Kristin Brumfield—2017 T-CEP Volunteer of the Year

The annual T-CEP awards gathering at the Mountain Mermaid on Oct. 1 honored
long-time volunteer Kristin Brumfield with “The Rock” award for her years of
serving the Topanga community Above, Brumfield accepts the award from Scott
Ferguson. Photos by Annemarie Donkin

The annual T-CEP awards gathering at the Mountain Mermaid on Oct. 1 honored long-time volunteer Kristin Brumfield with “The Rock” award for her years of serving the Topanga community

“Our community owes a debt of gratitude to our 2017 Volunteer of the Year,” said Scott Ferguson, President of T-CEP who emceed the event. “Brumfield has always worked for T-CEP. Since 2005, she has been a volunteer helping us do what we do. She has been a board member and on the frontlines as a duty officer. To get this award, you’ve gotta stick around awhile.”

Ferguson presented Brumfield with “The Rock” award, an actual chunk of the boulder that fell onto the southern S-Curves in 2005 after a devastating storm.

“It’s quite an honor and a privilege to work with all of these people, our volunteers and support partners,” Brumfield said, holding up the plaque.

Ferguson then pointed out Brumfield’s parents in the audience, Bowen “Buzzy” and Barbara McCoy. Buzzy McCoy took the microphone to say how proud he was of his daughter and that in their family she was the fourth generation of Red Cross volunteers in L.A.

“I look back and see all of her actions,” he said. “No one could be prouder or more pleased.”

The Topanga Coalition for Emergency Preparedness (T-CEP) was founded after Topangans realized the absence of accurate emergency information during the 1993 Old Topanga fire. Ferguson said that continuing support from Third District Supervisor Sheila Kuehl will help “put the finishing touches” on the new mobile Emergency Operations Center (EOC) that can function anywhere during a disaster.

Arthur Nissman accepts the “Chief Snack Officer” CSO Award from Scott Ferguson.

Earlier in the awards ceremony at the Mermaid, Ferguson gave a certificate and a can of “Chock Full ‘O Nuts” coffee to Arthur Nissman, T-CEP volunteer, a member of the Disaster Radio Team, and TCEP’s CSO (Chief Snack Officer) for always supplying sweet and savory snacks during training operations.

After Nissman’s award, Janice Harmon herself a former Rock awardee, presented long-time T-CEP volunteer Lyn Sherman with a special certificate as Hotline Volunteer of the Year.

Harmon said Sherman helped found the T-CEP Hotline and developed the protocol, paperwork and drill procedures that keep the band of volunteers ready for any emergency.

“Thank you,” Sherman said. “I owe a special thank you to (T-CEP co-founders) Jack and Pat MacNeil, Fred Feer and Susan Nissman. Without them, it would not have happened.”

After that, Ferguson presented the Shining Star Award to Chris Whalley. “He’s not just a radio guy,” he said. “He’s also a call firefighter and a 269 EMT. In fact, he was first on scene at the recent Powderhorn brush fire, which gave him the right to name it.”

In 2014, Ferguson continued, “During the drought, he had the idea of adding water to the turtle ponds [in Topanga Creek]. He also lives off the grid on solar energy and is “one of the most upstanding men of the community.”

After a heartfelt “Thank You,” Whalley posed for photos and pulled several winning tickets, as did the other awardees for a fun raffle of HAM radios, safety straws (that filter dirty water) and portable, foldable lanterns.

Meanwhile, at the banquet table, the Canyon Girls Catering laid out a spectacular spread for the sizeable crowd.

L.A. County Fire Captain Anthony Williams, members of the Lost Hills Sheriff’s Department and firefighters from Topanga’s Station 69 also attended the banquet.

T-CEP is a nonprofit, volunteer organization whose purpose is to help the Topanga community prepare for disasters such as wildfires, floods, & earthquakes and relies on volunteers and donors. To become a member or to donate:


Annemarie Donkin

Annemarie Donkin is a journalist who wrote for The Signal in Valencia, CA and was the Managing Editor for the Topanga Messenger from 2013 to 2016. She is thrilled to write for the Messenger Mountain News to continue the tradition of excellent community newspapers. When she’s not writing, she loves to travel throughout California, read, watch movies and keep bees.

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