La Mesa Resident Wins Homeless Work Award

LA MESA -- Rosemary Johnston, former executive director of Interfaith Shelter Network (ISN) and resident of La Mesa will be honored with a Spirit of Service Award for her work in the field of homelessness at ISN’s fall fundraiser called Celestial Nights (formerly known as Sips for Shelter) on Saturday, September 27 from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. The gala will take place at the Chinese Community Church in Tierrasanta, announced Executive Director Trisha Brereton.
At this sixth annual event, numerous local congregational eaders and other heroes of homelessness in San Diego County will be honored for their years of service to the community. The Chinese Community Church of San Diego is located at 4998 Via Valarta, San Diego, CA 92124.
Johnston joined Interfaith Shelter Network in 1997 and held the positions of program director thenexecutive director until her retirement in 2013.
Additionally during the evening’s awards, Kirk Wood of United Church of Christ of La Mesa will accept ISN’s Local Hero Award.
The night’s awardees include the following:
Spirit of Service Awardees:
• Loretta Austin, Phillips Temple C.M.E.
• Jan Bailey, Lutheran Church of the Incarnation
• Rosemary Johnston, Past Executive Director, ISN
• Sister RayMonda DuVall, Marion Keller and Jorge Orozco, Catholic Charities
• Mary MacGillis, Pilgrim United Church of Christ
• Joan McCollom, St. Dunstan’s Episcopal Church
• Joyce Miller, Lutheran Church of the Incarnation
• Angie Moeller, Church of Jesus Christ of LDS – Del Mar Stake
• Joe & Lee Santen, St. James Catholic Church
• Johana Smith, Northminster Presbyterian Church
• Joan Stroh, Chula Vista Presbyterian Church
Local Hero Awardees:
• Brandon Cuevas, United Healthcare
• Sister Margaret Eilerman, The Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange
• Karen Reed, San Diego Woman’s Club
• Tim Warters, Belfor Restoration Company
• Kirk Wood, United Church of Christ of La Mesa
Congregation Awardees:
• Clairemont Lutheran Church – Rev. Jon Doolittle
• College Avenue Baptist Church – Senior Pastor Carlton Harris
• First Presbyterian Church, Oceanside – Pastor Tim Beal
• First United Methodist Church, Chula Vista – Rev. Dr. Brian Parcel
• La Jolla United Methodist Church – Rev. Dr. Walter Dilg
• Our Lady of Grace Catholic Parish, El Cajon – Rev. Peter McGuine

In addition to the awards presentations, the gala will feature gourmet wines and microbrews for guests to sample as well as specially-chosen food pairings for attendees to partake, a raffle as well as live and silent auctions including airline trips, stays at luxurious properties, certificates for meals at upscale restaurants, domestic and imported varietals of wine and much more. Emcees and auctioneers for the event include Frank Parra, Director of Emergency Services, National City and Joe Little, KGTV Channel 10 co-anchor. In addition, Supervisor Greg Cox of the San Diego County Board of Supervisors, District 1, will present the evening’s awards.
All proceeds from “Celestial Nights” will benefit the programs of Interfaith Shelter Network. Tickets can be purchased for $75 (general admission) online at
A unique part of the event, for up to 40 guests, will include a VIP Wine Exploration Table hosted by BradBruce, w ell-known local wine judge. For an additional cost of $50 per person, attendees will have the opportunity before the awards program to sample rare, high-quality international red and white wines.
Founded in 1986, ISN provides a vital safety net for San Diegans who are situationally-homeless due to some sort of housing, health care, financial, job loss, or domestic violence situation. In its 28 years of operation, ISN has provided emergency shelter for more than 8,500 people for more than 218,000 nights, and transitional housing for more than 200 homeless families recovering from domestic violence. Further, the majority of ISN’s guests have left for more permanent housing, have increased their income, and become more self-reliant.
For more information, to purchase tickets, or for volunteer opportunities, contact Interfaith Shelter Network at (619) 702-5399 or visit

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