Meet Our Volunteers: Russ Mortensen

Service as a Way of Life

Few volunteers at Wells Fargo Center for the Arts are as recognizable as Russ Mortensen. With his full beard and unique style, Russ has been volunteering as an usher for more than twelve years. Russ says that he was “Just looking for something to do and it sounded like fun,” but he’s involved in so much that it’s hard to imagine he is ever bored. Russ is an avid volunteer, while working full-time with the County “fixing whatever breaks”. With a zest for life and a fondness for the arts you might see Russ volunteering with the Sonoma County Museum, his church, the Redwood Empire Food Bank, California Blacksmith Association, the United States Life Saving Association, Sonoma County Regional Parks, Petaluma’s Rivertown Revival, the Lagunitas Beer Circus, or Beerfest supporting Face to Face: Sonoma County’s AIDS support network. He says that volunteering is how he, “finds fulfillment. It’s something I need to do.”

You may also recognize Russ from his time on screen. In his words, he’s been in “a couple movies, six episodes of a TV series and a music video”. The music video was with Sonoma County’s own David Luning, a local singer/songwriter who had a stint on “American Idol.”

After volunteering for so many shows at the Center, Russ now volunteers even if he doesn’t know the artist. “Many times I get to see something new and say ‘Wow! These guys are great!’ and then I’ll start following them.” The experiences and performances Russ has seen at the Center have “opened (his) eyes to the art and music world”. Bethany Moritz, the Center’s Volunteer Supervisor, notes that Russ understands and embodies our mission: “Russ is the ultimate team player.  He is beloved by his peers for his ability to work with people, solve problems, and most importantly make sure our patron’s experiences are the best they can be.  He was the overwhelming nominee by our volunteer corps to be the 2013 “Volunteer of the Year,” which I think speaks volumes about him.”

 

For more information on volunteering at Wells Fargo Center for the Arts, click here.