2006 Man & Woman of the Year Nominees - Bios
Candidates for 2006 Man of the Year:
Greg Amsler is owner of Salt Creek Grille in Valencia, but he may be better known for his devotion to community causes. For the past seven years, Greg has served on the board of the Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Health Foundation and has worked on all committees and at all levels. He worked tirelessly with the Capital Campaign, helping raise much-needed funds for the hospital; he has been a member of the Marketing and Board Development Committees, as well as the Golf Classic, where he contributed donations and recruited volunteers to run the fundraising event. He has just completed two consecutive terms as chair of the Foundation board, during which he devoted his efforts to every philanthropic event benefiting the hospital -- from the Holiday Home Tour, the Golf Tournament, 10K Run, Tree Lighting, to acting as Master of Ceremonies at the Silver Rose Debutante Ball. During his tenure, more than $16 million has been raised for our community hospital. Greg has also served on the board of the SCV Boys & Girls Club Foundation since 2002, and has been a director on the board of the Michael Hoefflin Foundation since 2004. He joined the SCV Child & Family Center Advisory Board in 2005, and he has become a significant donor to the organization’s "Taste of the Town" fundraiser. Apart from all this, he devotes many hours as an assistant coach for youth baseball and soccer teams. And year after year he has contributed Salt Creek Grille gift certificates to numerous organizations which benefit their fundraising efforts in the Santa Clarita Valley.
Tom Barnett is an active member of the board of the Samuel Dixon Family Health Center. He has been a member of the board since 1991, during which time he has served as chair of Board Development and has held every officer position including that of president of the board. Over the past 15 years he has supervised strategic planning, financial development, and patient care goals, which have helped bring the Center to its position today. Tom co-chaired the "Karing for Kids Ball," a fund-raiser for the Center, for seven years, 1992-98. He has consistently been a strong financial supporter, and has hosted the annual Samuel Dixon Family Health Center Holiday Party in his home. In the early 1990s, he was one of the original members of the Castaic Town Council, and has served several years on the board of the Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital. Tom has been active in the Hasley Canyon Civic Association, where he served as its president, and has been active for 15 years in the Castaic Lions Club, holding all officer positions. He was the recipient of the Lions' highly prestigious Melvin Jones Award in 1999. He has also helped coordinate the Castaic Lions Christmas Float Parade for the past 16 years.
Michael Berger is a senior vice president at Smith Barney and is a 25-year resident of the Santa Clarita Valley. He has been active with local business and service clubs for more than 20 years. He has served as president of the Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce, and as president of the SCV Rotary Club, where he is a 25-year member. He has been active on the board of the College of the Canyons Foundation for almost two decades, serving strategic positions as vice-chairman and chairman of the board, heading the Finance and Investment Committee, participating on the Capital Campaign's Major Gifts Committee and volunteering at virtually every fundraising event sponsored by the COC Foundation. He currently is a member of the City of Santa Clarita Planning Commission, where for eight years he has been providing valuable oversight to the planning and development of the Santa Clarita Valley. He has been involved for years with Activities for Retarded Children, and he has served on the Governing Board of Barlow Hospital in Los Angeles. He has also volunteered as a coordinator of Carousel Ranch activities. In 2000, Michael was the recipient of the College of the Canyons Foundation's "Silver Spur Award," an event that raised thousands of dollars for the college.
Eli Canty is a long-term supporter and active board member of the Samuel Dixon Family Health Center. He was a colleague of Rev. Sam Dixon and was one of the 13 members of the Val Verde Advisory Council who founded the Health Center in the 1980s. He participated on the board from the beginning by assisting his wife Miriam (now deceased) who was then a director. Over the years, Eli has been a faithful and strong advocate for the Health Center and has always been the first person to volunteer to help. He has been active in numerous Santa Clarita Valley volunteer activities for more than 30 years. He has been an active member of the Val Verde Senior Citizen Club, the SCV Senior Center, American Legion Post #752, and the Val Verde Civic Association. He served as councilman for the Castaic Area Town Council, advisor to the Santa Clarita Region Adult & Vocational Education Council, the Los Angeles Planning Advisory Council, Santa Clarita Transportation Committee, Community Watch, and is currently a member of the Elks Lodge (BPOE #2379). He has been the recipient of many awards, including Castaic Man of the Year, Los Angeles County Volunteer of the Year award, Senior Citizens Community Service Award, Castaic Area Town Council President Award, and commendations from the SCV Committee on Aging.
Rick Chambers, undoubtedly best known for his role as a television newscaster, has contributed his time and energy for more than a decade to benefit numerous charities and social causes in the Santa Clarita Valley. He has served as a board member of the Boys & Girls Club of the SCV, and also of the Boys & Girls Club Foundation. He has acted as Master of Ceremonies for many of the recent Boys & Girls Club Auctions, adding his professional flair and thousands of dollars to the Club's coffers. Rick has donated his time to numerous other organizations as Master of Ceremonies, event chairperson, contest judge, career speaker, guest reader and a donor, and he has helped raise hundreds of thousands of dollars through his volunteer service to non-profits. He has contributed his talent and skills to help the SCV Food Pantry, the Diabetes Foundation, Carousel Ranch, Breast Cancer Awareness, the Haunted Jailhouse at the Sheriff's Station, the Michael Hoefflin Foundation, AIDS Walk, SCV Marathon, Castaic 3K Race, and has helped numerous schools. He devotes time to reading to children at the Sulphur Springs, Saugus and Newhall School Districts.
Wayne Crawford, a 30-year resident of the Santa Clarita Valley, has been closely involved with charitable works and fundraisers over three decades. As time goes by, he doesn't get less involved, he gets more involved. He co-founded the annual Crawford-Fleming Invitational Golf Tournament, now in its seventh year, and he takes a personal role in this event every year which benefits the Sheila R. Veloz Breast Imaging Center at Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital. This past year, he co-chaired the SCV Boys and Girls Club "Festival of the Trees" which raised an unprecedented $150,000 for the club. Crawford’s work with the Carousel Ranch, which uses horseback riding therapy to assist disabled children, is unprecedented. He joined the board of Carousel Ranch in 2002 to assist with their annual fund-raising event, "Heart of the West." He recruited his daughter-in-law Jeanna to help in this venture, and she remains chair of this hugely successful fundraiser to this day. Over the past six months, Wayne has spearheaded the rescue and relocation of Carousel Ranch. When the organization was faced with eviction from its property in Sand Canyon, Wayne was the point person in locating a new property in Agua Dulce. He helped coordinate offers for the property, then assisted with the down payment and helped secure a mortgage loan. He donated his own time in clearing the new 10-acre spread, bringing in his staff, his tractors and bulldozers; he worked with the County inspectors and contractors; and supervised the entire conversion of the property -- driving the tractors, plowing out the roads, putting up corral fences, arranging dumpsters, and removing over 16 forty-yard containers of trash. Six months later, his work has resulted in a new Carousel Ranch -- a nonprofit who now owns their own land. Wayne is an active member of the board of directors and is now heading Carousel Ranch's $1.5 million capital campaign.
Bob Fischer has been active with the Placerita Canyon Nature Center Associates for more than 20 years. After spending a career in personnel services with Los Angeles County and the State of California, he first visited the Nature Center in 1986, and has volunteered most of his time to the Park ever since. While he has served on the board of directors of the Placerita Canyon Nature Center Associates, he has no official job nor title. He is known affectionately as the "Bird Man," because of his passion for our feathered friends. He writes the bird column every other month in the Park's "Rattler" newspaper, and he is in charge of the bird walk every second Saturday of the month -- a job he has been doing for eight years. Fischer is also an expert on plants, and has enjoyed instructing children on his regular plant walks in the Park. He is also a computer guru, teaching both seniors in Friendly Valley and third-graders in elementary schools about computers. Bob typifies the senior volunteer docents who devote their time to sharing their interests and skills with the community.
Carl Goldman is a 16-year resident of the Santa Clarita Valley. He has been active not only through his local radio station KHTS, but in serving many community and social service organizations. He has been a supporter of the SCV Committee on Aging, the Canyon Country Chamber of Commerce, the Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce (where he served as vice-president of Government Affairs and headed several committees), and the Santa Clarita Council of the Los Angeles Chapter of the American Red Cross. He was a founding member of the Michael Hoefflin Foundation, as well as a board member of the Boys & Girls Club Foundation, the College of the Canyons Foundation, the Child & Family Center Foundation, Providence Holy Cross Hospital, and the Hart High School Honor Band Gala. Carl used his position with his radio station after the 1994 Earthquake to report emergency bulletins to the fragmented community and to lead and coordinate resources for the recovery. Last year, while serving as chairman of the SCV Chapter of the American Red Cross, he witnessed the torrential rainstorms and the short-comings of local disaster aid and the long-term needs of the victims. That experience prompted him to organize the SCV Disaster Coalition to provide additional help. He has extended this assistance beyond the Santa Clarita Valley, Goldman recently helped families displaced by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita to find homes in the SCV. He has used his media leadership position to help the community in other ways: assisting the Community Recycling Program, the Annual Love Ride, and helping promote blood drives with the American Red Cross. Besides financially supporting many of these organizations, he and his radio station donate many hours of program time to publicize the activities of nonprofits, and they donate items to benefit auctions for charity throughout the year.
Del Guyer has been a member of the board of directors of Pleasantview Industries for the past 10 years, and is currently serving as president of the board for the eighth straight year. He has been active in all aspects of the organization, overseeing not only the operations and mission of the center, but also the fundraising events each year. Besides contributing his time and efforts, he has donated financially to Pleasantview. He has purchased equipment for the Center, plus has purchased items for the fundraising events. He has also been active in the community, working with the Special Olympics and volunteering at the SCV Senior Center.
Greg Nutter has served on the board of the SCV Committee on Aging for more than 10 years, and has helped the Committee on Aging to develop into the largest and most comprehensive service provider for needy senior citizens in all Los Angeles County. He has served as an officer and has chaired many committees. In these positions, he has coordinated facility repairs, financial oversight and ambassador duties. He has helped the Senior Center in fundraising through his work on the Annual Wine Auction and the Celebrity Waiter Dinner. Nutter has been a member of SCV Rotary Club for 15 years and, through that organization, was instrumental in obtaining the donation of a Percheron horse to Carousel Ranch for its horseback therapy for children with disabilities. The club also donates money for the horse’s upkeep. Through Rotary, Greg has also supported the Samuel Dixon Family Health Center and Single Mothers' Outreach, and helped establish Dental Health for Children. He has also been associated with the American Red Cross board of directors, the American Heart Association, the SCV Chamber of Commerce membership committee, the Boys & Girls Club Auction, Child & Family Center "Taste of the Town," the SCV Chapter of the American Diabetes Association, the school district's "Principal for a Day," City of Santa Clarita's "Job Shadow Day," the Veterans of Foreign War and the American Legion.
Candidates for 2006 Woman of the Year:
Jeanna Crawford, who with her family is co-publisher of Inside SCV Magazine, has been devoting most of her young life to helping people in the Santa Clarita Valley. As a youngster 23 years ago, she single-handedly made all the ornaments for a 12-foot tree at the Second Annual Holiday Home Tour benefiting Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital. While at Hart High, she used her exceptional singing voice to entertain the elderly at the SCV Senior Center. After a brief career as a hairstylist and a photography model, she started devoting her time to volunteer work in the Santa Clarita Valley. She joined the non-profit Betty Ferguson Foundation "Youth with a Voice" program, where she served as mentor and director of their teen group and aided their Youth-with-a-Voice program, and she was invited to serve on the board of the Foundation. She has also served as counselor to teens through the Child & Family Center's "Circle of Care" program. In 2003, Jeanna joined Carousel Ranch, a nonprofit group providing equestrian therapy for disabled children. After assisting at their "Heart of the West" fundraising dinner, she became chair of the event in 2004, promising to double the revenue to $100,000 (which she did), then increased that by raising $150,000 in 2005. This growth in funds has helped Carousel Ranch make the down payment on its first permanent home -- a 10-acre ranch in Agua Dulce. Jeanna was elected to the Carousel Ranch board and has taken an active role in their $1.5-million capital campaign. She also serves as a board member of the Soroptimists where she chaired the 2004 sell-out fashion show, introducing groundbreaking decor while breaking their fundraising records. In 2004, she co-founded and co-chaired "Bras for a Cause," raising $20,000 for local breast cancer initiatives. In that same year, Jeanna chaired the annual Crawford-Fleming Golf Invitational, raising $80,000 for the Sheila R. Veloz Breast Imaging Center. She chaired the event again in 2005, this time raising $115,000. Last year she co-chaired the Boys & Girls Club "Festival of the Trees" which drew 10,000 visitors and raised $150,000. She was awarded the Boys & Girls Club "2005 Volunteer of the Year." She has also worked as a committee member for the Child & Family Center's "Taste of the Town," the Michael Hoefflin Foundation's "Evening Under the Stars," the Domestic Violence Center's "Mother's Day Fashion Show," and All Corked Up's "Wine Festival," benefiting the SCV Senior Center. In her position at Inside SCV Magazine, she gives much needed advertising and publicity to many charitable and service organizations in the Santa Clarita Valley.
Diana Cusumano has involved herself in school, community and volunteer work for more than three decades in the Santa Clarita Valley. At Wiley Canyon School she served as Site Council President, PTA board member, was a three-year volunteer reading specialist and ESL tutor, and created the first Math Triathlon fundraiser. She chaired the founding board of the Newhall Elementary School District Foundation, which allowed that moneys collected in the district could stay in the schools and be tax-deductible. At Hart High School she became a member of the Parent Association Board and also a member of the Hart Auditorium Angels. She is a board member of the Sheila R. Veloz Breast Imaging Center, and a volunteer at the Boys & Girls Club Auction. She has served College of the Canyons in a number of ways; she became a COC Foundation board member, and has served on the Education Scholarship committee and the Library Associates committee, and she has played a key role with every "Silver Spur" dinner event since 1989. She has been a member of the Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital Guild for nine years, serving as Guild president and chair of the Silver Rose Debutante Ball for three years. She has been a member of the HMNMH Home Tour League for 15 years; she was chair of the League holiday event for three years, and co-chaired a design home for four years. Diana has been a volunteer at the SCV Child & Family Center for 20 years, where she served as a member of "Kares," a member of the Golf Tournament committee and the "Taste of the Town" committee, and is a director of the Child & Family Center Foundation. She was a founding member of the SCV Heart Association board and provided two years of in-service training for elementary school teachers. She is also on the board of the Betty Ferguson Foundation where she chaired the Education Advancement Forum and recently helped create a $100,000 Foundation scholarship endowment at COC.
Peggy Edwards has been devoted to service clubs and social service in the Santa Clarita Valley for the past 15 years. She has been a member of the Zonta Club of the SCV for 10 years, where she has served as president, co-chaired the Zonta Roast and the Status of Women Community Awards, and worked with the Healthy Kids Club Scholarship and Long-Range Planning. She has been a board member of the Samuel Dixon Family Health Center since 2002, serving recently as secretary to the board 2004-06, and conducted Board Retreats in 2000 and 2003. She initiated the Community Facilitator Training as a program of the Santa Clarita Valley Resource Center, which has provided training to nonprofit groups annually for the past six years. Peggy was named to the Foundation board of the SCV Child & Family Center, and worked on the "Taste of the Town" committee. During the past nine years she has donated her time to the Voluntary Mediation Service to mediate community disputes. She served as a member of the College of the Canyons Library Associates, was program chair of the COC Women's Conference in 1997, and was conference co-chair in 1998. She has been a member of Women-to-Women International and has served on its board since 1995. She served on the board of the American Association of University Women for nine years, 1990-98. And since 1998, she has worked with the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom; was a member of the Cuba Action Steering Committee. She served as a facilitator for the U.S. Delegation to the International Women's Conference in Havana, Cuba in 1998. In 1999, she became a founding member of the U.S.-Cuba Sister Cities Association.
Linda Hafizi is a 21-year resident of the Santa Clarita Valley and is the co-owner and editor of The Magazine of Santa Clarita and of Elite Magazine Santa Clarita. For the past two decades she has contributed her time, expertise and professional skills to help the Santa Clarita Valley. She served six years on the board of the Betty Ferguson Foundation. She is a board member of the Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Health Foundation, and is currently on the advisory board of the Michael Hoefflin Foundation. She has been particularly active with the SCV Child & Family Center where she serves as a member of the Center's Foundation board. Along with her husband Moe, she sponsored the gala "Sunset by the Lake" fundraiser last September which raised $127,000 for the Center. In 1998 Linda won the Small Business Award presented by the SCV Chamber of Commerce. She was presented with both the "Women of Distinction Award" and the "Advancing the Status of Women" award from Soroptimist International Santa Clarita, and was awarded the Betty Ferguson "Woman of Honor" award in 2006. As "Roastee" of the annual Zonta Roast last November she helped raise thousands of dollars for the Zonta Club. She and her husband are corporate sponsors of Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital, donating $15,000 to the Emergency Room. Apart from her personal volunteer work, she donates through her magazines more than $100,000 in advertising space each year to help more than 25 charitable organizations and service clubs throughout the Santa Clarita Valley.
Cathie Kincheloe first arrived in the Santa Clarita Valley from Alaska in 1986. She became involved with the Friends of Hart Park, becoming its membership chair. She also joined the Zonta Club of the SCV, and served as an officer for two years. Her accounting work forced her to move to New Mexico for five years. When she returned to the SCV in 1995, she immediately jumped back into local volunteer work. She rejoined the Zonta Club and quickly moved up to its presidency, which she served for two years, 1998-99. She became a founding member of the Zonta Foundation and has served the club as an officer ever since. She has worked actively with the Domestic Violence Center. In 2001, she joined the Friends of the Libraries where she served as its president for three years, 2002-04. And she joined the board of the SCV Historical Society where she devotes much her time and still serves as a director. Over the years Cathie as donated her time and efforts to many fund-raisers, including the Zonta Kidnap Luncheon, co-chaired the Zonta Roast in 1999, was chair of the Domestic Violence Center's "Bootleggers Ball" in 2001 and 2003, and was chair of the kick-off party for the Roast in 2002. She co-chaired the Old West Poker night for the Friends of the Libraries, co-chaired the Opening Ceremony of the Zonta International Convention in 2002, and chaired the "Weave of the West" in 2005 for the Historical Society. She has also donated her time with the SCV Senior Center's Wine Auction, the Boys & Girls Club Auction, and she serves on the Care Ministry Team at Bethlehem Lutheran Church.
Pam Koch is a docent and board member at the Placerita Canyon Nature Center. A former executive secretary and mainframe computer programmer, she arrived at the Nature Center in 2001 and has since played a central role in the docent organization during some turbulent years. When the Nature Center was faced with closure in 2004, she accepted the position of Corporate Secretary to the Placerita Canyon Nature Center Foundation, and dedicated herself to fund-raising for the Center. She also arranged for the docents to keep the Center operating by teaching them to care for the live animals in captivity -- a job previously done by County employees. She has focused her work on animal care, which has become necessary since the public funding was terminated. In recent years, Pam has personally been fighting her own breast cancer, and has become a member of the women's support group "Circle of Hope," which offers aid and support to other women coping with this disease.
Colleen Lee has served on the board of Pleasantview Industries for longer than any other board member -- 15 years. Over those years, she has helped the program grow and develop to what it is today. She has served as secretary of the board for 12 years. She also serves on the board of the Autry National Center, has acted as a docent for many years at the Placerita Canyon Nature Center, and has volunteered with the SCV Boys' & Girls Club. She has also contributed her time and skills as a coach and teaching assistant at Hart High School. At Pleasantview Industries, she was a major financial contributor, recently aiding the remodeling project at the facility, and has regularly made contributions to operations. She also assists in development, chairing a marathon fundraiser benefiting Pleasantview Industries, and has opened her own home for special events for the organization.
Pat Saletore is the executive director of the Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society. For the past 15 years, she has dedicated herself to preserving both the history and the environment of the Santa Clarita Valley. Her involvement in community affairs began when she worked as a volunteer in the "Cityhood" movement offices. She started the "Parents' Lobby" to increase funding for local schools through developer fees. She also campaigned for years to oppose the landfill in Elsmere Canyon. She was one of the original trainers for the "Santa Clarita Educated Communities United in Response to Emergencies" Program (SECURE) which has provided free emergency preparedness training to city residents. She served on the Solid Waste Citizen's Committee and assisted rebuilding the community after the 1994 Earthquake by locating masonry that was damaged and needed repair. In 2001, Pat became involved with the Santa Clarita Organization for Planning and the Environment (SCOPE) and has served as a board member for four years, where she has become a persuasive advocate for environmental stewardship in the Santa Clarita Valley community. She is currently illustrating a children's book about the local Santa Clara River. She has also served as the presiding officer of the Santa Clarita Civic Association and the Santa Clarita Valley Chapter of the Sierra Club. She has served many years on the board of the SCV Historical Society and has been honored by the City as a "Pioneer of the City of Santa Clarita."