Awards & Honors

My heartfelt appreciation to the following organizations, companies, and individuals for taking the time to recognize my passion and dedication to safety in the community. Thank you!

Awards & Honors:

Although out of sequence – I wanted to recognize an exceptional honor given to me on May 12, 2015 – During my time as the Public Information Officer for the City of El Cajon under the outstanding leadership of then-City Manager Douglas Williford. I was very honored to receive a “Certificate of Achievement” from Mayor Bill Wells and the City Council, recognizing my work in safety and as the public information officer for the City of El Cajon.   The certificate was given to me at a City council meeting.

Special Note:  In 2017, I was given one of the nicest compliments by then-City Manager Douglas Williford (pictured). It came during a planning meeting for District Election Workshops in the City.   During an important conference call with Los Angeles officials, Mr. Williford  said, “Since Monica is one of the most highly respected, most credible people in the City, he wanted me to “host” the District Election Community Workshops!” I was surprised and very honored by his statement. In thanking him after the meeting for the compliment, he said, “He was honored to have me represent the City.”  (Thank you, sir, it was an honor working under your professional leadership.)

October 2017CASA – Certificate of Recognition – (CASA – COMMUNITY, ACTION, SERVICE, and ADVOCACY)  This community award and a certificate in recognition of my work in safety from County Supervisor Diann Jacob.

November 5, 2016Senate Certificate of Recognition from Senator Joel Anderson in Honor of California Heroes Month 2016. Given in special recognition for your unyielding dedication to the City of El Cajon through your outstanding service in delivering safety talks to community members during informational events and in celebration of your tireless commitment (since 1984) to helping raise awareness in safety.


June 2, 2016Honorary Degree of Associate of Arts – Grossmont College. Grossmont College confers upon Monica Zech for her Distinguished professional accomplishments and her outstanding service to students and our community.

*I was very honored to receive this degree and for the invitation to be the Keynote Speaker for the Commencement ceremony. A heartfelt thank you to Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District Chancellor Cindy Miles and Grossmont College President Nabil Abu-Ghazaleh for the Honorary Degree and for inviting me to be the Keynote Speaker. I understand this is the first Honorary Degree given in the 55-year history of Grossmont College, and I am truly honored!

November 10, 2015Senate Certificate of Recognition – Outstanding Service- from Senator Joel Anderson. Special recognition of your dedication to promoting safety and disaster preparation through your unyielding commitment to educating and inspiring our community.

May 9, 2015District 5 Toastmasters “Communication & Leadership” Award. Thank you to District Governor Mark Rauschenbach for this award and honor! According to Mr. Rauschenbach, this award is given by the district to a media person, state or local politician, or business person in the community who is an outstanding communicator or leader.

April 30, 2015Molina Healthcare Community Champion Award –  I was honored for 30-plus years of driving safety lectures locally and nationally. Delivering talks to schools, colleges, civic groups, parenting groups, companies, and especially the Military. This event honors unsung heroes who work in our community and inspire others through their selflessness, extraordinary service, and contributions. (Above, (L-R) Heartland Fire Chief Sitta, Anne & Mark Pacheco – (brother & sister-in-law), Helen Pacheco – mother, Monica Zech, Brett Channing – Asst. to the El Cajon City Manager Doug Williford, Sara Ramirez – El Cajon Director of Recreation)

April 2, 2014Lions Club International Foundation Melvin Jones Fellowship AwardHeartland Lions Club. Lions are united worldwide by a great spirit of giving and dedication to helping others. The Lions honor those dedicated and generous members with a nomination to the Melvin Jones Fellowship. A monetary donation accompanies the nomination from the Elburn Lions Club to LCIF. The Lions Club International Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF) supports Lions’ compassionate works by providing grant funding for local and global humanitarian efforts.

March 19, 2014Communities Against Substance Abuse (CASA) – Certificate of Recognition – Of your commitment to improving health and safety in the east region and years of service to Communities Against Substance Abuse as President and on the Board of Directors.

March 24, 2012Delta Kappa Gamma Society InternationalOutstanding Public Service. Honor Society for Women Educators – Eta Theta Chapter. This award was given in honor of my safe driving presentations throughout the County for more than 28 years.

January 24, 2012 – Distinguished Service Award – Official appreciation and congratulations – in recognition of 10 years of service to the community as an employee of the City of El Cajon.

November 5, 2011State of California – Certificate of Recognition – in honor of Outstanding Community Spirit – providing safety information at the East County Family Palooza from Senator Joel Anderson.

November 5, 2011 – State of California – Certificate of Recognition – in honor of Outstanding Community Spirit – providing safety information at the East County Family Palooza from Senator Joel Anderson.

October 16, 2011 – State of California – Certificate of Recognition – for Oustanding Volunteerism – with Communities Against Substance Abuse – from Senator Joel Anderson. Given to Monica Zech at the CASA 5k Event at Mission Trails.

October 8, 2011 – State of California – Certificate of Recognition – for Outstanding Community Dedication – for ten years of dedication to providing the citizens of El Cajon with fire safety and emergency preparedness education. Senator Joel Anderson gave her to Monica Zech at the Annual Fire Expo on October 8, 2011.

2011 – Real Heroes Award for Your Courage, Dedication, and Compassion in Safety Education. From the American Red Cross.

March 8, 2010 – California State Assembly – Certificate of Recognition – from Assemblyman Joel Anderson. In honor of Outstanding Achievement in Safety, for more than 25 years of safe driving presentations in San Diego County.

February 12, 2009Walk San Diego – Golden Footprint Recognition certificate. In recognition of my many years dedicated to pedestrian safety education.


November 14, 2008East County Chamber of Commerce2008 Women In Leadership Award in Media – for my work as the Public Information Officer for the City of El Cajon and as the Safety Educator for the El Cajon Police and Fire Departments.


(above, L-R – El Cajon Fire Chief Mike Scott, Monica Zech, and El Cajon Police Chief Pat Sprecco)

November 14, 2008 – Certificate of Congressional Recognition to Monica Zech for her Women In Leadership “media” award from Congressman Duncan Hunter.

March 26, 2008County Supervisor Dianne Jacob – Letter of congratulations:

Dear Monica,

Congratulations on receiving the “Distinguished Service Award” from the Kiwanis International CAL-NEV-HA District! Your service to the El Cajon community has been an inspiration to many and so greatly appreciated. Thank you for your hard work, dedication, commitment, and involvement, and for making a difference in the community.

Sincerely, Dianne Jacob, Vice Chairwoman, County Supervisor Second District

(Thank you, Supervisor Jacob)

March 15, 2008Kiwanis International – Distinguished Service Award – for my work in safety through safety lectures delivered during 2007. I’ve been providing my safe driving lectures since 1984 throughout the County. I also offer talks on fire prevention and disaster preparedness, hoping to make a difference in the lives of others.

(“Thank you, Fletcher Hills Kiwanis, for nominating me!”)

October 5, 2007American Red Cross – 5th Annual Real Heroes 07′ – Real Hero 07′ Media Award – held at the Town & Country Convention Center in Mission Valley. In honor of my work with the media in safety.



September 23, 2007NATAS – National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences – Lifetime Achievement In Broadcasting Award. The award was to recognize my 25-plus years in news broadcasting. (Joining me in this photo is a good friend and fellow broadcaster, Andy Crossland.)


July 18, 2007 San Diego County Fire Chief’s Association – Fire & Life Safety Educator of the Year Award. In recognition of my work in injury prevention for El Cajon Fire and other Fire agencies throughout the County.

June 12, 2007San Miguel Fire District Award from San Miguel Fire Chief Augie Ghio – was presented to me at the El Cajon City Council Meeting with the following words of appreciation:

“San Miguel Fire District Presents To “Monica Zech” – For your exceptional service and efforts, your attention to detail, and outstanding work ethic have been a positive accomplishment in our agency’s collaborative relationship. Your dedication has not gone unnoticed.

(Above – San Miguel Fire Chief Augie Ghio and Monica Zech)

April 18, 2007Grossmont Healthcare District 2007 – Healthcare Hero award recognizing my work as a “Safety Educator.”  This award acknowledges my work in the safety field, volunteering numerous hours of personal time to educate the public on driving safety. Awards honor those making a difference in East County. Thank you for this honor!

April 18, 2007Proclamation from San Diego County Supervisor Dianne Jacob – in recognition of my Grossmont Healthcare award.

April 18, 2007Congressional Recognition Certificate – from California Congressman Bob Filner – recognizing my Grossmont Healthcare award.

April 18, 2007Congressional Recognition Certificate – from California Congressman Duncan Hunter, recognizing my Grossmont Healthcare award.

April 18, 2007State Senate – Certificate of Recognition – from California Senator Dennis Hollingsworth in recognition of the Grossmont Healthcare award.

April 18, 2007California State Assembly – Certificate of Recognition from Assemblyman Joel Anderson – was given in honor of the Grossmont Healthcare award.

April 18, 2007California State Assembly – Certificate of Recognition from Assemblywoman Shirley Horton – was given in honor of my Grossmont Healthcare award.

September 20, 2006RMSS-Residential Management Support System (RMSS) – Award of Appreciation – thanking me for my commitment and support of their work.

May 12, 2005Auto Theft Advisory Committee (ATAC) – Award of Appreciation – for my commitment to assisting/supporting all law enforcement agencies in their goal of reducing auto theft in San Diego County and for serving as emcee of their annual Officer of the Year awards for numerous years.

March 9, 2005County of San Diego, Health and Human Services Agency, Public Health Services Department – Public Health Champion Award – recognizing my life-saving work as the Safety Educator for the El Cajon Fire Department. This honor recognizes my work in protecting and promoting health and safety throughout San Diego County.

March 13, 2004California State Senate – Certificate of Recognition for duties as a Public Information Officer during the Cedar Fire.

December 1, 2003California State Legislature – Certificate of Recognition – from Assemblyman Jay La Suer of the 77th District. For duties as Public Information Officer during the Cedar Fires.

2003-2004El Cajon Fire DepartmentEmployee of the Quarter – for my work during the Cedar Fire as their Public Information Officer.

July 30, 2003El Cajon Fire Department – AERIAL Award – from El Cajon Fire Chief Ed Jarrell – “For Rising to the Occasion – Above and Beyond the Call” for in my duties as Public Information Officer and Safety Educator for the department.

July 24, 2003San Diego Police Department’s Central Divison Juvenile Services Team – Award of Appreciation – For Outstanding Contribution and Unwavering Support for the Cops And Kids Program – 2001 – 2003.

July 5, 2003Lake Murray Kiwanis – Distinguished Service Award – for my ongoing educational efforts in fire and traffic safety and making a difference!

May 4, 2003 Racers Against Drunk Driving (RADD) – Award of Appreciation  for my work in helping to educate youth to stay away from drugs through “Reach for Dreams, Not Drugs.”

March 12, 2002Area 62 of the Camp Pendelton Marine Base – Award of Appreciation as their keynote speaker on driving safety for their Safety Stand-Down.

December 5, 2001California State Assembly – Certificate of Appreciation – Assemblywoman Ms. Charlene Zettel. Honoring those who protect and serve the citizens of San Diego and recognizing my 18 years as an air traffic reporter, driving safety educator, and Public Information Officer & Safety Educator for the El Cajon Fire Department.

June 9, 2001A.R.C. of San Diego – 2001 Outstanding Volunteer Award. In recognition of support and commitment to persons with developmental disabilities in San Diego’s East County.

February 3, 2001Leukemia & Lymphoma Society – Distinguished Service Award – KEYS Club of the San Diego/Hawaii Chapter. In recognition of my distinguished service in raising funds for research in the nationwide struggle against Leukemia, Lymphoma, and other blood-related cancers. – (This is a personal cause since losing my identical twin sister “Vivian” to Leukemia on February 29, 1968)

August 12, 2000Latino Police Officer’s Association of San Diego County –  2000 “Latina of the Year” award. For my dedicated work on the air and in the community for lectures on injury prevention, including talks to students on alcohol and other drug issues.

2000Leukemia & Lymphoma Society – V.I.P. Award – for fundraising efforts for Man/Woman of the Year.

2000San Diego Radio Broadcasters Association – Life Time Achievement in Community Service. Achievement In Radio – A.I.R. Awards/March of Dimes

1999Granite Hills High SchoolSan Diego Sheriff’s Department. Award of Appreciation with the Every 15 Minutes Program/D.U.I. Awareness Program –

1999City of La Mesa – Commendation Award – for Community Service


1998San Diego Business Journal’sWomen Who Mean Business In Transportation Award – Recognizing my work as an air traffic reporter and driving safety educator.   

1997Women’s Transportation Seminar – W.T.S. Woman of the Year Award – Recognizing work as an air traffic reporter and driving safety educator.

1996Leukemia Society’s Award of Appreciation for my fundraising efforts and community awareness of this disease.


1996J.C. PenneyGolden Rule Community Volunteer Award

1996 White House in Washington DC – Nomination for Presidential Community Service Award.

1995Freedom Foundation – George Washington Medal of Honor – National Award for community service and dedication to safety.

1995San Diego Safety Council – Outstanding Service Award for my dedication to safety.

1995City of Coronado – Distinguished Volunteer Award – for my work in safety and ridesharing.

1995California Office of Traffic SafetyState Safety Award – for my dedicated work in safe driving as a safety educator.

1995CHAD/United Way – Hero Health Award – was given for my community service and dedication to safety.

1995Marine Corps Recruit Depot – Award of Appreciation for dedication to driving safety as guest speaker at their safety stand-downs.

1995 – North Island – Award of Appreciation – as a guest speaker on driving safety at their annual Holiday Safety Stand-Down










1994 – I was honored to be invited as the Special Guest of the second to the last graduating class at the Naval Training Center. Naval officials recognized me for my ongoing military support through my driving safety talks and in honor of my father, a former Navy man (a graduate of NTC), killed two years earlier by a D.U.I. driver.

1994-95MADDOutstanding Volunteer/Speaker/Board Member Award – for dedication in speaking in the community and to the media on the dangers of driving under the influence of alcohol and other drugs and sharing the loss of my father to a D.U.I. driver.

1994County of San Diego -Red Ribbon Citizen Recognition Award – for educating youth on the dangers of alcohol and other drugs in my lectures.

1994San Diego Safety Council – Fred H. Rohr Dedication to Safety Award. (Now the Pacific Safety Council)

1994California Highway Patrol – ATAC Law Enforcement Award of Appreciation

1992-93San Diego Women’s Club – Outstanding Community Service Award.

1991San Diego Fire Chief’s Association – Award of Appreciation – for my work supporting firefighters and promoting overall safety in the community.

1991 – Independence Award of Media Achievement Award from the Community Service Center for Disabilities.

1990-91 – Project Wildlife -Wildlife Ambassador Award – for my support of wildlife preservation in the community.

1991 SAFE – Award of Appreciation – Support of the Service Authority for Freeway Emergencies




1990Governor’s Transportation AwardState of California – was given for my dedication to traffic safety and ridesharing in San Diego County. I was given this award in Sacramento at the State Capitol.


1990Media Access AwardDisability Awareness Award – for Coverage of the N.F.L.’s Disability Ski Race in Colorado for COX Cable.

1990North County Transportation Coalition – Recognition Award for dedication to traffic safety and ridesharing.

1989 – United Way/CHAD – Speaker’s Award

1989San Diego Fire DepartmentAward of Appreciation for support of their fire department.

1988Leukemia Society of America – Award of Appreciation for fundraising and awareness.

1987 Toastmasters – Communication in Media Leadership Award for broadcasting excellence in traffic reporting.

1986ITV – Video Award of Excellence – for Children’s Hospital public service announcement work.

1986North Island Naval Air Station – Humanitarian Award – for my work on driving safety and as an air traffic reporter.

1985San Diego State University – Seat Belt Awareness Award.

1985Golden Mike News AwardFirst Place News Award – First On The Scene News & Traffic Coverage of the San Ysidro Massacre at McDonald’s

1985San Diego Press Club- Two (2) 1st Place Awards – First On The Scene News and Traffic Coverage of the San Ysidro Massacre at McDonald’s on July 18, 1984.

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