New Mexico Distinguished Public Service Awards 2002
Recognizing Those Committed to Making a Difference
Darlene Leonard
Manager of the Volunteer Program at Sandia National Laboratories, Darlene Leonard has a huge number of volunteers at Sandia and manages to keep tack of projects and people with an unparalleled degree of effectiveness and efficiency.
Her management of Sandia's Thunderbird Awards (for graduating high school seniors who overcame serious obstacles) has led to the Albuquerque Public School Board and City Council also recognizing these youths to further encourage them.
During the hectic schedules and long hours worked by the U.S. Air Force security police following September 11, she led an initiative to provide movie tickets and refreshment gift certificates to the guards and their families as a token of appreciation for their hard work and dedication in protecting Kirtland Air Force Base.
Her ideas, innovations, and actions have improved the image and reputation of Sandia Labs and its employees throughout the community. She led the development of an improved database with enhanced communication vehicles to facilitate the real-time matching of volunteers to community needs.
She is always developing partnerships with private and public sectors. For example, when the New Mexico Children youth and Families called without advanced notice before Christmas 2000 and asked for gifts for 115 foster children, Leonard used her network of sources to ensure the children would get their gifts. And, she did so again for 86 foster children last Christmas!
In addition, Leonard wrote a "Join-a-School" grant proposal and received funding the International Peace Garden at Sandia Base Elementary.
She also reads as a volunteer for the Rocket Reader program at Bellehaven Elementary and volunteered for the last two years as a member of the citywide Community Fund Review Panel for allocation of United Way funds.
Instrumental in the organization of Make a Difference Day, she is tireless, focused, and dedicated to our community.