Raegene Castle has long been dedicated to volunteerism and bettering the communities of San Mateo County. In a professional capacity she served for 17 years as CFO of a successful insurance brokerage firm that she started with her husband in 1983. She was founding director and co-chairperson of the Sequoia Awards, which recognizes high school seniors for their volunteer and community service efforts and since its inception in 1992 has granted over $1 million in scholarships. Raegene has also been very involved with the Kainos Home and Training Center, a non-profit that provides residential and vocational training to adults with developmental abilities. Raegene’s life changed dramatically when in early 2000, she was hospitalized with meningitis and in coma for seven days. When she woke up, she underwent 37 days of arduous therapy to regain her abilities to walk, speak, and perform tasks she had previously taken for granted. The illness left her completely deaf in one ear and with an 90% loss of hearing in the other. Upon recovering, she became an advocated for people with hearing loss serving as President of the local chapter of Self Help for Hard of Hearing (SHHH), later renamed the Hearing Loss Association (HLA). Raegene served on both the state national boards of HLA, and brought this organization to San Mateo County, where monthly meetings are held at the the Veterans Memorial Senior Center in Redwood City. She also started a “working persons” group that meets on Saturdays to accommodate the needs of those who cannot make midday meetings. Raegene believes that she survived her illness in order to help others, and she demonstrates this belief through her tenacious efforts to benefit the hearing disabled and other residents of San Mateo County.