How one woman supports an "Army"

Atteberry is this year?s McCann Award recipient
By: Jenifer Gee Journal editor
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?She?s the army behind the Army.? That?s the way one woman described Auburn resident Angela Atteberry, who will be honored tonight with The McCann Award at the annual State of the Community dinner. The McCann Award, named after longtime Auburn Journal business manager Vernon Gould McCann, honors one community member each year for unselfish devotion and effort to do what?s best for Auburn. The award is the most prestigious honor given at the annual dinner that recognizes those who help make Auburn better. Atteberry and her husband, George, have spent the last decade co-chairing the Auburn Salvation Army?s annual Thanksgiving community dinner. She?s also spent hours upon hours in the community garden harvesting bushels of vegetables to stock the Salvation Army?s food closet shelves. She is an active member of the Auburn Rotary Club and is part of the Auburn Community Cancer Endowment Fund?s cooking crew. Michelle Fish, Auburn Salvation Army social service director, described Atteberry as the ?army behind the Army? because of her constant devotion to helping others. ?Ange is that way,? Fish said. ?She?s very giving and unselfish and gives of her time and heart and service to serve her community and others.? Atteberry said she enjoys serving more than just food at the annual Thanksgiving dinner, which includes the help of 200-plus volunteers. She said the dinner is also about serving fellowship, kindness, warmth and consideration to those who attend. ?I want them to feel they?ve been cared about, that they?ve been cared for,? Atteberry said. ?I want them to feel they don?t have to be alone. They live in a community that cares.? When the dinner is over, Atteberry then takes on working in the community garden that was started by longtime Auburn resident Virgil Traynor. During harvesting season, Atteberry is out in the garden about three days a week from early in the morning until about noon, when temperatures start to heat up. In 2011, she helped dig up more than 21,000 pounds of fresh produce to feed those in need. One afternoon she was placing tomatoes from the garden on the Salvation Army?s food closet shelves when a woman looking for assistance from the Army noticed what she was doing. The woman was a grandmother caring for her teenage granddaughter and asked Angela if she could have a tomato. ?I said, ?You can have as many as you want. These are for you,?? Atteberry recalled. ?She poured out a blessing on me and it touched my heart. I will never forget it because I thought, ?There but for the grace of God go I.?? Fish said she?s witnessed many people at the Army open up to Atteberry. ?She feels and is very empathetic about working with everyone from drug addicts to the poor to the elderly to you just name it,? Fish said. ?She?s very compassionate and caring.? When not volunteering, Atteberry is enjoying the outdoors, working in her own garden and enjoys reading a variety of books, including the Bible. She and George, who celebrate 32 years of marriage this year, also care for a ?very geriatric? cat named Rudy, who?s pushing 20 years and a second, 11-year-old cat named Sumie. Atteberry said her interactions with volunteers and those who receive her help over the years put things in perspective. ?Poverty brings despair and affluence should never be synonymous with arrogant indifference,? Atteberry said. ?I?m very thankful to God for who he is and what he?s done to allow me to serve.? Reach Jenifer Gee at or follow her on Twitter @AJ_Editor. ---------- The annual State of the Community Dinner honors several community members for their work in Auburn. Here are this year?s honorees: McCann Award: Angela Atteberry County Award: The Placer County Wine Industry Task Force City Award: Mary Freitas Friend of Agriculture: Echo Valley Ranch Healthcare Award: Dr. Robert Henrichsen Business of the Year: PG&E Friend of Recreation: Patrick Remington Education Award: Randy Ittner ----------