As a young girl in rural west Texas, Dell Perales could be found in her family’s kitchen by her mother’s side frosting cakes. The cakes, pies and treats that had warmed in the Perales’ stove and cooled on their counter top would be carted off and given to the local disabled assistance society in the community and Perales would learn her first lesson on volunteering.
“Volunteering for me, is a rewarding experience not for just the people that I’m serving, but also to myself,” Perales said. “I remember being so proud that I was getting to help my mother and that we were doing something that was going to help others.”
Perales’ pride in volunteerism has stayed with her over the decades, keeping her active in local organizations and churches, and makes her an ideal recipient for the 2012 Senior Award, presented by the Stanislaus County Commission on Aging.
Each year senior citizens from the county’s five districts are selected for the award based on their volunteer work. Perales was recognized for her community service, including her involvement in local service clubs and her willingness to help out someone in need in whatever way she can.
A modest woman at heart, Perales would rather talk about her grandkids and great-grandkids than talk about herself, so the news that she had been selected as one of the county’s winners was a bit unbelievable for her at first.
“When I got the call telling me I had won this award, I didn’t believe it,” Perales said. “I thought they had the wrong number.”
But it wasn’t a mistake. Perales has been an active member of the Turlock community for numerous years. She has been a member of the Turlock Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary for four years, helping with fund raising for various projects, including: The food bank, Christmas baskets, and a children’s safe Halloween program. She helps with the Salvation Army’s Christmas dinner by decorating, cooking, serving and cleaning up and regularly serves as a bell ringer during the holiday season.
Perales also is a member of the National Association of Professional Women, the Women of the Moose, and the Turlock Garden Club. She served as president of the Turlock Senior Citizens Group for three years and was the adult choir director for her church.
The award winners will be honored at the Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors meeting at 6:30 p.m. May 15 in the board chambers at 1010 10th St. in Modesto.