Eight former Canyon Lake mayors were among those at the October 12 City Council meeting to recognize Nancy Carroll for her 27 years of service on the Canyon Lake Emergency Preparedness Committee (CLEPC).
Nancy served 25 years as the committee’s president. She has been awarded both Volunteer of the Year and Citizen of the Year by the Canyon Lake Chamber of Commerce. She resigned from the position this year but will remain a member of the committee.
For almost three decades Nancy has been part of a team that has prepared the City in the event of a disaster. In addition to her years of service on the CLEPC, Nancy has coordinated emergency services for Canyon Lake during floods and other catastrophes. “We owe a huge debt of gratitude for setting up such a wonderful system, which is the envy of the county,” says former Mayor Nancy Horton
At Wednesday’s meeting, Mayor Tim Brown presented the dedicated volunteer with a plaque. Larry Greene, the new CLEPC president, presented her with a bouquet of flowers.
Nancy, a retired registered nurse, has received numerous certificates of recognition and appreciation for her volunteer work through the years. Her first recognition was a “Key to the City,” which is an honor bestowed by the City of Canyon Lake upon esteemed residents. Since she was first honored, she has received three proclamations from the City of Canyon lake, a certificate of appreciation from the Canyon Lake Property Owners Association and more than 30 other certificates from other groups and organizations.
In 1989, Nancy and her husband Jay had just moved to Canyon Lake. That same year, a group of 10 people decided to create a plan of action for caring for the residents of Canyon Lake in case of a disaster affecting the community. Nancy decided to join the group in its endeavor. (Later, Jay also joined the group following his retirement.)
The group met in the fire station radio room. Harry Pahel, who was very instrumental in getting the fire station in Canyon Lake, was a part of the group. They then enlisted the help of Cal Fire and began the very big task of planning for emergency response.
Next, Nancy and the others turned to the clubs and residents for help. “As always, the community stepped up and came through with what we needed, from tools to money,” says Nancy. The group used grants to obtain the larger, more expensive items they needed to use in case of a disaster.
“By the end of 1990, we had five supply sheds and a fair amount of supplies – bought and paid for by the people of Canyon Lake. The sheds were distributed to five areas of Canyon Lake so the supplies would be easy to get to in case of a disaster,” says Nancy.
Currently, 1,200 cots and blankets are in storage, along with a mobile trailer containing another 100 cots and blankets.
The group recruited members and sought training. Kay VanRooy was head of shelter and Ruth Ann Ferris was her assistant. “The American Red Cross did the training back in those days, and we took advantage of everything they offered,” says Nancy.
Some of the members took classes in HAM radio. Currently, there are 18 licensed HAM operators in the Canyon Lake Emergency Preparedness Committee. Most own their own radios, but a few use radios supplied by the CLEPC. To this day, they still practice every Monday night at 7 p.m. On the second Wednesday of every month at 8:15 a.m. the Nancy says the County of Riverside has a radio role call of every city in the county and Canyon Lake is one of the few cities that is very diligent about being there for radio check every month.
In the early 1990s, Frank Webster, Dr. Marlow Shafner, Kay and Nancy spent the entire summer working on the group’s mission statement and standard operation procedures so that they would be in line with state guidelines, but also unique to the community.
Throughout the years, the CLEPC has worked hard on fine-tuning and following the county and state guidelines to make Canyon Lake as prepared as it can be.
According to Nancy, the committee has done such an excellent job on preparing the City of Canyon Lake for a disaster that numerous cities have invited her to speak on the subject. In the past 20 years, many cities have come to Canyon Lake to observe its emergency drills and procedures. “We have grown to become one of the best prepared cities in California,” says Nancy.
Harry and June Pahl were teaching CPR and First Aid classes in 1989. Nancy started teaching them the following year. With the help of the American Heart Association, the team has grown and changes have come about, but Nancy continues to teach Hands-Only CPR classes free of charge to Canyon Lake residents. This year alone, close to 200 Canyon Lake residents learned CPR and how to use an automated external defibrillator (AED).
When the CLEPC installed its new 2016/2017 committee officers last month, Nancy was not among them for the first time in 25 years. Although she retired as the committee’s president, she has no plans to leave the committee.
“None of the former board members are leaving the CLEPC. We just felt that it was time for some new people to step in and get their feet wet,” says Nancy. “Should any of us decide to move from Canyon Lake, having new board members would make it a smoother transition and the committee would be able to run as if we were still there.”
She adds, “The Canyon Lake Emergency Preparedness Committee will always be a work in progress, but we have come a long way. We will continue to do our best and continue to grow. We welcome anyone wishing to join us in our worthwhile endeavor. This job was never done by just a few, but by a community. There are so many people involved in our group that I could never name them all. I have always been proud to be a part of the community team.”
Nancy and Jay were married 53 years. They raised three children and four foster children. The Carrolls have always made it a priority to give back to the communities where they lived. When Jay passed away in 2014, Nancy carried on with her volunteer work and commitment to the CLEPC.