Ken Schwartz is in the spotlight as Santa Clarita Valley’s Unsung Hero. Schwartz has lived in Saugus since 1990 and has given his all into this community through his experience, expertise and heart. Schwartz became visually impaired due to retinitis pigmentosa and was inspired to advocate transportation issues related to seniors and the disabled. He serves on the Advisory Council for the SCV Senior Center.
“As Director of Volunteers at the SCV Senior Center, I’ve had the privilege of working with so many special volunteers. Ken Schwartz is a rare person who stands out even in this elite group,” said Robin Clough, Director of Volunteers and Recreation. “I deeply admire and am even in awe of his extraordinary mind and heart, not to mention his uniquely hilarious sense of humor!
Ken is a JPL retiree, a literal rocket scientist, who elevates heroism to a whole new plane. With his incredible technical expertise and compassion, Ken is a champion for seniors and the disabled. The fact that he is visually impaired has amazingly not been a deterrent. He is dedicated to disaster preparedness and set up ham radio terminals linking the Senior Center and other strategic locations throughout Santa Clarita. He is very involved with transportation issues and his advocacy and ideas have resulted in better service for seniors and the disabled. Moreover, he has served as Chair of the SCV Senior Center Advisory Council and the steering committee for the Visually Impaired Support Services at the Senior Center and at Veteran’s hospitals in Los Angeles. He has also served on the Community Advisory Committee on Access Services for Los Angeles County. Ken has made an enormous impact on the safety and quality of life for seniors, the disabled, and the entire community.”
Schwartz invested 27 years as a consultant to JPL (Jet Propulsion Laboratory head by NASA) working on forthcoming instrumentation and was very much so a technological ‘wiz kid’. With his extensive and impressive background, Ken teamed with the City of Santa Clarita to develop a communications system in case of an emergency.
“Santa Clarita is the poster child for disasters. Ken has been passionate about assisting in keeping Santa Clarita prepared to handle communications for any future disasters. When we created the Santa Clarita Disaster Coalition, which is under the umbrella of the Senior Center, Ken was helpful in guiding us on plans for emergency communications,” said Carl Goldman, Co-Owner of KHTS. “He has been dedicated to making certain the Senior Center has what it needs to stay in touch with the rest of Santa Clarita. Ken is definitely one of the Unsung Heroes of our Valley.”
Along with serving for the SCV Senior Center, Schwartz is also the chairman of the Accessibility Advisory Committee for Santa Clarita Transit and is on the Community Advisory Committee on Access Services for Los Angeles County.
“He has a high dedication for everything he does within the community,” said Donna Nuzzi, Emergency Services Supervisor for the City of Santa Clarita. “He has a great passion for making things easier for the seniors within the community and takes pride in the things he does.”
Ken passed away on Wednesday, June 20, 2012. He is survived by his children Carolyn Bowman, Lori Derkum, and Steven Schwartz; his sister, Valerie Fields; his "significant other," Lynn Paquin.
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