[KHTS] – The Western Los Angeles County Council, Boy Scouts of America, honored Scott and Vanessa Wilk, Arif and Pam Halaby and Mike and Mary Delorenzo as Leaders of Character at a recognition dinner held Friday at the Hyatt Regency in Valencia.
The ninth annual dinner, a charity fundraiser for the Boy Scouts of the Bill Hart District in the Santa Clarita Valley, included a live and silent auction.
Susan Reynolds served as the emcee of event. She is the mother of Ransom Boynton, senior district executive of the Boy Scouts of America Western Los Angeles County Council Bill Hart District.
“Tonight, as we recognize these honorees, please know that the proceeds of this event benefit scouting in the Santa Clarita Valley,” Reynolds said. “Since 1910 the Boys Scouts of America have been developing the leaders of tomorrow with strong values and character development.”
A Color Guard of Cub and Boy Scouts entered the Grand Ballroom of the Hyatt Regency presenting the flag of the United States and other banners.
The audience then stood for the Pledge of Allegiance, followed by Boy Scouts reciting the Scout Law and the Scout Oath.
A special guest performance by Lindsay Hough saw the vocalist singing “America the Beautiful” and “God Bless the U.S.A.”
Reynolds had all the Eagle Scouts stand to be recognized, as well as previous Leaders of Character honorees.
Scott and Vanessa Wilk
Scott Wilk is a California State Assemblyman representing the 38thAssembly District. He served for six years as a trustee with the Santa Clarita Community College District and has supported many of the non profits in the SCV.
Vanessa Wilk recently finished her term as president of Soroptimist International of Greater Santa Clarita Valley. She has also served on numerous nonprofit boards and organizations.
The couple’s grown children, Alison Grace Hicks and Scott Wilk, Jr., spoke in praise of their parents.
“Growing up Wilk has had a big influence on the two of us,” said Wilk, Jr. “My mom and dad taught us some valuable lessons.”
“My dad taught us the importance of being a Republican by teaching us the evils of taxation,” said Hicks.
The audience laughed in appreciation as Hicks described how her father would explain the concept of taxes to his young children by taking bites of their food.
“Our mom taught us about volunteering,” said Wilk, Jr. He spoke about her work with the PTA and her other volunteer work.
“Our dad taught us the importance of public service,” he said.
Hicks finished up the presentation with a tribute to her parents.
“Thank you mom and dad for all the life lessons you’ve taught us, your hard work and service has not gone unnoticed,” she said. “You’ve made a difference in our lives and in your community.
California State Senator Steve Knight, along with his wife Lily, introduced the Wilks to the audience.
“I am not comfortable speaking in public,” said Lily Knight. “Vanessa and I are sisters in the heart. I watch how Scott and Vanessa interact and it is true love. Vanessa volunteers for everything, she is everywhere in the SCV. I am so blessed to be able to call her my friend.”
Vanessa Wilk spoke about how proud she is of her children and thanked the Boy Scouts of America for their work with youth.
“We love our community,” she said. “I thank you for all you do for our youth. The programs you provide are so important.”
Steve Knight introduced Scott Wilk.
“I get to talk about Scott,” said Steve Knight. “Watching how Scott interacts with the community is wonderful. He has taught me quite a lot.”
Knight spoke about the annual KHTS bus tour to Sacramento and how Wilk has improved the experience for attendees.
“Wilk is a man of character and honorable in everything he does,” said Knight. “Scott and I have become good friends in the last few years, and it is because of how he lives his life. He is a man of character and a man who does things for his community. This award is very well deserved.”
Scott Wilk spoke about the characteristics he admired in his wife.
“I was reading the Scout Law this morning,” he said. “It says that a Scout is trustworthy and loyal. There is no person more trustworthy and loyal than my wife.”
Wilk thanked the audience for supporting the Boys Scouts and also spoke about how much he appreciated being able to represent his district in the California State Assembly.
“It’s a great honor and thank you for this honor tonight, as well,” he said.
Arif and Pam Halaby
Arif Halaby is the president and CEO of Total Financial Solutions, Inc. He previously worked as a member of the Los Angeles Police Department. Halaby founded the Leaders of Character Recognition Banquet which has raised more than $250,000 to benefit Boy Scouts in the SCV.
He has also served on the boards of many nonprofits in the SCV.
As a stay-at-home mother Pam Halaby raised three children which she home schooled.
The couple’s children Peyton, Amber and Logan joined their parents on stage during the event.
“I’ve learned so much by watching (my parents),” said Amber, 17. “I know of times they have made a significant difference in a person’s life that you will never know about because they don’t want the attention.”
Peyton, a freshman in high school, took the microphone next.
“My parents are incredibly supportive, kind and amazing,” he said.
The oldest sibling, Logan, an Eagle Scout and a senior at The Master’s College, spoke last.
“I know I would not be the person I am today without my parents,” he said. “My goal is to emulate them and be a person of honor, kindness and generosity. I hope I can live up to their example.”
Carl Goldman and Jeri Seratti-Goldman introduced the couple as they received their award.
“Pam is the epitome of the woman that can do it all,” said Seratti-Goldman.
Pam Halaby took the podium and paid tribute to her parents who have been married 57 years and in-laws who have been married 50 years.
“Life with Arif has never been dull,” she said.
Carl Goldman said Arif and Pam Halaby have raised thousands of dollars for SCV nonprofits.
“As a couple they have done so much behind the scenes to benefit Santa Clarita,” he said. “As a couple they are what this valley is all about.”
Goldman praised Halaby for his efforts on behalf of the Boy Scouts, including his vision to found the Leaders of Character event.
“This has become one of signature fundraisers in the SCV and touches the heart in a way like no other,” Goldman said.
Goldman said Halaby’s father is also an inspiration.
“In 1976, after the civil war in Lebanon started, he brought out 43 of his family members in two months,” said Goldman.
Goldman said Arif Halaby has changed “thousands of lives” with his work at Total Financial Solutions, Inc.
Arif Halaby then spoke about “character.”
“Character is much different than what most people thought,” he said. “It isn’t what you do in public… I’ve learned that a person of character isn’t a perfect person but they are often a person who helps someone when people aren’t looking. A leader of character stands up for what is right.”
Mike and Mary Delorenzo
Mike and Mary Delorenzo are owners of Santa Clarita Studios and supporters of many SCV nonprofits.
They were unable to attend the event to accept their award.
“What most people don’t know is that Mike and Mary are some of the unsung heroes in the SCV,” said Seratti-Goldman. “They do so much behind the scenes without wanting any of the credit.”
Carl Goldman also lauded the Delorenzos.
“The business community is better off because of their efforts,” he said. “Mike and Mary have been stellar community leaders.”
The Leaders of Character Honoree Recognition Dinner raised more than $10,000 from the live auction, with Carl Goldman and Fred Arnold serving as auctioneers, and thousands more from the silent auction, program book, sponsorships and dinner admission.
The Boy Scouts Bill Hart District serves 926 Cub Scouts, 1,011 Boy Scouts and 264 Venture Scouts in the communities of Agua Dulce, Canyon Country, Castaic, Newhall, Saugus, Stevenson Ranch, Valencia and Val Verde.
The Leaders of Character Recognition Dinner, first held in 2006, has honored many SCV community leaders including Gary and Myrna Condie, Kevin and Marilyn Malone, Larry and Sue Mankin, Jim Ventress, Carl Goldman and Jeri Seratti-Goldman, Roger and Diane Van Hook, Bob and Kathy Kellar, Harold and Jacquie Petersen, Larry and Peggy Rasmussen, Bill and Kathy Kennedy, Rick and Ann Patterson, Joe and Barbara Schulman, Greg and Chell Amsler, Howard “Buck” and Patricia McKeon, Kerry and Kristie Carmondy, Don and Cheri Fleming, Jim McCarthy and Laurene Weste, Jeff and Kiki Hacker, Richard and Marian Sandnes, Marc Winger and Eileen Mann, Kristin and Fred Arnold, Margo and Bob Hudson and Kirsten and Cary Quashen.
Have your fundraising efforts fallen flat? Need help raising money for your organization? Join JCI Santa Clarita for an interactive conversation about nonprofit fundraising with fundraising experts and JCI members Michelle Rey and Mallory Staley.
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