The Sterling Award – A Worthy Journey
by Connie McNeel, Gabriel’s Angels Marketing & Events Coordinator
The Sterling Award is the Scottsdale Chamber’s marquee event and celebrates the people and companies that make our community a great place to live, work and play. The prestigious Sterling Award is one of the most coveted business awards in the Valley, with a rigorous application, judging, and selection process.
On November 29th Gabriel’s Angels was announced the winner of the 2011 Nonprofit Sterling Award. With a table of supporters anticipating that instant when the Honoree would be named from the group of finalists, I easily recall the feelings of humbleness and exhilaration that we all experienced when Gabriel’s Angels was announced!
Now that I have had some time to reflect on the nomination process, the finalist stages and ultimate achievement of Gabriel’s Angels becoming the Honoree, the meaning of this recognition has become crystal clear.
The road to achieving the Sterling Award commenced at the very beginning of Gabriel’s Angels – from that first visit at the Phoenix Crisis Nursery with Pam Gaber and her gentle gray dog, Gabriel. The journey encompassed the early years when the mission and guiding philosophy of the organization were developed, along with the structure and behavioral premises for the Pet Therapy Program. As the number of therapy teams grew and our community awareness increased, Gabriel’s Angels’ program reached into more Arizona communities. The demand for our services became evident and we work tirelessly to meet the community need.
Gabriel’s Angels currently serves annually over 13,000 abused, neglected and at-risk children through visitations by 155 registered Therapy Teams – a volunteer and his or her own therapy dog. The individual at-risk child together with the overall community impact that our pet therapy program has in reducing violence are the very reasons Gabriel’s Angels exists. The means by which our organization moves forward, with a clear vision for the future, are the hundreds of donors, supporters, volunteers, friends and talented Board of Directors, who guide and support the work we are doing each and every day.
The Sterling Award has left an indelible mark on Gabriel’s Angels. We understand that it is an honor that results from years of focus, dedication and due diligence. We appreciate how much this honor will continue to enhance our community respect and awareness.
With gratitude to the Scottsdale Chamber and the Sterling Committee, Gabriel’s Angels moves forward in our quest to expand our services and heal the additional 7,000 children in crisis throughout Arizona – all through the unconditional love that only a therapy dog provides to an at-risk child.