Past 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.

Past Recipients

2021—Diana Sanchez

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.


2019—Mike Quiroga


2018—Bill Allen

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.

2017—Paul Davis
For over 30 years Paul Davis has been very active in and supportive of a great number of organizations in the San Fernando Valley. His devotion to a number of worthwhile organizations is not part of his job description. Paul is being nominated by the Encino and Northridge Chambers of Commerce. This is the 5th time he has been nominated (no, that’s not a record).

 Paul Davis Fernando Award Highlight Reel


2016—Dale Surowitz
2016 Fernando Award Recipient, Dale Surowitz, recognized for a lifetime of service making our Valley a better place for our seniors, children, families and businesses. Congratulations Dale!
2015—Mark Levinson
Family attorney Mark Levinson was the 2015 Fernado Award recipient. Levinson is a board member for the Valley Family Center in San Fernando, which provides individual, couple and family therapy, coordinated services for victims, children and perpetrators of domestic violence and parenting education. He is also a board member of the Child Development Institute, which provides relationship-based early intervention and therapeutic services to children and their families.

“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.

2014—Martin Cooper

Congressman Brad Sherman, LA City Councilman Mitchell Englander, Martin Cooper the recipient of the 56th Annual Fernando Award, and 2011 Fernando Winner Gary Thomas. Cooper received the award based on his community service work and volunteerism for a variety of non-profit organizations including the Boys & Girls Club of the West Valley and New Horizons. The 56th Fernando Award For Volunteerism was held at the Globe Theatre in Universal City, CA. 10/18//2014(Photo by John McCoy Daily News )

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.

2013—Nancy Cartwright
On September 20, 2013, Nancy Cartwright (the voice of Bart Simpson and a host of other characters), received the Fernando Award for civic accomplishment at a gala awards banquet attended by the valley’s leading philanthropic citizens.

Nancy was nominated by the North Valley Regional Chamber of Commerce and Richard Leyden, a member of the Fernando Board of Directors.


2012—Joel Simon
The recent 54th Annual Fernando Award Foundation’s Dinner selected Calabasas resident Joel M. Simon as the 54th Recipient of the prestigious Fernando Award. The gala dinner and selection took place on September 21st at the Warner Center Marriott. The ten nominees for 2012 were all honored and celebrated throughout the evening. At the conclusion of the program, Joel Simon was announced as the chosen recipient for this year. The Fernando Award is the highest honor for volunteerism and civic accomplishment in the San Fernando Valley.
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.

2010—Rafer Johnson*
Rafer Johnson has long had Olympic gold in his trophy case and now he has some bronze to go along with it.

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.

2009—David Honda
David S. Honda, a philanthropist who has served the community in a variety of capacities for nearly four decades, on Friday night became the 50th person to receive the prestigious Fernando Award for a career dedicated to volunteerism.

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
Here is the list of the 50 Non-Profits Honored in 2008:

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

New Horizons

Olive View Medical Center Foundation


Operation Gratitude

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 Village

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

2007—Gloria Pollack
No bio available.
2006 Armand Arabian*
No photo or bio available.
2005 J. Richard Leyner*
J. Richard Leyner relocating from New Jersey to the West Coast in 1978. After nearly a decade dealing in local residential and commercial real estate as the owner and operator of two Red Carpet Real Estate franchises, he joined Merrill Lynch Real Estate as vice president and branch manager of the Encino office and the Commercial Division. Prior to being appointed executive vice president of Illi in 2014, Leyner spent 23 years as the senior vice president of NAI Capital Real Estate in Encino.

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*
No bio available.

2003 Robert L. Scott
No photo or bio available.
2002 Ruth Richter*
No photo or bio available.
2001 Rose Goldwater*
No photo or bio available.
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
Lee Kanon Alpert is co-founder of Alpert, Barr & Grant, APLC. He is an attorney, mediator and arbitrator with over 40 years of experience in the legal industry. He is an active member of the community, and has served on the boards of various not-for-profit organizations and Los Angeles city commissions. He is a longtime San Fernando Valley resident.
1998 Walter Mosher, PhD
No photo or bio available.
1997 Phillip “Flip” Smith*
No photo or bio available.
1996 Nancy L. Schmidt
No photo or bio available.
1995 Bud Brown
1994 Clyde F. Porter*
No photo or bio available.
1993 Robert M. Neiman*
Neiman Reed Lumber Co. is a division of Lumber City Corp. based in Chatsworth, California. It is a privately-owned, medium-sized company that, with its affiliates, employs over 500 people.

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*
No photo or bio available.
1991 David W. Fleming
David W. Fleming, 79, was an instigator of the successful charter reform movement in the City of Los Angeles. In 1997, he and then LA Mayor Richard Riordan, co-chaired a voters’ initiative to reform Los Angeles City government, culminating in the creation of an elected citizens’ Charter Reform Commission, which drafted a new charter for the City of Los Angeles, and which was overwhelmingly adopted by the City’s voters in 1999.

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*
No photo or bio available.
1989 Lee Hamer*
Mr. Hamer has won many awards for his charitable contributions to the community as well as for his impeccable reputation for honesty, integrity, and fairness. Lee was very active in the San Fernando Valley including the development of youth, sports and welfare projects that have greatly benefited our community. He was an active community leader in the Mission Hills Chamber of Commerce, served two terms as President of Los Angeles Fire Commission in the 60s and was a founding member of Holy Cross Medical Center Century Club. Lee was the recipient of the Fernando Award in 1989. The most prestigious award that can be earned, for philanthropic and charitable works. Over the years he has been an automotive dealer for Hudson, Studebaker, Mercedes, Citroen, Volvo, MG, Triumph, Fiat, Renault, Borgward and Datsun. In July of 1965 we became an Exclusively Toyota Dealership. Mr. Hamer sold an average of about 10 cars a month back then. Today the Dealership average is closer to 1000 cars a month and we continue to grow with the help and loyalty of our employees and customers. Lee Hamer passed away November 15, 1995. On November 1, 2011, Hamer Toyota was purchased by the Ken Garff Automotive Group.
1988 Fred M. Thomas*
No photo or bio available.
1987 Clark Drane*
No photo or bio available.
1986 Jane Boeckmann*
Owned and operated by Bert and Jane Boeckmann and their family, Galpin Motors is truly unique in its long history of community service, including the support of tens of thousands of educational, spiritual, cultural, charitable and political institutions and organizations throughout the world. For his leadership and philanthropic endeavors, Galpin Motors owner/chairman H. F. (Bert) Boeckmann II has been honored as a Hero for the Planet by Ford Motor Company. His son Beau is president/COO of Galpin Motors and President of Galpin Auto Sports.
1985 Arthur S. Pfefferman
No photo or bio available.
1984 Robert E. Gibson*
No photo or bio available.
1983 James A. Stanley*
No photo or bio available.
1982 Robert D. Selleck*
Robert D. Selleck was a well-known San Fernando Valley real estate developer who was also the father of actor Tom Selleck.
1981 Sal Buccieri*
No photo or bio available.
1980 John Bowles*
No photo or bio available.
1979 Howard E. Shirley*
No photo or bio available.
1978 Frank Pine*
No photo or bio available.
1977 Otto Nasser*
No photo or bio available.
1976 H.F. Bert Boeckmann, II
H.F. “Bert” Boeckmann II began his career as a Galpin salesman in 1953 while a student at USC. He was promoted to general manager in 1957 and to vice president of Galpin Ford in 1960, after which he began a gradual buyout that eventually led to his owning the company by 1968. Galpin Motors, based in the San Fernando Valley since 1946, is a world-renowned, award-winning automotive enterprise with a number of franchises, along with Galpin Auto Sports, a full in-house customizing and aftermarket center; Galpin Rentals; the Horseless Carriage Restaurant; and Galpin Starbucks. Galpin Ford, the company’s flagship store, was again named the top-selling Ford dealership in 2018, a title it’s held 28 years in a row. Ford Motor Co. last year presented Boeckmann with its inaugural Dealership Hall of Fame Award for a lifetime of achievement and leadership. Boeckmann’s son, Beau, is president and chief operating officer of Galpin Motors.
1975 Albert Zoraster*

School bonds, 1 May 1958. Mrs Albert Zoraster;Mrs Arnold Freed;Councilman James Corman (Women pinning wishbones on Councilman).;Caption slip reads: ‘Photographer: Snow. Date: 05-01. Reporter: Bernstein. Assignment: School bonds. 85/86: L/R — Mrs Albert Zoraster;Councilman James Corman;Mrs Arnold Freed. Women are pinning wishbones on councilman.. (Photo by Los Angeles Examiner/USC Libraries/Corbis via Getty Images)

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*
No photo or bio available.
1972 Joseph N. Chase*
No photo or bio available.
1971 William W. Putney*
No photo or bio available.
1970 Herbert C. Lightfoot*
No photo or bio available.
1969 Jurral C.P. Rhee*
No photo or bio available.
1968 Jesse F. McHam*
No photo or bio available.
1967 J. Leo Flynn*
No photo or bio available.
1966 Delmar T. Oviatt*
A native of Canada, Dr. Delmar T. Oviatt received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Alberta in 1939. He earned a master’s degree in 1942 and a doctorate degree in 1949, both from Stanford University. Before entering higher education, Oviatt was a teacher and administrator at the junior high and high school levels in Canada. He also taught at Washington State College and the University of Utah before moving to Los Angeles.

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*
No photo or bio available.
1964 Robert S. Fuller*
No photo or bio available.


1963 Donald D. Lorenzen*
Donald D. Lorenzen, or Don Lorenzen, was a San Fernando Valley funeral director who was a member of the Los Angeles City Council from 1969 to 1977.

No photo available.


1962 Ferdinand Mendenhall*
When he proudly wore his U.S. Navy uniform to formal gatherings, Ferdinand Mendenhall was often addressed as “Captain.”

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*
No photo or bio available.
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.

1959 Martin Pollard*
Martin Pollard made a good living from his San Fernando Valley car dealerships, among which was his Casa de Cadillac in the 1950s. He also had a strong commitment to the culture and betterment of the Valley. Pollard was the first recipient of the now much coveted Fernando Award in 1959.