Good Samaritan Betty Ames awarded Scottsdale’s volunteer impact award

Former Mayor William Schrader and Betty Ames. Mr. Schrader was mayor of Scottsdale from 1962-1964. (photo by city of Scottsdale)

Offering her own shoes to a man in need, donating food to the hungry, running a tortoise rescue and providing help to those in-need just begins to describe the countless ways longtime Scottsdale resident Betty Ames has assisted her community.

Ms. Ames is a long-time volunteer with the city of Scottsdale at the Paiute Neighborhood Center. She began volunteering with the city in 1995.

On Dec. 19, 2017, Ms. Ames was awarded the 2017 William P. Schrader Volunteer Impact Award at the city’s annual Employee Awards program.

Scottsdale’s Volunteer Program Manager Cindi Eberhardt sent the Scottsdale Independent a copy of Ms. Ames’s nomination, which illustrates a lifetime of work assisting others.

“Betty likes to say that she ‘came with the mortgage,’ and has been a volunteer since Paiute opened in 1995,” the nomination states.

“She has spent most of that time volunteering at the Paiute front desk and the former Paiute Senior Center. It is a great joy for Betty to be able to interact with her neighbors and friends.”

Ms. Ames has lived in the Holiday Park neighborhood adjacent to the center since the 1960s, where she has been a tireless crusader to make her neighborhood a better place, and to support and advocate for her neighbors in-need.

“In fact even before Paiute was a neighborhood center Betty and a friend were involved with the organization that evolved into what is now called Shepherds Warehouse. They would distribute food to needy neighbors from under a tree on the grounds at Paiute, real grassroots volunteerism,” the nomination states.

Paiute Neighborhood Center

In addition to volunteering with Scottsdale, Ms. Ames works with two other local nonprofits dedicated to community improvement, works with Urban Outreach and prepares hundreds of food bags on a weekly basis to engage with individuals experiencing homelessness.

“More importantly, however, Betty gets to know the people that come by and then plays the role of advocate, responding to real need that people are expressing,” the nomination states. “Betty, through countless years of service has come to know many of the resources that Scottsdale and surrounding communities offer and she doesn’t hesitate to plug people into the social services network when applicable.”

An example of Ms. Ames dedicated work was displayed a few months ago when she gave a man in-need her shoes. A shoe-less man arrived at Paiute who had not been allowed to board a city bus because of his bare feet. He headed to the Greyhound Bus station to go back home to Kingman, after recently being released from a local hospital.

“While staff was looking around for an appropriate pair of footwear for the gentleman, Betty engaged the man in conversation at the front desk. Betty determined that they wore similarly sized shoes and before staff returned she had given the man the shoes off her feet; in the same vein as ‘the shirt off your back,’” the nomination states.

“When asked later about her generous act Betty quipped: ‘It was the right thing to do … I’m just glad he didn’t come in without pants.’”

She is a past recipient of the Francis Young Award for her volunteer activities. In the summer 1999, Ms. Ames and others from the city of Scottsdale were recognized for their work in the community and she participated as an emissary of community volunteerism on a trip back east to Philadelphia and Washington D.C.

“Betty Ames embodies the spirit of a volunteer. She gives of her time and talents without regard to how it may benefit her,” the nomination states. “She simply cares deeply about those around her. Paiute has, and continues to benefit tremendously from her engaged and compassionate spirit.”

Ms. Eberhardt noted in her email that Ms. Ames gave an inspiration speech at the Dec. 19 awards ceremony, garnering a standing ovation from city employees. The volunteer of the year award was renamed this year after former Mayor Schrader, who attended the ceremony.

Northeast Valley News Editor Melissa Rosequist can be e-mailed at or can be followed on Twitter at

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