Past Fernando Award Recipients
The Fernando Award is the only award in the San Fernando Valley that recognizes the Spirit of Volunteerism. The Fernando Award Foundation believes that through volunteering, you can be a positive influence on young lives, help older individuals remain independent in their own homes, clean up the environment, offer your professional skills to local nonprofit groups, and lend your talents to strengthening our communities in countless ways.
Besides recognizing noteworthy community volunteers each year, The Fernando Awards also awards 11 scholarships to students who have been leaders of volunteering in their schools, inspiring a new generation of philanthropy.
The first girl to be elected Student Body President in her elementary and junior high school, Jane Skeeter embraced community service from a very young age. From the numerous honors she has received for her entrepreneurship and leadership to her dedicated volunteerism, she has continued to leave her unique mark on the San Fernando Valley and the greater Los Angeles region. With a commitment to sustainability, honed at the award-winning company she built, and a passion for nurturing feature leaders, she has lent her expertise and her drive to economic development, environmental programs, and educational enrichment in the San Fernando Valley.
According to one associate, Diana is “the consummate volunteer that every organization wishes they could clone.” She is always the first to volunteer for a project or event. She has been involved with many organizations including the Mid-Valley YMCA, Encino Chamber of Commerce, Valley Presbyterian Hospital, Valley Family Center, Greater San Fernando Valley Chamber of Commerce, The Valley Economic Alliance, Greater Van Nuys Rotary and Valley Cultural Center.
On October 7th, Bill Allen, CEO of LAEDC became the 60th recipient of the Fernando award, which has since 1959 been the most prestigious award for civic stewardship and volunteer service to the community in the San Fernando Valley.
“I am deeply humbled by this recognition, particularly because I work every day at the LAEDC with so many other civic stewards and community volunteers who inspire me as they help us collectively advance opportunity and prosperity for all of our neighbors across the region.“
LAEDC thanks the Fernando Award Foundation for this well deserved recognition for Bill Allen, and for the Foundation’s work celebrating volunteer service for many important causes in the region.
Allen’s name will be etched in the base of the Fernando monument located in the Van Nuys Civic Center and on a marble obelisk in Warner Center Park, along with the names of prior award recipients.
“One thing we see in all the great leaders in the San Fernando Valley is the ability to listen,” said Ravel, a Valley resident for more than three decades.
Levinson has also served as president of Yes ICAN, the International Child Abuse Network that aims to break the silence and cycle of abuse, while chairing its largest annual fundraiser, “Strike Against Child Abuse.” He has also volunteered for a number of other organizations, including Grandparents as Parents, the American Red Cross, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and the West Valley YMCA.
Martin Cooper, a San Fernando Valley philanthropist and volunteer at non-profits for more than three decades, is the 56th recipient of the Fernando Award, considered the Academy Award for volunteerism in the community.
Cooper, 73, received the award Saturday evening during a black-tie dinner at the Globe Theater at Universal Studios Hollywood attended by more than 300 people.
He was selected from a field of nine nominees for the award that’s been presented since 1959 by the Fernando Award Foundation Inc.
Nancy was nominated by the North Valley Regional Chamber of Commerce and Richard Leyden, a member of the Fernando Board of Directors.
2011—Gary M. Thomas *
The 53rd Fernando Award Annual Recognition Reception, was held onFriday, December 2, 2011, to honor Gary M. Thomas, 2011 Fernando Award Recipient. The prestigious Fernando Award is the highest honor for volunteerism and civic accomplishment in the San Fernando Valley.
Gary M. Thomas is Senior Vice President and Creative Director of Aaron, Thomas & Associates in Chatsworth, a company specializing in creative consulting, graphic design, printing and direct mail services to the political sector and the general corporate market throughout the United States. Gary’s community service and volunteerism has spanned over 37 years and has involved Chambers of Commerce, organizations that have political impact on the San Fernando Valley, anti-gang programs, youth development organizations, leadership and business impact programs and non-profit organizations. He has helped raise over $5 million for the nearly 30 non-profit organizations he has served in leadership positions. Gary is responsible for creating many innovative fundraising methods among Valley non-profits. He has served on the Board of the Boys & Girls Club of the West for the last 13 years and is currently Chairman of the Board for the fifth year. Gary has served in leadership positions with the Economic Alliance of the San Fernando Valley; United Chambers of the San Fernando Valley; the Valley Business Corps; and The Wellness Community for the Valley and Ventura. He has been active with the San Fernando Valley Business Advisory Commission and the San Fernando Valley Charitable Foundation.
Johnson, a Sherman Oaks resident, on Friday night became the 52nd recipient of the Fernando Award in recognition of his more than half a century of volunteer work in the San Fernando Valley.
“Just being part of the 2010 class is reward enough,” Johnson said after being named the winner at the annual Fernando Award dinner at the Warner Center Marriott attended by 240 people.
“The other men and woman who made that final group are people who have made a great contribution for a number of years in the Valley and around our city.”
Johnson, who won the decathlon at the 1960 Olympics in Rome, said he has followed news of the award for years and realizes that it is not given for fleeting efforts nor does the winner fade into the background.
Honda, a Northridge resident and president of D.S. Honda Construction Inc., was selected from a field of five candidates.
Bruce Ackerman, president of the Fernando Awards Foundation Board of Directors, praised all of the finalists.
“Just to be nominated for this award is a unique compliment,” said Ackerman, who is also president and chief executive officer of the Economic Alliance of the San Fernando Valley. “You are all winners and we all owe you a great debt.”
2008—50 Valley Organizations
American Cancer Society
Animal Safe Haven Foundation
Blind Children’s Center
Boy Scouts of America, W. LA County Council
Boys & Girls Club of the San Fernando Valley
Boys & Girls Club of the West Valley
Child & Family Guidance Center
Child Development Institute
Circle of Care Leeza’s Place
El Proyecto Del Barrio
Encino-Tarzana Hospital Charitable Foundation
Goodwill Industries – Southern California
Grandparents as Parents
Habitat for Humanity – SF/SC Valleys
Hathaway Sycamore Child & Family Services
Haven Hills for Domestic Abuse
International Child Abuse Network (Yes ICAN)
Jeopardy – Mid Valley
Jeopardy – West Valley
King’s College & Seminary
Kiwanis Clubs of Canoga Park & Northridge
LAPD Devonshire PALS
New Directions for Youth
Olive View Medical Center Foundation
Pacific Lodge Youth Services
Penny Lane Centers
Project GRAD – LA
Ride On Therapeutic Horsemanship
San Fernando Valley Symphony
SFV Girl Scouts Council, Inc.
SFV Interfaith Council, Inc. (VIC)
The Executives-Jewish Home for the Aging
The Valley Fair
Tierra del Sol Foundation
Toys for Tots
Valley Cultural Center
Valley Family Center
Valley Women’s Center
West Valley Boosters
West Valley PALS
Winnetka Community Foundation
Woodland Hills Rotary Foundation
YMCA – Mid Valley
YMCA – North Valley
YMCA – Verdugo Hills
Gloria Pollack has worked as the Gelb Group’s community liaison for 10 years – but she has done much more than that. She has kept her life lessons as a teacher and brings organization and instruction to every event she runs, every committee she chairs and every person she meets.
Originally from New York, Pollack attended NYU and then began teaching. Upon her move to California she worked for Time Warner Communications. It is said that not much gets done in the Valley without Pollack having a hand in it. Whether it is the Armand Arabian Awards, Fernando Awards, ONEgeneration events and many more, Pollack is
an instrumental part of the Valley and its nonprofits and programs. She is the person organizations go to for sponsors, emcees, celebrities, nominees and answers to all of their questions.
Pollack’s name is synonymous with volunteerism and philanthropic leadership in the San Fernando Valley. Her wise and experienced stewardship has graced many boards and organizations, including her longstanding tenure with Child Development Institute. Her extensive professional experience and current role as community liaison at the Gelb Group, has positioned her as a driving force behind community-building across the Valley.
Pollack has been the recipient of many awards, including the Fernando Award, Woman of the Year of the San Fernando Valley in 2013 and one of the Business Journal’s Valley 200 most influential people.
2006 Armand Arabian*
Former California Supreme Court Justice Armand Arabian, 71, told The MetNews upon receiving the recognition was a “very touching experience.”
He explained: “You do things from the heart and most of the time there’s no acknowledgement of it, and it’s not expected. This [honor] is very meaningful to me because most of my adult life has been centered around the Van Nuys Civic Center.”
Upon his admission to the State Bar in 1962, he worked for a year as a deputy district attorney in Van Nuys and then entered private practice in that city until then-Gov. Ronald Reagan appointed him to the Municipal Court there in 1972. He was later elevated by Reagan to the Superior Court and remained in Van Nuys for 10 years, including service as supervising judge before then-Gov. George Dukemejian appointed him to the Second District Court of Appeal in 1983.
After six years as an associate justice on the Supreme Court from 1990 to1996, Arabian set up an office across from the Van Nuys Civic Center, where he works as a private judge for ADR Services, Inc.
At the award ceremony, Arabian was recognized for being a national leader in the reform of rape laws, specifically for his work in bringing about recognition of the sexual assault counselor-victim privilege.
The justice said his work in rape reform sparked his desire to be involved in the community: “I was somewhat isolated in my 24 years of service on the court, but the work that I did in rape reform which was outside my judicial duties took me into a world of seeing pain and need,” he said. “After I left the court, I’ve been gone for 10 years, I’ve become far more involved.”
He is involved in the presentation of various awards and scholarships that encourage community service, such as the “Armand Arabian Leaders in Public Service” awards and scholarships presented annually by the Encino Chamber of Commerce.
In 1999, he donated funds to create Lawyers Resource Centers in the Van Nuys and San Fernando superior courthouses.
A New York native and the son of Armenian immigrants who survived the Turkish Genocide, Arabian graduated from Boston University and Boston University School of Law. He also holds a master of laws degree from the University of Southern California.
He said his legacy is demonstrating that “there’s always something to be done if you have the heart and soul to accomplish it.”
“There is no such thing as ‘I didn’t know where to put myself,’” he said. “I always summarize it by the phrase, ‘Make a difference.’ Everyone can make a difference if they choose to.”
2005 J. Richard Leyner*
Leyner held numerous leadership positions at Valley charities and business organizations. He was a past president of the Encino Chamber, former chairman of the United Chambers in the San Fernando Valley and the founding president of the Encino Neighborhood Council. At the time of his death he was serving as the director of finance for the United Chambers and the president of the Encino Business Improvement District, as well chairman emeritus of the Child Development Institute.
2004 Karl L. Boeckmann*
2003 Robert L. Scott
Robert Scott serves as a public policy resource, managing, advising and educating businesses, non-profits, cities and communities in strategic planning, organization and outreach. He has over 30 years of experience in legal and legislative matters, developing special projects, managing initiatives, and conducting research. His authoritative works emphasize actionable and effective implementation strategies. He is deeply involved in public policy issues, appearing frequently in the media and lecturing at various forums and symposia. Scott is executive director of the Mulholland Institute.
45th Annual Fernando Award – 2003 recipient – Founded in 1959, “the Fernando Award is the highest award for volunteerism and philanthropy in the San Fernando Valley. It is supported by the valley chambers of commerce, civic and philanthropic organizations, entrepreneurs and corporations.”
Stanley Lintz Award – 1999 recipient – The San Fernando Valley Bar Association’s recognition for “service to the community and to the legal profession”
Harmon G. Ballin Award – 2002 recipient – the Valley Industry & Commerce Association award “for leadership and community service”
SurveyLA Historic Resources Committee – Committee Member – With support from the J. Paul Getty Trust, and a mission to identify, catalog and protect historic resources in the Los Angeles area
State of California Small Business Advisory Commission – Commissioner 2000-2004
State of California 51st Agricultural District – Board Member 2006-2008 – The district is involved in staging the agricultural activities and fairs. Responsible for three-million dollar relocation efforts
Walter Mendenhall Man of the Year – (Daily News) award to cite “that man or woman who gave most unselfishly to make the town a better place in which to work and live” 1975
Community Leadership Award, Southland Regional Association of Realtors, 2002
American Institute of Architects – National Award Winner, Panorama City Concept Plan, AIA Component
Award – Government Affairs Overall Program – in conjunction with the valley AIA chapter, AIA, 2005
National Merit – U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development – Vitalize Van Nuys (Valley Economic Development Center), 1984
200 Most Influential Business Leaders in the San Fernando, Santa Clarita, Coñejo and Antelope valleys, San Fernando Valley Business Journal, 2001
25 Most Influential Business Leaders in the San Fernando Valley, San Fernando Valley Business Journal, 2016 Four decades of recognition at federal, state and local levels by elected officials, cities and other jurisdictions.
2002 Ruth Richter*
Richter, a Winnetka resident and owner of West Valley Cycles Sales Inc., died late last month after a two-year battle with cancer, her daughter, Ruth Richter Stever, said.
She was 89.
She spent more than 60 of those years supporting causes like public safety and transportation in the West San Fernando Valley. Richter and her husband Jay moved to Winnetka from Oak Forest, Ill., in 1950 and created West Valley Scooter Sales at 20212 Saticoy St. In 1956 the store began selling BMW Motorcycles and today it is the oldest continuous BMW bike dealer in the country, according to the store’s website.
That venture led to community activism. The closest state motor vehicle office for the Richters and their customers was in Van Nuys so Ruth Richter began pushing for one in neighboring Canoga Park. As would often become the case, she got her way. “She just started harassing people and when my mom harassed people they listened and things usually got done,” Stever said. “Mom was just always the type of person that if she saw a need she filled it, period. No one ever had to ask her to do it.”
Richter was also a transportation advocate and former Mayor Tom Bradley appointed her to the Rapid Transit District Board of Directors. Richter was also active in Our Lady of the Valley Church and School. She was also a member of the founding families of St. Joseph the Worker Parish, volunteering in many positions from mimeographing weekly bulletins to organizing bake sales.
In 2003 Richter received the Fernando Award, the highest recognition for volunteerism in the Valley. Former award winner Gloria Pollack had been friends with Richter for nearly two decades. “She was a very strong woman and very well respected,” Pollack said.
In addition to Stever, Richter is survived by her husband of 70 years, Jay, 90; another daughter Delauris Richter Watson and grandson Jay Carlson.
2001 Rose Goldwater*
Rose Goldwater likes to say that if you’re the right person for a job, you’ll get it done. That is true of the community activist herself, who was the first woman to serve as president of the Woodland Hills and United Chambers of Commerce.
“I like to put the fire under projects, to get them going, but honestly, I couldn’t have accomplished what I have without the help of others,” said Goldwater, 68. “The people who work with me share my dreams.”
Goldwater’s tireless work for countless organizations has earned her the prestigious Fernando Award, which annually honors one Valley person for outstanding community service.
The Woodland Hills resident, a retired businesswoman, also helped launch construction of a $1-million activities building at Pacific Lodge Youth Services in Woodland Hills. It houses a weight room, gymnasium and art room and serves about 200 teenage boys a year.
“Knowing that I’ve made a positive difference gives me great satisfaction,” Goldwater said.
2000 Rickey M. Gelb
The commencement of Gelb Group began with Gelb Enterprises established in 1971 and growing consistently into numerous commercial Real Estate companies. Spearheaded by the Gelb family and their ambition to create a quality community, Gelb Group and its family of companies has evolved into a pillar in the history of many San Fernando Valley landmarks and community projects.
For over a decade Gelb Group has managed, invested in and developed more than 1.2 million square feet of Real Property in its Portfolio and continuously growing.
1999 Lee Kanon Alpert
1998 Walter Mosher, PhD
Dr. Mosher, a native Californian, was born in Los Angeles and has resided in the San Fernando Valley most of his life. He was the founder of Precision Dynamics Corporation in 1956. The company was established to manufacture and distribute products in the health care field. He has served as President of Precision Dynamics Corporation from 1957 to 2002. From 2002 to 2011 Dr. Mosher served as a Director for Precision Dynamics Corporation.
During the period 1956 through 1971, Dr. Mosher was a student and faculty member of UCLA. During his tenure as a faculty member, he served as a Director of the Urban Ecology and Transportation Group at the Institute of Transportation and Traffic Engineering. He also was a lecturer in the School of Architecture and Urban Planning. Prior to his lectureship, he served on the committee that established the School of Architecture and Urban Planning at UCLA. He has also served on other faculty committees at various times.
While at UCLA, Dr. Mosher also served as a consultant to the Federal Government in its initial activities associated with setting up the National Highway Safety Bureau in the Department of Transportation. In this consulting activity, he reported to the Deputy Director of National Highway Safety Bureau. Dr. Mosher also served as a consultant to Systems Development Corporation on their traffic flow theory research program.
In 1969, Dr. Mosher resigned from the University of California to complete his doctorate studies receiving his degree in 1971 from the School of Engineering. His fields of specialization are applied mathematics, computer technology and transportation flow theory.
In 1971, Dr. Mosher assumed full-time management of Precision Dynamics Corporation. At that time annual sales were approximately $600,000. Sales increased to 180 million by 2011. The company celebrated its 50th anniversary in July 2006. Dr. Mosher holds several patents in the patient identification field and has numerous publications in the field of highway safety and traffic flow theory. Dr. Mosher retired from Precision Dynamics in 2012.
While managing Precision Dynamics in addition to his responsibilities at Precision Dynamics Corporation, Dr. Mosher was a member of or served on the Board of various organizations which include: Board of Directors of HIMA(now AdvaMed), Board of Directors and Past Chair of the Valley Industry Commerce Association (VICA), Board member of Valley Economic Development Center, Board Member Health Industry Business Communications Council (HIBCC), Board member of the San Fernando Police Advisory Council, Founder of the Mobile Technology Laboratory program, Editorial Advisory Board member of the Medical Device & Diagnostic Industry (MDDI), Board member of Fernando Award Foundation, Advisory Board member of the Economic Alliance, Board member of West Hills Homeowners Association, Pierce College Foundation Board member, Woodbury University School of Business Advisory Board member, Board member of the Valley Family Center, Emeritus/Honorary Board Member of Hathaway-Sycamores, and a member of the Board of Trustees of Woodbury University. Dr. Mosher remains active with many of these originations today.
Dr. Mosher was a founding member and served as a Director for the Health Industry Manufacturers Association (HIMA), now known as AdvaMed, for 15 years and was also a member of the Technical and Regulatory Committee from its inception until 2008. He was a past member of the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) Regional Advisory Council, Past Board member of the Uniform Code Council (UCC), past member of Holy Cross Hospital Development Board serving as Vice Chair in 1990.
Dr. Mosher has been the recipient of many awards for distinguished community service and volunteerisms throughout his illustrious career including the Nelle Reagan Award from Olive View-UCLA Medical Center Foundation in 1996, the prestigious Fernando Award in 1998, the Anti-Defamation League Valleys Distinguished Community Service Award in 1999, as well as the Harmon Ballin Community Service Award from VICA in 2001. In 1996 he was honored to be an Olympic Torch Runner. In 2010 he received an Honorary Doctor of Business Administration from Woodbury University. In 1998 he received the Fernando Foundation Award.
Dr. Mosher set an example for others with his many years of community involvement. Through his Foundation he still actively supports many organizations including MEND, Hathaway-Sycamore Child and Family Services, Tierra Del Sol Foundation, the Valley Cultural Center, Pierce College Foundation, Woodbury University Foundation, One Generation, Betty Ford foundation, Valley Family Center, Fernando Awards Foundation, and New Horizons.
1997 Phillip “Flip” Smith*
1996 Nancy L. Schmidt
1995 Bud Brown*
Burgess Byron Brown – a.k.a. “Bud Brown” passed away on June 1, 2023 at the age of 89. He was the beloved husband of Althea Brown, the father of David and Daniel Brown, and the brother of Joy and Jackie Ellithorpe.
Hamer Toyota, in Mission Hills. Bud became the Treasurer of Lee Hamer Memorial Charities, which enabled him to continue his passion and Hamer’s mission to provide help and support to those in need.
Bud was born on July 27, 1933 in East St. Louis, Illinois, where he lived until his parents, Burgess Byron Brown Sr. and Gilda Mae Gable Brown moved the family to Los Angeles in 1936. At
the age of seven, Bud started attending Sunday school at South La Brea Foursquare Church, where he met five-year-old Althea May Ream who told her mom that one day she was going to marry a boy in her Sunday school class. In 1956 it became true when Bud married Althea, the love of his life.
After graduating from Dorsey High School in 1951, Bud went to work as a carpenter for a roofing company and was then drafted into the Army in 1953 and served his two years of military service in Germany.
Bud began his career with GTE in 1956 as a cable-splicer. In 1967 their son David was born and in 1971 their son Daniel was born. Bud was a devoted family man who especially enjoyed performing handyman duties around the house with his son David. Bud took the family on annual excursions to Disneyland and vacations to Lake Tahoe, where they went water skiing and boating while simply enjoying the beauty of the lake and surrounding mountains.
Bud taught his sons good life values (don’t lie, cheat, or steal), and always encouraged the benefit of studying hard, getting good grades and a good education. Bud was the sort of man who led by example, and his strong work ethic was passed down to his kids, always encouraging them to put forth their best effort in anything they would do.
Bud was promoted into the position of District Manager/Community Relations at GTE. This was the position that spurred his interest in community service and he became involved with a variety of non-profit organizations, working alongside others for the betterment of the community.
He retired from GTE in May of 1993 and continued his love for the community as he started his new career in June, 1994 as the Public and Community Relations Manager at
Although he was deeply involved in volunteerism and supporting the San Fernando and neighboring valleys, Bud never sought the spotlight. He had such an enormous spirit of generosity and so much love to share that he lit up any room he entered and others sought his leadership and mentorship.
Bud had a true passion for helping less well- known organizations who were quietly working to improve the lives of our community’s most disadvantaged individuals. He had enormous empathy for people … people who could really use a little help to have a better life … and he worked tirelessly to help improve their lives.
One of these organizations is Tierra Del Sol, who Bud became involved with in the 1980s. He poured his heart and soul into the organization and improving its programs, services, facilities and community profile. His tireless efforts led to raising a million dollars to “Burn Tierra’s Mortgage,” and he helped Tierra mature as a community based organization by bringing so many successful and highly respected community leaders into service as board members, advisors and as employment partners.
In addition to his work for Tierra, Bud also served on the board of numerous organizations such as New Directions For Youth, Holy Cross Medical Center, Los Angeles Mission College, San Fernando Valley Community Foundation, and Goodwill Southern California, to name a few. He also received a number of honors including the Fernando Award for volunteerism in 1995, Olive View-UCLA Medical Center’s Nelle Reagan Award for Distinguished Community Service in 2002, and dozens of awards from a variety of non-profit organizations.
Bud retired from Hamer Toyota in 2011. During retirement, Bud liked to spend time puttering around his backyard, trimming his roses and watering his plants and trees. He loved sports and one of his favorite pastimes was going to Dodgers games. He and Althea also enjoyed lunch and dinner dates with close friends.
1994 Clyde F. Porter*
Clyde Porter, 79, a philanthropist who supported cultural activities in the San Fernando Valley, died Tuesday of brain cancer at home in Hidden Hills, his wife, Nancy, said.
Porter went to work in the 1950s with his father at P.L. Porter Co., which made reclining seats for cars and airplanes, and opened the company’s aerospace division in Woodland Hills.
In 2000 the nonprofit foundation he started bought a former Masonic lodge in Canoga Park, renovated it and turned it into the West Valley Playhouse, a home for community theater. For years, he helped support free concerts at Warner Center Park in Woodland Hills.
He also donated time and money to Haven Hills, a center for victims of domestic violence, and in 1994 was awarded the Fernando Award for his volunteer efforts in the Valley.
Born Sept. 9, 1926, in Santa Monica, Porter attended UCLA before earning an engineering degree at the University of Idaho.
1993 Robert M. Neiman*
The company was founded by Robert M. Neiman and Robert L. Reed. The two company founders met in the U.S. Marine Corps during World War II, fighting in many battles in the South Pacific, including assaults at Gaudacanal, Kwajalein Atoll, Rio, Namir, Saipan, Tinian, and Iwo Jima. Mr. Neiman rose to the rank of Colonel and Robert Reed was his tank battalion’s executive officer. It was during this period they developed a very close personal relationship and decided, that upon leaving the Marines, they would do well to go into business together.
1992 Kenneth B. Worthen*
Kenneth B. Worthen, an innovative, compassionate and highly regarded San Fernando Valley community leader and 1992 Fernando Award honoree, died Saturday, July 22 of natural causes. He was 95 years old. Ken was born on September 6, 1921 in St. Paul, Minnesota. After moving to the San Fernando Valley and graduating from Burbank High School, Ken served his country in the Pacific and China during World War II. He retired from military service as a Captain in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve.
He was an executive at the Southern California Gas Company, retiring in 1991 after 40 years of service in activities including marketing, public relations, public affairs and community economic development. Ken served on the boards of many local nonprofit organizations, as well as many task forces on issues of concern in Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley, raising millions of dollars for local charities in the process. He was elected to the El Proyecto del Barrio, Inc. Board of Directors in 1985, where he served with distinction until his death. He was El Proyecto’s Board Chair from 1994 to 2008. During his chairmanship, El Proyecto broadened its mission by expanding its self-owned facilities to include active health clinics and/or human services programs in Arleta, Winnetka, Sun Valley, Panorama City and Azusa. “El Proyecto del Barrio and the hundreds of thousands of individuals and families we serve owe a huge debt of gratitude to the leadership, kindness, vision and dedication of Ken Worthen,” said El Proyecto President/CEO Corinne Sánchez. “He spent his life helping underserved populations throughout the San Fernando Valley and beyond. He put his whole heart and soul into helping others, and we will be forever grateful for the tremendous impact he and his wife Helen Madrid-Worthen have had in building El Proyecto from a small community clinic to one of the leading nonprofit organizations in Los Angeles County.
He was a truly great leader, and an even greater human being.” In addition to his more than three decades of service on the El Proyecto Board, Ken was a founder and long-term board member of the Los Angeles Valley College Foundation (formerly the Patrons Association). He served on the New Directions for Youth Board since its inception. He was also a past president of the Van Nuys Area Chamber of Commerce and Mid-Valley Rotary and also headed the Valley Economic Development Center, Mid-Valley YMCA and the Southern California Swimming Association Boards. Ken was a stalwart contributor to Rotary International charitable projects in the U.S. and abroad. As an aside, he also acted in many local theatre productions over the years. These were just some of the many community contributions that led to Ken being honored as the Fernando Award Winner for 1992. The Fernando Award is considered the highest honor a San Fernando Valley resident can receive. It is awarded annually to the citizen judged to have done the most to improve the quality of life of San Fernando Valley residents. Among the many other honors he has received are March of Dimes Volunteer of the Year; Listing in Who’s Who of U.S. Economic Development; The Greater Los Angeles 5-County Chamber of Commerce Award for outstanding contributions to Southern California Economic Development, the Amateur Athletic Union Award for advancing the sport of “swimming in the Southland’, the El Proyecto del Barrio Spirit Award for his decades of inspirational leadership; and the Greater Van Nuys Rotary “Service Above Self” Award, which was presented to Ken in 2016.
Ken also served his country with distinction during World War II and beyond as a Captain in the U.S. Marine Corps. During the war, he was first stationed on Guam, later on Okinawa, where he devised new tank tactics that saved the lives of many Marines who were engaged in one of the fiercest battles of the war. Ken next served in Northern China, where he witnessed the surrender of 30,000 Japanese troops. He retired from the Marine Corps Reserves in 1959. For his valor, he was awarded the Navy Presidential Citation and the Asia-Pacific Campaign Award with two Combat Stars. He lived in Woodland Hills with his wife, Helen. Between them they have three sons, three daughters, six grandsons and five granddaughters. The Worthen family requests donations in memory of Ken be made to one of his three favorite charities: El Proyecto del Barrio Foundation, New Directions for Youth, or Los Angeles Valley College Foundation.
1991 David W. Fleming
In 2014, he was given the LA Chamber’s Civic Medal of Honor – the highest award given to a resident of the City of Los Angeles for a lifetime or outstanding civic achievements.
1990 Samuel Greenberg*
An 81-year-old businessman and philanthropist was given the Fernando Award on Friday for significantly improving the San Fernando Valley.
Sam Greenberg, a lifelong Van Nuys resident who owns Sam’s U-Drive Rentals on Oxnard Boulevard and is a Los Angeles airport commissioner, is the award’s 32nd recipient. Every year since 1958, a group of Valley business leaders has honored a Valley resident they chose for making a significant contribution to the community.
Greenberg was chosen this year in part because he contributed $1.3 million to building a cafeteria for New Horizons, a nonprofit Sepulveda organization for the mentally retarded.
1989 Lee Hamer*
1988 Fred M. Thomas*
1987 Clark Drane*
Entrepreneur with a love for public service For Clark Davis Drane it all began on a farm near Columbia, Missouri, where he was born in 1921. He died last week at the end of a life well-lived. In between, he faced the Great Depression, served in the United States Navy during World War II with two combat tours of duty in the Pacific, built a thriving insurance business with offices in Tujunga and Encino; all the while dedicating his life to his family. Selflessly committed to helping others, he was honored during his nearly 50 years of service by Governors, Senators, Mayors, County Supervisors, Chiefs of Police and many San Fernando Valley organizations for his deep involvement and successes in serving the community. With his wife, Mildred, the Dranes were active workers within their community of the San Fernando Valley on virtually every level. They gave liberally to schools, church and community groups. A brief glimpse at his life-long activities includes his deep involvement and founding of the United Chambers of Commerce. He was a vital force in the Northwest Valley Associated Chambers of Commerce, serving on the Board of Directors and virtually every office before being elected its President.
In 1987, Clark was given the prestigious Fernando Award for his volunteerism and civic accomplishments in the San Fernando Valley. As long as anyone can remember, Clark Drane was actively involved in public service as an appointee of the Mayor, the County and the Governor and had the ear of nearly every elected official in the valley. For 25 years, he served Governor Deukmejian on the Regional Water Quality Control Board and Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich on the County’s Water Appeals Board. He served as City and County Commissioner and worked for many years on the Los Angeles Board of Zoning Appeals He was also awarded numerous titles and awards for his continuing efforts to help youth organizations, including the Boy Scouts, the YMCA (where he was Chairman of the Steering Committee), and the Verdugo Hills Booster Club sponsored youth sports activities. Owing to is his firm dedication to education; Clark was on the original committee to bring a state university to the San Fernando Valley, which led to the foundation of California State University at Northridge. Add to this his leadership with the prestigious San Fernando Valley Business and Professional Association and you will get a modicum of his involvement on a business level. He served two years as the president of this group, which annually sponsors the Valley-wide Prayer Breakfast, attracting more than 1000 leaders each year.
Though the changes during his lifetime were staggering, he engaged them and provided thoughtful commentary to his family, friends and associates that was based on his faith in the human spirit. “My deep-rooted commitment to try and help is rooted in the adversity of the Great Depression. By helping each other during one dollar a day labor, and surviving, provided me with a lifelong lesson that working together, we can accomplish everything. It’s all about people and helping others. It’s as simple as that.” Clark Drane was especially proud of his wife’s involvement in volunteerism.
At the end of the day they frequently celebrated their time together enjoying a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon. Clark and Mildred remained active in the Tierra del Sol Foundation, an organization serving the community by enabling individuals with disabilities to establish meaningful and productive lives.
He is lovingly remembered by his wife, Mildred Jansen Drane; daughters, Mary Matza and Susan Carpenter; his sons-in-law, Joe Matza and David Carpenter; grandchildren, Tia Didden, Daria Matza and Clark Carpenter; and great-grandchildren, Diego Didden, Niko Didden and Sienna Devendorf.
1986 Jane Boeckmann*
1985 Arthur S. Pfefferman
Pfefferman is executive vice president of Coldwell Banker Commercial in Porter Ranch. He has over 30 years of experience in the acquisition and disposition of investment properties, investment analysis, leasing and development. Pfefferman also is known for his civic involvement, having served on many boards and commissions, and he continues to serve and advise. He’s a past member of the U.S. Small Business Administration Advisory Council as a presidential appointee; past president of the Cultural Affairs Commission for the city of Los Angeles as a mayoral appointee; and co-founder and past president of the United Chambers of Commerce. He’s an active Rotarian and a Fernando Award recipient for his volunteerism.
1984 Robert E. Gibson*
1983 James A. Stanley*
1982 Robert D. Selleck*
Robert Dean Selleck, Sr., 79, died Wednesday, March 21, 2001 at the University of Southern California Medical Center in Los Angeles, California due to surgical complications. He was born Tuesday, December 27, 1921 to George Samuel and Nellie Louisa (nee Fife) Selleck in Lapeer, Michigan.
Robert attended Ohio Wesleyan University in Delaware, Ohio and later served in the United Stated Army Air Corps during World War II.
On April 11, 1942 he was united in marriage to Martha Jagger in Detroit, Michigan.
Raised by hardworking American parents, Tom’s mother, Martha Selleck, was a housewife, while his father, Robert Dean Selleck, was a skilled carpenter who later found success as an executive and real estate investor. When Tom was in middle school, his father’s dissatisfaction with carpentry led him to move his family to Sherman Oaks, California, where he looked for success in real estate. a well-known San Fernando Valley real estate developer
During his long career as a real estate executive, he served as a vice president and director of corporate communications for Coldwell Banker Commercial Group.
He participated in Los Angeles’ civic activities as a director of the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee, commissioner and president of the Los Angeles Coliseum Commission and president of the Los Angeles Board of Recreation and Parks Commission.
Discipline was strict but loving when the children were growing up. At 21, they collected a gold watch from him for abstaining from cigarettes and alcohol.
In addition to his wife, he was survived by three sons; Robert Dean “Bob” (Laurie Elaine) Selleck, Jr. of Camarillo, California, Thomas William “Tom” ( Jillie Joan) Selleck of Hidden Valley, California and Daniel Fife “Dan” (Kirby Lynne) Selleck of ; a daughter, Martha Ann (Ronald Kevin) Selleck Ketchum of Oak Park, California; 14 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
Selleck attended Ohio Wesleyan University and served in the Army Air Corps during World War II. He left Detroit in 1948 for Van Nuys, a predominantly agricultural area that was just beginning to sprout suburban communities.
Selleck was offered a job with Coldwell Banker that offered no salary and no weekly guarantee against future sales. He made his earnings solely on commission.
“It was a little adventurous; you’ve got to be young to do that,” Selleck told The Times in a 1996 interview.
But his success eventually landed him the post of senior vice president and director of corporate communications for Coldwell Banker Commercial Group. He later established the Selleck Company for Real Estate Development and Consultation. Based in Westlake Village, the firm was credited with reviving the former General Motors plant in Van Nuys. The development of a shopping complex on that site has had a major effect on the economic revitalization of the area.
He served as director of the Los Angeles Olympic Organization Committee, commissioner and president of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Commission, commissioner and president of the Los Angeles Board of Recreation and Parks Commission and director and vice president of Valley Presbyterian Hospital and he participated on the Southern California Committee for the 1984 Olympic Games.
Selleck received various awards and commendations, including the Fernando Award, which is given to the Valley resident who best exemplifies the spirit of volunteerism. He and his wife, Martha, were presented with the Golden Hands Award by the Boys and Girls Club of the San Fernando Valley and the First Premier Parents Award from the March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation.
1981 Sal Buccieri*
Sal was born in Blawnox, PA and was the 2nd oldest of four children. He spent his adolescent years in Calabria, Italy, but r
eturned to the United States and graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in Civil Engineering. He married the love of his life, Violet Gallo, and moved to California, in the 1950’s where he designed some of the most creative swimming pools in the San Fernando Valley.
Among his many accomplishments were his real estate business on Ventura Blvd. and numerous awards of recognition for his benevolent and charitable works in the San Fernando Valley, including the prestigious Fernando Award, the highest honor for volunteerism and civic accomplishment in the San Fernando Valley.
However, Sal’s greatest accomplishment was his family.
He is survived by his two sons, Eugene and Salvatore Paul, their wives, and four beautiful granddaughters. He is further survived by his brother, Joseph and his sister Christina, numerous nieces, nephews and other relatives. In addition to his parents, Sal was preceded in death by his loving wife, Violet and his sister, Rosetta.
“Sal” Anthony Buccieri died August 7, 2013 in his home, surrounded by his family.
1980 John Bowles*
1979 Howard E. Shirley*
Howard Shirley, a leading citizen of the San Fernando Valley for more than 70 years, passed away of natural causes on Jan. 22, 2012, at the age of 92. He is survived by Elizabeth Ada Shirley, his wife of 65 years; by his children, James (Maureen) Shirley and Linda (John) Mattson; and by four granddaughters and an additional four great-grandsons.
An accomplished and successful businessman, Howard is best remembered for his extensive and unstinting community service. He received dozens of commendations and awards from the City and County of Los Angeles, from the State of California, and from the Congress and President of the United States. He was active in the United Way, the American Cancer Society, the March of Dimes, the Kiwanis Club, the YMCA, the Boy Scouts, the San Fernando Valley Industrial Association, and in the Chambers of Commerce of Canoga Park, Van Nuys, and the United Chambers of Commerce of the San Fernando Valley. In 1979 Howard received the Fernando Award for his outstanding service to the people of the San Fernando Valley.
Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley delivered the keynote address at the ceremony. Howard was an exceptional athlete while growing up in South-Central Los Angeles, participating in track and field events and golden gloves boxing. A lifelong outdoorsman, he spent one summer as a packer in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
He pursued architectural studies at UCLA and USC. Howard joined the US Army in 1941 and served in the European Theater as an anti-aircraft battery commander. His brigade went ashore at Omaha Beach, fought across France, and later participated in the decisive the Battle of the Bulge. Following VE Day, he served as Military Governor of Stuttgart, Germany.
Before returning to California in 1946, he stopped off in Fort Wayne, Ind., to marry his sweetheart, Elizabeth Ada Simpson, a Red Cross worker he had met in Germany.
Howard became a successful building contractor in the 1950s, erecting many commercial buildings in the San Fernando Valley and later throughout Los Angeles and Ventura Counties. He was a tireless, hands-on worker who was trusted and respected by everyone he dealt with. He was a founding member and an elder of the First Presbyterian Church of Canoga Park, and was a board member of Valley Presbyterian Hospital in Van Nuys for 40 years.
Howard’s last big project was the construction of the Airtel Plaza Hotel at Van Nuys Airport in 1984. As a part-owner of the hotel, he participated in the management of the property for more than 20 years while continuing with his community service activities. Howard and Beth traveled extensively in the 1980s and 1990s, once circumventing the globe and crossing Eurasia via the Trans-Siberian and Chinese National Railway systems.
In their later years, Howard and Beth lived in Ventura County in the rural community of Box Canyon, on property first purchased by Howard’s father, Frank Shirley, in 1927. They helped establish the Canoga-Owensmouth Historical Society.
Howard was known and loved for his friendliness, his generosity, and his sense of humor.
He will be deeply missed by all who knew him.
1978 Frank Pine*
1977 Otto Nasser*
1976 H.F. Bert Boeckmann, II
1975 Albert Zoraster*
A resident of the San Fernando Valley from 1920 to the mid-1970s, Albert Zoraster devoted much of his life to improving the quality of services in the community, particularly in the areas of transportation and municipal services. An active committee volunteer, Mr. Zoraster worked with the Los Angeles City Board of Education, the Mayor’s Valley Transportation Committee, Los Angeles City Department of Airports, Valley Presbyterian Hospital, and California State University, Northridge. The Albert Zoraster Collection documents various aspects of Zoraster’s civic career, covering such topics as Birmingham High School, city planning, land use, the proposed Malibu Freeway Project, transportation in the Valley, and the development of the Van Nuys Airport.
1974 Arthur D. Aston*
Mr. Aston, who was a leader of Valley Federal Savings was also a founder of Valley Presbyterian Hospital. He was 88 years old when he died.
1973 Joseph Staller*
1972 Joseph N. Chase*
1971 William W. Putney*
Prior to retirement, William owned a practice in the San Fernando Valley in California. Earlier in his career, Dr. Putney was a Marine Corps officer who trained working dogs in Guam during World War II. Following the war, he became chief veterinarian of the Marine Corps.
Dr. Putney was a past president and distinguished life member of the California VMA and the Southern California VMA. In 1965, the CVMA named him Veterinarian of the Year. He served as trustee of the AVMA GHLIT. Dr. Putney also served as commissioner of the Los Angeles City Department of Animal Regulation and as director of the Los Angeles American Red Cross. He was a major architect of the public health antirabies control plan, begun in the city of Los Angeles in 1955, and later adopted by the World Health Organization.
Dr. Putney was a past president of the Winnetka Chamber of Commerce and a past vice president of the West Valley Associate Chambers of Commerce. He was the recipient of the 1971 Fernando Award, for community service to the San Fernando Valley. In 1995, Dr. Putney received the Marine Corps’ Silver Star. He published his book titled “Always Faithful: A Memoir of the Marine Dogs of World War II,” in 2001.
Dr. Putney 83, Woodland Hills, Calif., died March 18, 2003. Dr. Putney’s wife, Betsy, and two sons survive him.
1970 Herbert C. Lightfoot*
Herb died peacefully at home surrounded by the deep love of his wife, Elizabeth, six children, Leighton, Allyn, Leslie, Philip, Louann, and Herbert Jr. (“Chip”). Herb was a Kappa Alpha member of George Washington University.
He received the Fernando Award in 1970, and was designated “Broker Emeritus” by Century 21.
1969 Jurral C.P. Rhee*
1968 Jesse F. McHam*
1967 J. Leo Flynn*
Many mourn the passing of J. Leo Flynn, not only as the City of San Fernando’s first citizen, but as a leading civic worker for the entire Valley. The word “pioneer” is a relative term, and it is increasingly difficult to use it in this modern era which has seen the Valley gain more than a million population. But it fits Leo Flynn, for he was one of the few who saw the transformation occur.
All but four of his 73 years were spent here. Few remain who were identified with it for such a period. Leo Flynn was not content to watch the passing parade as boniface of the historic Porter Hotel. If he could not lead the parade, he would always be a willing soldier.
The catalog of agencies he served is a long one. He was always on call to demonstrate his faith as a good Catholic.
This made him in turn a partisan of its agencies, among them Holy Cross Hospital. He was by nature a partisan, and this made him a lifetime worker for the party of his choice, the GOP. But he earned respect and special kudos for his interest in youth work as reflected in his long association with the San Fernando Valley Council, Boy Scouts of America
For that and his many other civic activities he richIy deserved the Fernando Award he received in 1967. He was a man who stood tall among his fellowmen.
1966 Delmar T. Oviatt*
Oviatt was named dean of the proposed Valley campus of Los Angeles State College of Applied Arts and Sciences in 1955 by President Howard McDonald. Previously, Oviatt had served as chair of the division of education at what would later be known as California State University, Los Angeles.
1965 Stephen B. Newton*
1964 Robert S. Fuller*
1963 Donald D. Lorenzen*
Lorenzen was born on January 22, 1920, in Elgin, North Dakota, the son of Dr. and Mrs. Frederick C. Lorenzen. His father was a Danish immigrant and was a medical doctor. The younger Lorenzen attended Elgin High School, Jamestown College, Glendale City College and the California College of Mortuary Science. He and Virginia Laux of San Antonio, Texas, were married on October 2, 1940. They had two sons, David Carl and Jon Robert.
Lorenzen was in the U.S. Air Force during World War II; he and his wife moved to the San Fernando Valley in 1946 and to Reseda in 1952. He operated his own mortuary and founded a bank. His hobbies were flying his light airplane and motion-picture photography.
Lorenzen was a president of the Reseda Chamber of Commerce in 1957–58 and of the San Fernando Valley Associated Chambers of Commerce in 1961–62. He was president of the Valley-Wide Better Government Committee and was founder and first chairman of the West Valley Little League. He was president of the San Fernando chapter of Project Hope. He won the Valleywide Fernando Award in 1963.
Lorenzen came from second place in the 1969 primary municipal election to win the Los Angeles City Council District 3 seat over Howard W. Speer. He beat Joy Picus in 1973 in a tight election that demanded a recount. The latter, however, beat Lorenzen in an extremely light vote in 1977.
He died on May 15, 1980, at the age of sixty.
1962 Ferdinand Mendenhall*
But Mendenhall, a Navy reservist who fought in World War II, commanded more attention as a newspaper publisher heavily involved in community groups, promoting a pro-business, pro-growth philosophy for the San Fernando Valley.
“In those days, if you were going to start something, you had better call Ferd and make him part of it,” said David Fleming, a Studio City lawyer.
Mendenhall was born in Mississippi in 1908, but grew up in the Valley. His father, Walter, bought a half-interest in the Van Nuys News in 1920 and Ferdinand succeeded him as editor and co-owner in 1946.
1961 Richard G. Norlander*
1960 Russell A. Quisenberry*
In 1926, Quisenberry Insurance agency began when Russell and Myrtle Quisenberry arrived here from Chicago and settled in the North Hollywood area. The Quisenberrys opened a small insurance agency on Lankershim Blvd.
Russell became very active in the North Hollywood community believing that a strong business has strong ties to the community. Russell and Myrtle Quisenberry were true humanitarians; they helped build the North Hollywood community, participating heavily in the local Chamber, St. Joseph’s Hospital, The East Valley YMCA, Rotary and North Hollywood’s local police and fire Departments. Winner of the Fernando Award in 1960, Russell’s civic achievements and his commitment to his community set a reputation for excellence that Quisenberry Insurance strives to continue today.