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The woman who keeps on giving

March 29, 2001

Deepa Bharath

NEWPORT BEACH -- Sandy Meadows knows what it means to have something

snatched away in the blink of an eye. She has seen it happen far too

often as an emergency room nurse, a position she held for nine years.

"Life is so precious, and it can end in the cease of a heartbeat,"

said the 43-year-old Newport Beach resident. "I've seen so much taken

away. I think I understand the value of giving."

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And so Meadows gives what's invaluable to most -- time. For her,

volunteering is not just a way to pass time, and it's more than a

full-time job.

About 50 to 60 hours a week, she helps out at the Newport Beach Police

Department and raises funds for the Waldorf School of Orange County, a

private Costa Mesa school her three children attend.

Over the two years she has volunteered at the Police Department,

Meadows has performed a variety of duties ranging from data entry and

conducting tours, to working foot patrols and assisting detectives with

sting operations. She was a graduate of the city's first Citizens Police

Academy in September 1998.

"It's been a great experience for me," said Meadows, whose father

retired as a commander at the South Pasadena Police Department.

"I've never seen such fantastic morale. The officers are just so glad

to be there doing what they do -- making our city a safer place."

The Police Department recently declared Meadows Volunteer of the Year.

"I was totally surprised and honored," she said. "I was in tears. It

motivates me to do that much more."

While the Police Department appreciates her time, officials at Waldorf

call Meadows their savior.

Meadows started volunteering there three years ago when she took

charge of the Scrip Program. This involves parents buying gift

certificates to a number of stores and restaurants from the school. The

school buys these certificates in bulk at a discounted price and makes a

percentage profit by selling them.

The program was in place before Meadows got there, but it was she who

catapulted profits to new levels, said school Administrator Justine

Howard. Last year, she sold certificates worth $100,000, raising more

than $30,000 for the school. This year, with seven months to spare, the

profits have climbed up to $26,000.

"Sandy's a very committed person," said Howard, "not just to the

school and her family, but to the community at large." "It's easy to

write a check but hard to give yourself to a cause."

This year, the school, recognizing the amount of time Meadows puts

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