Annamarie Padula is the 2014 recipient of the Ernie Maxwell Community Spirit Award. Photo by Marshall Smith
Annamarie Padula is the 2014 recipient of the Ernie Maxwell Community Spirit Award.
Photo by Marshall Smith

Town Crier readers voted Pine Cove resident Annamarie Padula recipient of the 2014 Ernie Maxwell Community Spirit Award. The award is given in memory of Town Crier founder, publisher, editor and cartoonist Ernie Maxwell whose community and environmental activism added significantly to the growth and identity of the Hill during its post-World War II heyday.

Begun in 2011, the Emax election asks Town Crier readers to select one of three nominees whose contributions to the community have created tangible benefits for many Hill residents.

Readers selected Padula over fellow nominees Jerry Holldber and Christina Nordella. In recognizing Padula, voters noted her many contributions, including chairing the Pine Cove Property Owners Association which annually awards more than $8,000 to deserving Idyllwild organizations such as the Idyllwild HELP Center, Mile High Radio Club, Idyllwild Tree Lighting Ceremony, Mountain Disaster Preparedness and Animal Rescue Friends of Idyllwild; and volunteer work on behalf of a number of Idyllwild groups including the Mountain Community Patrol, Mountain Disaster Preparedness, the Associates of Idyllwild Arts, the Lemon Lily Festival and the Mountain Quilters of Idyllwild.

Asked why, when there is a need, she steps up to serve, Padula said, “I enjoy it and I like to get involved.” Padula steps forward even when it is outside her comfort zone, as when she agreed to moderate (along with Doug Yagaloff) a political debate between candidates for public office sponsored by the Idyllwild Town Crier. Padula, when asked to serve, protested she had never done so before and was not comfortable in the spotlight. She nevertheless agreed to moderate the debate, held at the Idyllwild Fire Department, and did so with professionalism and distinction.

Padula, talking about how she is comfortable serving the community, said, “If there is a party, I want to be the one in the kitchen preparing food. I’m not comfortable making small talk and don’t want a pat on the back. I just want to give.”

And for her unstinting giving over her years of residence on the Hill, voters acknowledged Padula.

When told by Town Crier Publisher-Editor Becky Clark of her selection, Padula asked what the award meant. She said Clark told her the honor entailed having her name on a plaque in the Town Crier office and the gratitude of the community. Padula smiled and said that was more than enough.