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Angels look back on banner year

FALLBROOK – It's been a milestone year for the Angel Society and not just because the nonprofit group celebrated its 45th anniversary in June. The Angels have also completed several big projects that have kept them busy throughout the summer and fall.

Kicking off the Angels' to-do list was a remodel of the downstairs area of the Angel Shop, the group's volunteer-run thrift store on Main Avenue. Closed for a week at the end of August, the shop reopened Sept. 5 with freshly painted walls, new flooring, and revamped merchandise displays.

Kathy Gausepohl, board member and Angel Shop chair, supervised the remodel by Tyler McNeil and Jon Davis of McNeil Home Repair. The shop's asphalt parking lot was also repaved and repainted by Coby Hart.

"We couldn't be more grateful for all of their work in making the shop more user friendly," Gausepohl said.

Throughout the fall, the Angels also launched a new logo and website. The logo, designed by Steve Britschgi of Fallbrook Advertising, intertwines the letters A and S beneath a halo. It is a sleek upgrade from the original black-and-white sketch of an Angel created by Dottie Parker, the Angel Society's first president when it was founded in 1978.

The group's website was updated with easy-to-navigate links and includes information about the Angels' history, board of directors, major donors, volunteering, scholarships, Angel Shop information and more. It was designed by Mike Graf, also of Fallbrook Advertising. The new site was launched in November at

This month, the Angels also unveiled their first-ever float in the Chamber of Commerce Christmas Parade. Generously donated by Russ and Michelle Haneline of Fallbrook, the float featured a bubble machine and three 10-foot-tall wood Angels, with room to carry more than a dozen passengers.

The couple were inspired to build the float last December, when they were invited to watch the annual parade in the Angel Shop's parking lot by Gerri Ankerman, a longtime member of the Angel Society's board of directors.

"We just love the organization and what they do for the community," said Michele, who also volunteers at the Angel Shop. "I asked Gerri if the Angels had ever had a float in the parade. She said they had talked about it over the years, but it just never happened."

So, Michelle turned to her husband, Russ, and asked if he'd be willing to take on the project. "I'd be honored," he answered, estimating the woodwork, painting and installation took up to 15 hours to complete. "He never ceases to impress me," Michelle added.

Several grandchildren of Angel board members rode in the float, marched alongside, or volunteered to carry the Angels' new banner. The banner was created by Jim's Sign Shop, along with two new signs for the Angel Shop's exterior that will be installed this month.

"The Angel Society is excited to support our Fallbrook community in every way," said Kelly Bednarski, Angel Society president. "Thanks to Russ and Michelle, our ingenious float builders, we had our first-ever Christmas Parade float, which was the most festive way to promote our charitable endeavors during the Christmas season."

The Angel Society's fiscal year began on May 1 and continues through April 30, 2024. During the first half, from May through December, the group's board of directors approved a total of $134,392 in monetary donations to local nonprofits and other worthy causes.

Recipients included local elementary schools, along with the Bonsall Women's Athletic Department and San Onofre Culinary Arts. Several athletic and other programs at Fallbrook Union High School also received much needed funds, including the PTSA Hardship Fund, MCJROTC and the Student of the Month program.

Funds were also awarded to the following Fallbrook nonprofits: Animal Sanctuary, Animal Kind, Beautification Alliance, Fires Safe Council, Food Pantry, Foundation for Senior Care, Good Dog, HOPE Clinic, Land Conservancy, Friends of the Fallbrook Library, Live Oak Park Coalition, Music Society, Pop Warner Football, REINS Hoedown, REINS Charity Golf Tournament, Sport's Association at Ingold Park, Trails Council, Village Association and VFW.

In addition, six North County area organizations also received monetary funds. They are Be Well Therapy, Bonsall Women's Christmas Tree Luncheon, Canine Companions, Palomar College Foundation, SD Lions Gift of Sight and Wounded Warrior Homes.

The Angel Society welcomed four new members to its board of directors this year: Bonnie Amick, Heidi Chance, Mah-Jhey Fish, and Diane Pearson. There are a total of 34 board members.

The Angel Shop operates five days a week and is closed Sundays and Mondays. It is run entirely by volunteers who are members of the Angel Society. Persons interested in volunteering at the Angel Shop must be referred by a member and pay a membership fee of $20.

For more information about the Angel Shop and the Angel Society, visit

Submitted by the Angel Society.


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