Burbank Honors Local Legends for Volunteering

(Photo by © Ross A Benson)

In celebration of Older Americans Month in May, the City of Burbank Parks and Recreation Department recognized two outstanding individuals for their dedicated service to the community: Linda Barnes and Carole Collins. Both were honored with the 2024 Peter McGrath Older Americans Outstanding Volunteer Award by the City of Burbank. Collins also received additional recognition, representing Burbank at the Los Angeles County Commission for Older Americans Recognition Day on May 16th at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in downtown Los Angeles.

Collins, a longtime Burbank resident and retired Glendale High School teacher, exemplifies the theme of “Power by Connection” with her boundless energy and unwavering commitment to making a difference, said Kim Freed, Burbank Parks and Recreation Supervisor, who presented the award at the Burbank City Council meeting on May 7th. With over 50 years of volunteer experience spanning more than 10 organizations, Collins serves as an inspiration to generations.

Raised with a strong sense of service by her parents, Collins’ involvement in organizations such as Job’s Daughters and Order of the Eastern Star, both Masonic Organization offshoot groups, laid the foundation for her lifelong dedication to giving back.

“I’ve always believed in the power of connection,” Collins shared, reflecting on her upbringing. “My parents taught me that we have a responsibility to help others whenever we can.”

Her passion for community engagement shines through in every endeavor she undertakes. Whether it’s helping to organize the 60th reunion of her Burbank High School class or contributing to the Burbank Noon Rotary’s initiatives, Collins thrives on making a meaningful impact. Her favorite part of her service includes her involvement in Burbank Noon Rotary committees, particularly the Student of the Month program and scholarship committee. She recently had the pleasure of introducing the Burbank Noon Rotary Peter J. McGrath Scholarship winner, Nicole Nargizian, at the Burbank High School Senior Awards Night.

Reflecting on her journey, Collins remains humble, emphasizing the importance of community and collaboration in driving positive change. “I’m just one person among many who believe in the power of service,” she remarked. “Together, we can accomplish extraordinary things.”

Linda Barnes, another esteemed member of the Burbank community, joins Collins in receiving recognition for her selfless contributions. Among her extensive service, Barnes has been a dedicated member of the Burbank Association of Realtors Board for over 40 years, chaired the Burbank Civil Service Board five times, chaired Burbank’s Traffic Commission twice, and contributed to the Burbank Charter Review Committee.

Barnes is known for her pivotal role in the revival of “Burbank on Parade” along Olive Avenue in 1982. The roots of this beloved event date back to 1945, as documented in the Burbank Public Library’s digital archives. News reports highlight Barnes’ initiative in securing Circus Vargas to feature elephants in the inaugural parade, crafting an unforgettable and thrilling spectacle for all. During her two-year tenure as president of Burbank on Parade, Barnes made a lasting impact on the event’s revival, a legacy that persisted until it was sunsetted in 2017 due to rising public safety expenses.

Today, Barnes remains deeply engaged in community service. She actively volunteers at the Burbank Temporary Aid Center. Additionally, her commitment to her church underscores her dedication to making a positive impact in every aspect of her community involvement.

Barnes’ impact extends beyond civic duties; she also played a crucial role in advocating for equestrian warning signs in the Rancho area. During the Burbank City Council meeting on May 7th, Barnes expressed deep gratitude and humility for the recognition, then humorously remarked, “Never thought I’d be honored as an older American, but here I am.”

As Older Americans Month draws to a close, the City of Burbank extends its heartfelt gratitude to these two extraordinary individuals for their wisdom, guidance, and unwavering commitment to making Burbank a better place for all.