2011-09-09 / Front Page

He’s a HERO

Meadowlarks honor Kroll for charity work
By Roxanne Estrada


MAN OF THE HOUR—George Kroll, 95, has been named a Meadowlark Hero by the members of the Meadowlark Service League, a women’s organization. He was honored at a special luncheon in Camarillo on Sept. 1. 
IRIS SMOOT/Acorn Newspapers MAN OF THE HOUR—George Kroll, 95, has been named a Meadowlark Hero by the members of the Meadowlark Service League, a women’s organization. He was honored at a special luncheon in Camarillo on Sept. 1. IRIS SMOOT/Acorn Newspapers Although George Kroll may not look like a typical Meadowlark, he wears the honorary title proudly.

In a special ceremony in Camarillo last week, the Meadowlark Service League, a nonprofit organization made up of women in Ventura County, honored the 95-year-old for his longtime support of the service organization.

It was the first time a man— other than a member’s spouse— has been honored as a Meadowlark Hero.

“George exemplifies what we do,” said Mary Little, a Meadowlark member. “He represents the ideals of this organization. He is an unsung hero.”

Kroll has been a Camarillo resident for more than 30 years. Since moving to the city in the 1970s, he has donated to local & Girls Club of Camarillo, FOOD Share, Padre Serra Parish, St. John’s Pleasant Valley Hospital, Friends of the Camarillo Library, Camarillo Health Care District and Camarillo Rotary Club.

“George donates to charities large and small,” Little said. “He does big donations, and he also does the consistent small things that touch people’s lives.”

Kroll said volunteering has always been a part of his life but he never seeks recognition for his efforts, which made the award from the Meadowlarks all the more special.

“This is a dream realized, absolutely fabulous,” Kroll said. “I (volunteer) because it’s a great feeling.”

Meadowlark president Vicki Berman said Kroll’s happy demeanor and funny quips have made him a Camarillo legend in the volunteer world.

“He has a great sense of humor, and it doesn’t matter how he’s feeling, he will always tell you he’s great,” Berman said. “He is compassionate and has a lot of respect for anyone who helps in the community. He is very hands-on and inspires other people to give.”

Kroll recently made a significant donation to the Camarillo Health Care District’s new Wellness and Caregiver Resource Center of Ventura County. The center’s library will be named in honor of Kroll and his late wife, Alda.

In addition, Kroll donated funds to build a nondenominational chapel at St. John’s Pleasant Valley Hospital, also named after the husband and wife.

The Camarillo Rotary Club recently proclaimed him an honorary member.

Little said Kroll has attended every Taste of Camarillo event since the Meadowlarks started the wine tasting fundraiser 24 years ago. He is known to buy as many as 30 tickets each year and give them away to friends, she said.

Not only does Kroll donate money, Little said, he also gives of his time and energy despite his age.

“You have people in the community who have money but don’t have time,” Little said. “And other people who put in the time but have no resources. With George, it’s everything. He is truly a man of service.”

The Meadowlark Hero honor was a surprise to both Kroll and his daughter, Nancy Binder.

“This brings tears to my eyes, and I can see it means a lot to him,” said Binder, a Camarillo resident. “I knew he did things before, but I was unaware of the extent. I only knew him as a father, so it’s an eye-opening experience for me. I find it very inspiring.”

Kroll said it’s important to stay positive, and he has a saying when he says goodbye to someone:

“Keep smiling.”

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