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Volunteer has boundless energy

Carol Feineman
John HartKathy Sandiforth (standing) talks with bridge players at the Golden Empire Grange in Grass Valley on Monday. Seated from left to right are Jean Nolan, Estelle Feineman, Vena Ronningen and Kay Huse.
ALL | GrassValleyArchive

Since moving here in 1960, Kathy Sandiforth has become highly recognizable.

She likes to be involved as much as possible and has never been able to sit still.

Even when she tried to be the best teacher possible to her Mount St. Mary’s students, Sandiforth was immersed in volunteer work.

Sandiforth was the Mount St. Mary’s Parent’s Club secretary for five years and player-agent and secretary for the Grass Valley Little League for nine years. She taught for a few summers as a Red Cross backyard swim program volunteer.

Retired for seven years, Sandiforth, 68, is now in volunteer heaven.

“Don’t make me seem like a queen,” said Sandiforth, laughing easily and frequently. “I just enjoy people, helping people, and being with them. I do something somewhere all the time.”

Sandiforth has volunteered for about a year at the Nevada County Recorder’s Office with her friend Doris Hermann.

“We prepare documents for mailings. Before elections, I help (county Clerk-Recorder) Lorraine Jewett-Burdick train the poll workers, answer questions, refresh them on what’s new.”

On March 5, Sandiforth spent up to 16 hours “with the rest of the office running to polls like a ‘Girl Friday.'”

Sandiforth has been a volunteer poll worker inspector since 1974.

“The elections office and the recorder’s office staff are a tremendous bunch of people under a lot of public pressure,” Sandiforth said. “These girls are so sweet at the counter and professional, even sometimes when circumstances make the public a little distressed. All the staff have been wonderful.”

She’s also on call for the Nevada County Sheriff’s Office.

“I’m bored. I want things to do. I’ve gone with the Sheriff’s Office as a senior volunteer to fingerprint at the schools. I’ve ridden with deputies. It’s just exciting,” Sandiforth said with a chuckle. “I’ve had some fun things to do there.”

A year ago, she joined the Nevada City Elks Lodge.

“My father was a charter member in Placerville,” she said. “I wanted to be in Elks as a family thing.” Her stepson David Sandiforth is an Elk.

As an Elks house committee member, Sandiforth has to be on site at various events at the lodge.

As if her datebook isn’t already crammed, there’s the bridge – a game she has played since she was 10 years old.

“There’s only one person that’s been an active member of our duplicate bridge unit longer than me, and that’s Fawn Emmerling,” said Sandiforth. She is a bridge director (or umpire) and computes the scores for teams in the Nevada County Duplicate Bridge Unit 461, District 20, of the American Contract Bridge League.

She also directs sectional and regional tournaments and will teach two bridge classes this month at Sacramento’s regional tournament. In 1998, Sandiforth was nationals tournament hospitality chair in Reno; she will be co-partnership chairwoman with her friend Peg Slocum at nationals there in 2004.

Last year, Sandiforth was appointed to the ACBL’s national charity committee.

Sandiforth said her husband, Les, is her biggest supporter and helper.

“At the age of 73, Les still umpires Little League at Nevada City. He’s also been one of our county Fish and Wildlife commissioners for six years,” Sandiforth said.

Even when the Sandiforths spend June through August at their summer home at Eagle Lake above Susanville, she can’t resist volunteering.

“I belong to the American Legion Auxiliary there and am in charge of three major fund-raiser dinners,” she said. Sandiforth also plays piano at church every Sunday in the summer.

Sandiforth says she’s been lucky to enjoy good health so she can stay involved. ” I’m as good as the people I’m around.”

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