The reigning SCV Man and Woman of the Year, Eric Stroh and Laina McFerren, are chairs of the 2018 event. Photos by Michele E. Buttelman and Leon Worden.
A record number of nominees have been submitted for the 2018 Santa Clarita Valley Man and Woman of the Year honor, organizers announced Wednesday.
Twenty-six nonprofits nominated a total of 28 individuals who will be feted at the awards banquet on Friday, May 11.
The 14 men and 14 women nominees were introduced at a “paparazzi party” held Wednesday at the Sand Canyon estate home of Dianne and Wayne Crawford.
The reigning Man and Woman of the Year, Eric Stroh and Laina McFerren, introduced the nominees and the organizations that recommended them.
“It is interesting to listen to all the accomplishments of this year’s nominees,” said Stroh. “It is impossible to know how we are going to choose this year’s honorees with the number of ridiculously overqualified people.”
The winners are selected each year by vote of a committee that’s made up of all living prior winners.
McFerren said she is grateful to live in a community that has such a high level of volunteerism.
“It is amazing to see what great work people in our community do,” she said.
Matt Nelson of the SCV Boys & Girls Club (center) introduces the club’s nominees, Ann-Marie Bjorkman and Jim Ventress.
Male nominees and their nominating organizations for 2018 are: Hunt Braly, Bridge to Home and Homes4Families; Steve Corn, College of the Canyons Foundation; Jeremiah Dockray, Santa Clarita Organization for Planning and the Environment; Alan Ferdman, Samuel Dixon Family Health Centers Inc.; Neil Fitzgerald, JCI Santa Clarita; Michael Fox, Sebastion Velona Foundation; Michael Keesler, SRD-Straightening Reins Foundation; Taylor Kellstrom, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and Circle of Hope.
Also: Brian Koegle, HandsOn Santa Clarita; Nick Lentini, SCV Child & Family Center and SCV Rotary; Ed Masterson, Carousel Ranch and WiSH Foundation; John Musella, SCV Chamber of Commerce; Jim Ventress, Boys & Girls Club of SCV; and Stephen Youlios, Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital Foundation.
Women who are in the running this year are: Julie Benson, Carousel Ranch; Ann-Marie Bjorkman, Boys and Girls Club of SCV; Julie Creps, William S. Hart Pony Baseball & Softball; Tami Edwards, SCV Rotary; Laurie Ender, Family Promise of SCV; Susan Hayward, Zonta Club of SCV; Pam Ingram, Sebastion Velona Foundation and Soroptimist International of Greater SCV.
Marlee Lauffer (left) of the Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital Foundation introduces nominee Janine Jones.
Also: Janine Jones, American Cancer Society and Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital Foundation; Laura Kirchoff, Circle of Hope; Gloria Mercado-Fortine, Samuel Dixon Family Health Centers Inc.; Sue Reynolds-Buckley, Boy Scouts of America; Susann Rizzo, Santa Clarita Organization for Planning and the Environment; Lindsay Schlick, JCI Santa Clarita; and Suzanne Stone, Soroptimist International of Valencia.
Representatives of each nominating organization were given two minutes to introduce and stump for their nominees.
The SCV Man and Woman of the Year honor is awarded annually to individuals who have given many years of outstanding volunteer service to charitable organizations throughout the Santa Clarita Valley.
Kim Kurowski of Soroptimist of Greater Santa Clarita Valley introduces nominee Pam Ingram.
To qualify, an individual must serve bona-fide 501c3 community service organizations, and the service must be truly volunteer and not work-related. Taken into consideration are the number of years of volunteer service, the type of service, and the impact the individual has had on multiple local organizations.
The event dates back to 1964 when only one person was selected as “Oustanding Citizen of the Year.” The first man and woman duo came in 1972 (Bill Millsap and Bobbie Trueblood Davis). Among the previous winners have been Milt Diamond and Jo Anne Darcy (1984), Tony Newhall and Carmen Sarro (1985), Frank Lorelli and Ruth Newhall (1987), Bob Kellar and Roberta Veloz (1998), Don and Cheri Fleming (2004), Wayne Crawford and Mary Ann Colf (2010), Leon Worden and Sue Endress (2015) and Jim Lentini and Lois Bauccio (2016).
For a complete list of past honorees – and profiles of this year’s nominees – visit SCVMW.org.
“Santa Clarita offers the best of what a community should be,” McFerren said. “It’s not like this everywhere. We are so fortunate.”
The 2018 SCV Man and Woman of the Year Banquet will be held Friday, May 11, at the Hyatt Regency Valencia hotel. For tickets, email email@example.com or visit SCVMW.org.
Amy Daniels, executive director of the WiSH Foundation, introduces nominee Ed Masterson.