Setting the standard for giving to Claremont

Behind every successful business and service organization in Claremont is a dedicated group of volunteers. In many of these cases, there is also another common factor: Sonja Stump.

It’s hard to name an event or committee that hasn’t had some influence by the helping hands of Ms. Stump. As chair of the Village Marketing Group, she has added her touches to the Village Wine Walk, Friday Nights Live and the upcoming Craft Beer Walk. She has ensured Election Day goes off without a hitch as a polling place volunteer for the past 30 years. And Ms. Stump is not amiss in mentioning her beloved roles with both the Pomona Valley Workshop and Pomona Valley hospital, where she works alongside her husband, Bob Fagg.

Though it’s now crunch time for Claremont’s Independence Day extravaganza—yes, she is on the Fourth of July Committee too—Ms. Stump took a timeout from the last minute preparations for a little well-earned celebrating.

Ms. Stump was presented with the Claremont Chamber of Commerce’s first ever Volunteer of the Year award at the Chamber’s annual awards ceremony, held on Wednesday at the DoubleTree Hotel. The honor was bestowed to the pleasantly surprised Ms. Stump in front of a room filled with fellow Claremont volunteers and business folk, who were less shocked as the awards ecstatic recipient.  

“I’m honored and shocked,” she said. “There are so many volunteers in Claremont, it’s really lovely to be recognized. I feel really blessed.”

Despite her overloaded schedule, the tireless community advocate and owner of Sonja Stump photography never seems to grow tired of it.

“Bob and I always joke that business interferes with our volunteer opportunities,” she joked.

Truthfully she admits helping others has long been a staple in her household. Growing up in Upland, she was always trying to keep up with her parents, who frequently volunteered with their church, the Parent Teacher Association and other local groups. Her mom was also an active member of the League of Women Voters, sharing her love of politics with her daughter.

Despite the chaos of busy schedules taking them every which way, the Stump family always found time to take their usual shopping trip around Christmas time in order to donate food and items to needy families. She carried in that same vein when she attended a service trip in New York City as a teenager, spending her paycheck to give back to the needy families she had been working for.

As an adult, she continues in the tradition of her family’s volunteerism. While all of her causes are close to her heart, Ms. Stump relishes helping in the emergency room at the Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center and providing for families and their sick infants through the Pomona Valley Auxiliary fund, raising money for those unable to afford the care. It’s her way of giving back for all her good fortune.

“If you can make life a little easier for somebody, that’s a good thing,” she insisted.

In addition to conferring Ms. Stump as Volunteer of the Year, Chamber officials recognized several other Claremont businesses and community members for outstanding service. Ann Doskow was bestowed with Ambassador of the Year for her 34 years of service. First Street Gallery Art Center and Claremont Senior Center shared the honor of Nonprofits of the Year, while the Claremont DoubleTree Hotel and Claremont COURIER were recognized with the Business of the Year distinction, and Ryan Zimmerman (in photo above with Mayor Opanyi Nasiali) was Business Person of the Year.

—Beth Hartnett


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