Sande St. John, pictured with her daughter-in-law Maria St. John, was honored at the Legacy Ball last weekend put on by Laguna Beach seniors. (Courtesy Maria St. John / March 28, 2013)

It must have been a chore for Sande St. John to sit by while others organized the Laguna Beach Seniors annual Legacy Ball. Usually she is running events that honor outstanding Lagunans.

This time she was the honoree. It would be hard to find a more worthy choice.

Laguna Beach Seniors President Tina Haines made the presentation.

"Okay, quick — who do you think of when you hear this description: She gets more things done than any person I've ever met?" Haines asked the guests in the ball room at Pelican Hill Resort.

St. John, of course.

The answer applied to the rest of Haines' rhetorical questions:

•"Who is always on of the first to be there when someone needs help?"

•"Was one of the first to understand the need and started working for the seniors to have a place of their own in the early '90s, organizing the capital campaign."

•"The ultimate do-er…rightfully tagged the Uber Volunteer."

St. John's making lives better for everyone, with an emphasis on making.

"Sande's work with the Laguna Club for Kids, Human Options, the Laguna Beach Community Clinic, Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion, Patriots Day Parade, Fire Relief Coalition, the Resource and Relief Center, Soroptimists, Fire Relief Coalition, Chamber of Commerce, No Square Theatre, HIV Advisory Task Force, the Exchange Club, the Woman's Club and others has more than earned her title of Laguna Beach Seniors Legacy Award recipient of 2013," she said.

Among the guests were previous recipients, Pauline Walpin and Louise Buckley in 2008 and former City Manager Ken Frank in 2010.

Mayor Pro Tem Elizabeth Pearson, the 2009 recipient, had intended to be at the ball, but the unexpected death of her beloved cocker spaniel, Sophie, kept her at home.

St. John said she was honored to be included in the group of recipients and grateful to the legion of volunteers with whom she has worked — some say commandeered — during the past decades.

"Thank YOU for giving so much for the betterment of Laguna," St. John said. "Thank YOU, my mentors, Louise, Pauline, Carol Reynolds, Jean Law, and Marthann Newton and Jenny Goodno.


FOR THE RECORD:
An earlier version of this column incorrectly reported that Marthann Newtown had died. She is alive.

She thanked Sandy Thornton for the 25-year partnership that began with Thornton giving St. John her first "fun" volunteer job: a clown at the old senior center in the Veterans Memorial Building. The two continued as "The Sandies" and made their mark on Laguna.

St. John also thanked Marsha Bode, with whom St. John worked in the wake of fires, floods, mudslides and to help the needy.