Volunteer Spotlight



Our highest honor, the Big Red Shoe Award recognizes those volunteers, donors, or organizations who have gone above and beyond the call of duty in a heartfelt manner to promote, support, and care for the House and the families who call it home.

To learn more about the Big Red Shoe Award, or make a nomination, contact Jay McCullough, chief development officer, at 650.470.6005 or email  jmccullough@gmail.com.

Past Recipients

2016 - Derrick Diaz

Not all superheroes wear capes, masks, or possess equal powers, but all superheroes have one thing in common: they go above and beyond to help others in need.

For 27 years, Derrick Diaz has been nothing less than a hero to the families and staff who have come to rely on his almost superhuman abilities. Whether changing HVAC filters, driving a golf cart to deliver snacks to players at our annual golf tournament, or tending the wine bar, no task is too large or too small for this unsung hero who is often behind the scenes doing work that many take for granted.

Derrick can always be counted on to arrive early to an event to help with set-up and stay late for breakdown and clean-up. No matter what needs doing, Derrick is always willing to lend a hand with a smile and his distinct laugh.

Over the years, he has become such a familiar figure to our House families that they often mistake him as a member of the staff. Thanks to his long-standing relationship with the House, Derrick is also the guy to go to for historical information about the House -- a valuable resource as we transition and grow.

As a testament to his willingness to do whatever needs doing, Derrick has even been seen rolling the House's Ronald McDonald park-bench down El Camino Real to the House Party! venue. When curious passers-by inquired, Derrick proudly told them about the fundraiser, saying, "Buy a ticket and come, you'll have a great time, and it's for the families, right?"

His enthusiasm for his volunteer work is as obvious as his dedication -- it takes no stretch of the imagination to know that Derrick is happiest when he is helping families in whatever way is needed most. Indeed, his twice-weekly volunteer shifts with the House operations team has become a critical part of the weekly rhythm of making the House function smoothly for both the families and staff alike.
In short, we -- families, staff, and other volunteers -- have come to depend on Derrick, and value his skills and knowledge. We are grateful to call this House hero an integral part of our family. Thank you, Derrick, for being our superhero!

2015 - Kay Sims
2014 - Brad Lyman



Sue Mellberg


Shortly after moving to Menlo Park five years ago, Sue Mellberg first noticed Ronald McDonald House at Stanford while out for a walk in her new neighborhood. A former intensive care nurse, Sue was looking for a way to get involved in her local community and volunteering at the House seemed like a perfect fit. In no time, Sue joined the House team as a volunteer Housewarmer—greeting and assisting House families and visitors alike.

As a former ICU nurse, Sue had witnessed firsthand the struggle families go through on a daily basis when a loved one is hospitalized.

“Sometimes it was very difficult to watch families facing the worst of times,” explains Sue. “I’ve seen families that have nowhere to stay while desperately trying to remain close to the hospital. Having witnessed their pain makes me truly appreciate everything the House does to keep families together under the most difficult of circumstances.”

Due to her warm personality, stellar communication skills, and excellent organizational ability gained from her second career as a management executive in pharmaceutical clinical research, less than a year after joining the House, Sue was the perfect candidate to step in as volunteer chair for the annual gala and take on the responsibility for coordinating and training a large corps of volunteers.

“Being volunteer chair for the gala was a truly challenging experience that required a ton of planning and time,” recalls Sue. “Yet, being newly retired, I relished the opportunity to put my time management skills to good use and work with some wonderful people.”

Sue’s hard work did indeed pay off with a very successful event—so much so that she has served on the gala committee every year since.

In addition to her growing responsibilities assisting with special events, Sue remains a dedicated and reliable Housewarmer, and often helps out with special projects. Her most cherished volunteer moments are the special interactions with the children and families.

“No two days at the House are ever the same—there’s always something new going on, families to greet, and challenges that need solutions,” says Sue. “For me, the most profound part of being a House volunteer is how much my overall perspective on life has changed. Now, I see every day as an opportunity and a precious gift to be cherished and shared with grace and gratitude.”

More stories coming soon!

Every year, our volunteers donate thousands of hours at Ronald McDonald House at Stanford, and we are grateful for their gift of time and talent. For more information on available volunteer opportunities, please visit How You Can Help