Perris minister Noland Turnage calls helping folks a labor of love.
Since moving to Perris 23 years ago, Turnage has taken on a commitment to improving the lives of City residents from babies to senior citizens.
He hosts 50 Perris kids at a working ranch, where the disadvantaged boys and girls get to take part in activities not available at home—horseback riding, archery, fishing, leather crafts and feeding goats, horses and sheep.
For those in their golden years, Pastor Turnage works with the Perris Senior Center to provide boxes of food with staples like rice, beans, cheese, juice, milk can canned goods to 80 seniors a month—and that number is growing.
He provides similar food assistance to 30 homeless veterans housed at March Air Reserve Base as well as operating the Mead Valley and Good Hope community centers, which serve hundreds of meals each month to needy adults.
He has supported the City’s ongoing Live Well Perris healthy-eating active-living initiative by offering screenings during the annual Health Fair.
For his many good works, Turnage was named Friday as the 2018 Citizen of the Year by the City of Perris. He was honored during the 22nd Perris Honors Gala May 4 at the Bob Glass Gymnasium. The event is sponsored by the Rotary Club of Perris.
Also honored were employees and volunteers of various agencies and non-profit organizations.
City dignitaries Mayor Michael Vargas, Mayor Pro-Tem Malcolm Corona, City Councilwoman Rita Rogers and City Manager Richard Belmudez were also present.
“You can call him a legend in the City for all the work he has done,” Vargas said. “His contributions have been terrifically outstanding. It’s always good to acknowledge the good works that people have made and the contributions to our City. They don’t have to do this—they volunteer to. It’s always good to acknowledge such people and let them know we care.”
Corona remembered Turnage because the pastor once presented track shoes to members of the Perris High School cross-country team, which Corona coaches.
Corona said recognizing volunteers encourages other residents to donate their time to the City.
“It’s important for the City to recognize their selfless service,” he said.
Rogers said Turnage has worked with the group she founded, Cops and Clergy, which serves to being about better relationships between community members and law enforcement.
“He is a very dedicated community advocate who is always working to make Perris a better place,” Rogers said. “Volunteers are the key to a City’s success and it’s wonderful to each year select and honor a most-deserving resident.”
Turnage received the Alberta Mabel Kearney Award, named in honor of the founder of the Dora Nelson African-American Art & History Museum on Seventh Street in Perris.
“This is a humbling experience,” Turnage said of the award. “I am most appreciative. I do it because I love the City of Perris.”
Turnage, who currently serves a pastor at The Grove Community Church, grew up in Vallejo in Northern California and moved to Perris almost 26 years ago. It wasn’t long before the family’s home on Palisades Street became a nerve center in the Downtown community.
Noland and Becky Turnage helped organized a Neighborhood Watch group. They hosted block parties during the annual National Night Out against Crime.
Other community and church-based activities followed.
*Establishing a gathering spot for teen-agers by setting up a game room in their garage.
*Starting a clothing ministry that provided assistance for babies. That has expanded to the Grove Outreach Center, which provides clothing, bedding, toys, stroller and cribs to families in Perris and as far away as Indio and Escondido.
*Organizing Bible study groups for more than 350 Perris school children each week.
*Donating toys to various Perris Head Start programs, the Renu Hope daycare center and the Rob Reiner Children & Families Center.
*Distributing thousands of craft kits to children in the Perris and Val Verde Unified School Districts.
*Providing $28,000 worth of shoes through the Perris Outreach Center to City residents and people living outside the community.
*Continuing support of the Perris Police Department and Perris Fire Department by distributing toys to needy children through the Spark of Love program.
Turnage remained humble as he accepted the accolades.
“I’ve tried to make a positive impact on the community I’ve grown to love,” he said.
Other awardees included:
Ed Repucci: Nuview Union School District Employee of the Year.
Denney Marsh: Rotary Club of Perris Rotarian of the Year.
Marion Ashley: Rotary Club of Perris Daryl R. Busch Service above Self Award.
Anne Motte: Marion Ashley Award for 25 years of service to Mt. San Jacinto College.
Mae Minnich: Perris Valley Women’s Club Volunteer of the Year.
Taylor Sambrano: Perris Valley Historical and Museum Association Volunteer of the Year.
Anna Fetzner: Perris Union High School District Confidential Employee of the Year.
Cindy Ramos: Perris Union High School District Teacher of the Year.
Michael Rhodes: Perris Union High School District Principal of the Year.
Xavier Padilla: Perris Union High School District Counselor of the Year.
Judy Miller: Perris Union High School District Classified Manager of the Year.
Xhochitl Almendarez: Perris Union High School District Teacher of the Year.
Donnis Crawford: Perris Police Rotary Sworn Officer of the Year.
Rose Howard: Perris Police Rotary Classified Employee of the Year.
Barry Busch: Orange Empire Railway Museum Volunteer of the Year.
Virneicia Green Jordan: Legacy of Clarence Muse Award from the Dora Nelson African-American Art & History Museum.
Cheryl Love: Serving Special Needs Community Award from the Dora Nelson African-American Art & History Museum.
Bobby Johnson: Award of Appreciation from the Dora Nelson African-American Art & History Museum.