAEF awards more than $1 million in scholarships to students raised in families with ties to the tree fruit industry. Funding for the foundation is generated through annual contributions made by members and supporters of Washington’s tree fruit industry. For more information about WAEF, visit www.waef.org.
—by Jonelle Mejica