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Mercedes Benz of Valencia – Unsung Heroes

Mercedes Benz Unsung HeroesMercedes-Benz of Valencia and KHTS are taking a positive spin with a new feature focusing on those individuals who make a difference to our quality of life here in the Santa Clarita Valley. “Santa Clarita’s Unsung Heroes," brought to you by your friends at Mercedes-Benz of Valencia, focuses the spotlight on those working behind the scenes who aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty and make the impossible a reality.

Whether they are volunteering for a non-profit that builds homes for our local vets or a student raising money for their school’s library, KHTS will be interviewing the people that make the Santa Clarita Valley so extraordinary.

    KHTS Celebrates Another Unsung Hero In Santa Clarita: Tim Davis

    Mercedes-Benz of Valencia logo
    As head of the nonprofit organization that operates the Santa Clarita Valley's only emergency winter shelter since 1995, Tim Davis has worked tirelessly and selflessly on behalf of people in need in our community for more than a decade and a half.

    It’s no overstatement to say that without his steady leadership and guidance the past decade and a half, what's now known as the Bridge to Home shelter — which helped nearly 300 people aka clients (including families) during the 2011-2012 season — would not likely exist.

    That’s why Davis is Mercedes-Benz of Valencia’s latest Santa Clarita Unsung Hero.

    Santa Clarita’s Unsung Hero – Bruce Fortine

    By Stephen K. Peeples

    Santa Clarita Valley businessman, educator and community leader Bruce Fortine is low-key, soft-spoken, not often a man of many words, especially when talking about himself.

    Fortine’s actions in our community, on the other hand, have spoken volumes for more than three decades, in his work on behalf of local education, law enforcement, business development, at-risk teens, the environment and more.

    That's why we're very pleased to feature the Castaic Elementary, Hart High graduate and College of the Canyons co-founder as our latest Santa Clarita Unsung Hero.

    Santa Clarita's Unsung Hero — Fred Arnold

    By Stephen K. Peeples

    When you find a passionate person who works hard behind the scenes in our community to get things done, and expects nothing in return beyond a simple “thank you,” if that, you’ve found an Unsung Hero.

    Series sponsor Mercedes-Benz of Valencia and AM 1220-KHTS didn’t have to look too far to recognize our latest Santa Clarita Unsung Hero — Fred Arnold is a member of the KHTS family.

    Arnold has a very public side, as a Certified Mortgage Consultant, owner of a thriving local business (American Family Funding, a division of American Pacific Mortgage), past president of the California Association of Mortgage Professionals, treasurer of the National Association of Mortgage Professionals, host of the monthly “SCV Business Chamber Spotlight” show on KHTS, and chairman of the SCV Chamber of Commerce for 2013.

    Santa Clarita’s Unsung Hero – Sgt. Gerri McCorkle

    By Stephen K. Peeples

    Whether in uniform helping detainees as an L.A. County Sheriff’s Department sergeant in charge of ranch operations at Pitchess Detention Center or volunteering countless hours to help girls, seniors and special-needs kids, Gerri McCorkle makes a difference in the quality of many lives in the Santa Clarita Valley.

    She is the quintessential Unsung Hero: She works behind the scenes, and shies away from the spotlight.

    “I think it’s wonderful,” McCorkle said of her Unsung Hero honor. But, she added, “I don’t do this for the recognition.”

    A Santa Clarita Valley resident since 1991, McCorkle has been a member of the Sheriff’s Department since 1995. She has been married 29 years to Mike McCorkle, a captain in the LASD who oversees custody assistants and deputies in charge of trusted prisoners (or “trusties”) countywide. The couple has three grown children, Bradley (24), Andrew (21) and Erin (19).

    Santa Clarita's Unsung Hero - Kim Goldman


    Kim Goldman has left a tremendous mark on the Santa Clarita Valley. Since her brother’s homicide in 1994, she has traveled the country sharing her pain and the healing process her family has endured leading up to and after the trials against O.J. Simpson. Goldman and her father, Fred Goldman, instituted The Ron Goldman Foundation for Justice which serves to offer assistance and resources to those whom are the victim of a crime. She also serves on the board of The National Center for Victims of Crime, speaking on victim’s issues as well as speaking out about judicial reform and the role of the media.

    “I’m actively working on, right now, to get a victim’s rights amendment to the Federal Constitution which is the first time in over 200 years that the Constitution will be changed,” said Goldman. “We’re working hard to get an amendment to protect victim’s rights which currently there is nothing on a Federal level.”

    Goldman is an active member of her community and gets back to her roots of working with youth. Initially founded in January 2000, Goldman sought out and joined the Santa Clarita Valley Youth Project late in 2005. The organization was created in response to a city-sponsored needs assessment of local youth. The charity provides free mentoring and support groups to teenagers who are dealing with issues around drugs, alcohol, mourning, anger, depression, suicide and many other problems that they may face.

    Santa Clarita's Unsung Hero - Tom Cristi


    Craig Goodman (Left), Tom Cristi (Center), Fred Arnold (Right)Tom Cristi, owner of Santa Clarita Lanes, opened his center to the public here in the Santa Clarita Valley to create a family entertainment center for all ages to enjoy. With great food, bowling and a newly opened Watch and Wager center for horseracing, Cristi houses a golden gem for all schools, teams and groups of all kinds to raise money through fundraisers. Bowl-a-thons have been the most successful fundraiser Cristi has hosted at Santa Clarita Lanes and is a great, fun way to raise money for any event.

    “The price that we charge is our way of giving back to the program,” said Cristi. “We charge half of the usual cost which is a great deal for those coming in while supporting the fundraiser itself. People don’t realize how effective a bowling fundraiser is across the board.”

    Cristi has been a long time supporter of the year long events supporting the Bowlers to Veterans Link. BVL was created in the early 1940’s as a sports organization devoted to providing therapeutic and recreational therapy for our veterans. As of today thanks to people like Cristi, more than 500 active duty units have a portable carpet bowling lane at their disposal where they can step away from the stress of service and have fun with their comrades.

    Santa Clarita's Unsung Hero - Cary Quashen


    Cary Quashen has dedicated over 30 years of his life reaching troubled teens and dysfunctional families with the objectives to pass his personal recovery experiences with drug and alcohol to the youth of today while providing evaluation, assessments and interventions to parents, school districts and the juvenile justice system. He has become a nationally recognized expert working with adolescents. Since 1978, Cary has been working in the field of behavioral, alcohol and drug treatment for teens. He developed and operated the successful AVALON treatment programs. Cary has acted as a consultant to several behavioral health programs including Loma Linda Hospital, Anacapa Hospital , Van Nuys Hospital, Ingleside Hospital and Focus Healthcare program in Ohio.

    In 1989, Cary founded ACTION: A Parent and Teen Support Program. A non-profit organization, ACTION has assisted countless families in Southern California and the Santa Clarita Valley. 

    “Action Family Counseling has really taken off,” said Quashen. “We have 14 facilities now and 100 plus beds for adults. “

    On Tuesday June 19th more than 100 people attended Action Family Zone's grand opening here in Santa Clarita. Action Family Zone is a place for teens ages 13-17 and their families to have a safe place to hang out and have fun. The Zone features a music studio, an art studio, pool tables, ping-pong tables, video games, a computer center and a TV lounge. Every week different community speakers come to teach and advise on a variety of topics.

    Santa Clarita's Unsung Hero - Diana Cusumano

    Diana Cusumano has dedicated her time to service the Santa Clarita Valley and other organizations that are close to her and is truly an unsung hero. Cusumano has been volunteering in the Valley for over three decades and plans to keep on going as long as she can. Being a part of the education system for years, Cusumano was the Site Council President, PTA board member, a three-year volunteer reading specialist and ESL tutor, and created the first Math Triathlon fundraiser at Wiley Canyon Elementary School. Cusumano was a part of Hart High School’s Parent Association Board as well as a member of Hart’s Auditorium Angeles.

    Staying close to education, Cusumano has been a College of the Canyons Foundation board member and in 2011 for her efforts in the community and with her work with COC was given the Silver Spur Community Service Award.

    "Diana is not only a tireless, dedicated volunteer, but also she is a leader who inspires others to give of themselves," said College of the Canyons Chancellor Dr. Dianne Van Hook. "Her legacy of selfless service to the Santa Clarita Valley is amazing, and we so appreciate the opportunity we have to recognize and thank her for all that she has done to touch so many lives for so many years."

    Santa Clarita's Unsung Hero - Jami Kennedy


    Jami Kennedy has lived in the Santa Clarita Valley since 1956 and has seen the progression of the Valley first hand. Now, a full-time volunteer in the Santa Clarita Valley and Southern California, Kennedy first started volunteering in the ‘80s with the Santa Clarita Valley Boys & Girls Club organization. She has been a contributor of their annual auction ever since. A longtime member of the Zonta Club of the Santa Clarita Valley, Kennedy has made headway through each office and currently sits as the Sunshine Chair.

    “As a Sunshine Chair, I have ramped it up from the past and we have a couple of our members in hospice care and in a nursing home,” Kennedy said. “I go there and take care of their belongings and have seen a couple of our members through death.”

    American Red Cross, the SCV Senior Center’s Celebrity Waiter Dinner, and Gentle Barn are a few of the many organizations that Kennedy has and continues to work with. On top of volunteering, Kennedy sits on the board of the Gibbon Conservation Center in Santa Clarita and Carousel Ranch Therapy while also being involved with the Circle of Hope and their annual silent auction.