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California Community Hall Of Fame

 

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California community Hall of Fame

Alex Montoya, San Diego, California. Winner Against the Odds: He is a Winner. He is a Colombian young man who has overcome the terrible disadvantage of missing three limbs to become one of the leaders of our community here in San Diego. As the man in charge of Latino affairs for the Padres baseball team (National League), he has reached a lofty position that he uses to advance the cause of young Latinos in San Diego. By Fernando Romero

Animal Friends Rescue Project, Pacific Grove California. Winning Benefactor: An inspiration and role model to the community, AFRP (Animal Friends Rescue Project) is a non-profit organization started thirteen years ago on the Monterey Peninsula dedicated to finding quality permanent homes for abandoned, stray and abused companion animals. AFRP also focuses on ending the problems of pet overpopulation through their very effective spay and neutering program. All adoptees are kept up-to-date with necessary shots, as well as microchips. Since 1998, AFRP has successfully found homes for over 12,500 cats and dogs.  By Catherine Badin

Armando, Duarte California. Winning Benefactor: A social worker who helped me.He’s like my big brother to me now. Armando’s dad also left his mom with, three kids to raise. His mom only chose to raise his sisters, pushing Armando out. This forced Armando to grow up at fourteen and work to support himself. Now, ten years later Armando is successful, and helps to support his mother and sister. He never once got discouraged and continued to fight through the struggle. Despite his struggle, he has the biggest heart and he is one of the biggest kids I know. He taught me how to be passionate about some things. He was there for me when no one else was, and he encouraged me to fight for what I wanted. Growing up without a dad it’s hard to be man, but he is the best man I know. I also grew up without a dad and he’s the closet thing I have to a dad. He’s Superman to me. By Almond Zavala

Bennie “Blue Thunder” LeBeau, Big Bear, California, Winning Environmentalist: Bennie is a Native American Shoshone elder from Wyoming who works to bring balance back to Mother Earth. A documentary recently was completed about the incredible work that he did in 2004 at Big Bear Mountain in Big Bear, CA. There had been a 6-year drought, and the lake was down 18 feet. He engaged the local people in ceremony, and the area had the wettest winter on record. His work can be a model for the world. By Edith Billups

Bryan Bertino, Newport Beach, California, Winning Writer: He is the rising new writer and director of The Strangers, a terrifying suspense thriller staring Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman. Bryan offers a very fresh take on the suspense thriller genre. By Alex Kecskes

Chris Edgecombe, Santa Barbara, California. Winning Benefactor: One of Santa Barbara’s most well known philanthropists prematurely passed away on November 7th, at the age of 52. At one point his telecommunications empire was worth over a billion dollars. He was famous in Santa Barbara for throwing elaborate parties and having the most expensive wedding bash in the city’s history, featuring Rod Stewart playing as his chief wedding band. But his enduring legacy will be the endless fundraising he attached to his vivacious parties, for a host of local,regional, and national charities, including his favorite the Dream Foundation.   By L. Paul Mann

Dana Mann, Perris California. Winning Samaritan: Growing up with autism and having 3 children of her own with Asperger’s syndrome and dyslexia, she is implementing the skills she acquired through Davis Dyslexia/Autism training in her local public school, to circumvent the disabilities in dyslexic children BEFORE the disability can develop.  She works tirelessly with no compensation to help teachers and parents to know how to detect dyslexia before it takes hold.  You can imagine the jealousy that she encounters with teachers and the bureaucracy she has had to endure just to intervene and help a few kids….for FREE. .  With an Asperger’s son myself, she changed our lives. By Susie Blanton

Diane Glim, Montery, California, Winning Citizen: Diane is the president-elect of the Monterey Bay Chapter of the American Cetacean Society, she is a trained SORAC (Sea Otter Research and Conservation) volunteer, which entails rehabilitating sick, injured, and orphaned wild sea otters at the Aquarium, and she is a member of the Old Monterey Preservation Society…And this is all in her spare time when she is not working full-time at the Monterey County Weekly as an executive advertiser. By Brant Marlett

Dr. Jane Galloway, Long Beach, California, Winning Clergy: is a career actress who felt a call to ministry after working within the hospice care system. After getting a Doctorate in Ministry, she inherited a dying church in a disenchanted Long Beach neighborhood. Since her pastoral start in 2001, she has created H’artworks, a program that teaches and mentors neighborhood children through art. It is only one many programs she has authored or sponsored. By Tim Leedom

Eleanor Gibson, Berkeley California. Winning Benefactor: 88 years young, Eleanor delivers “Meals on Wheels” to senior citizens who need the help. She is an active member of OWL, the Pathfinders, and is a recently retired Docent of Lawrence Livermore Museum in Berkeley. by Corrina Hall

Employees of Cottage House, Sacramento, California. Winning Humanitarians: For the past three years I have worked with homeless teens, adults, and families, and currently work in a very unique housing program for formerly homeless families called Cottage Housing. Many of my co-workers are addicts in recovery and graduates of this or similar programs. Our participants, too, have overcome remarkable challenges, much like the young woman, Justine, on your front page. “Jennifer” has lived in our program for over two years. Her children were returned to her and their father after being removed by Social Services, and she is a recovering addict now working as a drug and alcohol counselor at a shelter. The Executive Director, Robert, is a visionary in his method of using a strength-based, participant-driven approach with families on their way back to self-sufficiency. I am surrounded by winners every day. By Elaine Loman

Home Free, Grass Valley California. Winning Benefactor: They are a musical band of local homeless people in the community. The band is called “Home Free”. Their project was spearheaded by a local musician who is a staff member of Hospitality House, a local shelter and homeless outreach service. I attended their first public performance and the response from the community was outstanding! I think this story would be fitting for your magaizine, it is really about people from adverse backgrounds getting together, helping to build each other’s esteem and sense of accomplishment, and cooperatively creating something positive in their community. By Mike Seeba

I’m Puzzled!, Monterey California. Winning Business: Locals love I’m Puzzled!, which offers a shopping experience of every kind of puzzle imaginable. Owner, Mary Norton, opened I’m Puzzled! in 2003 and has created a fun environment where families can come together and nurture happy memories. Norton wants to help get families and kids away from TV and computers so they can interact with each other again. Says Norton, “If one recalls, games were very big during the depression, too. They were affordable, brought people together for socializing, and created a feeling of accomplishment. And just as back in the 30s, people nowadays also need that sense of community.” By Catherine Badin

Janet Thompson, Lake Forest, California, Winning Writer: She already had an MBA when she enrolled at Fuller Seminary. She self-published a teaching manual, Dear God, They Say It’s Cancer: A Companion Guide for Women on the Breast Cancer Journey, After a publisher purchased her manual, she negotiated to teach the program. Now they fly her across the U.S. to speak and train. She celebrates 5 years cancer free and recently published, “Dear God, They Say It’s Cancer: a Companion Guide for Women on the Breast Cancer Journey” which she says is, “the book I wish I had when I was diagnosed.” By Sharron A. Pankhurst

Jennifer McNulty, Thousand Oaks California, Winning Mother: Jennifer is a mother of an autistic boy. Jennifer has researched many different treatments and therapies to help her son and he has come a long way. She also fights for the rights of autistic individuals by working to get laws passed and making a difference. By Barrie Silberberg

Jodette Johnson, Sacramento California, Winning Humanitarian: You may never dance again, Jodette Johnson was told as she awoke. She had been in a car accident, had been in a coma for the last eight days: virtually every bone in her body was broken. The news that she may never again walk, let alone dance, nearly crushed the tiny woman spirit On that dreadful day in 1967, it seemed like that life was over. “I promised God that if I walked again, if I had a piece of bread, I would share it with someone who was hungry.” Within two years, she was not only walking again, but back to performing and teaching dance classes. Today, she teaches dance classes in her brick-faced studio in midtown Sacramento Every day, she cooks food for the homeless, and personally delivers it to those living along the river. She serves food for hundreds at a local church every Thanksgiving, and during Christmas she fills her studio with coats and blankets to give away. Several times a year she organizes dinner/belly dancing shows at local Arabic restaurants, with a majority of the proceeds going to feed and clothe Sacramento homeless. By Brandi Grigg

Julia, Newport Beach, California, Winning Writer: My person is a great cook and organizer. She has finished a tailgating book which includes fun and easy recipes for big games. It is more than a recipe book. It’s a step by step instruction book that begins with organizing the day, getting the food, preparation and cleanup. 10 personalities are included: UCLA recipes & former head coach Terry Donahue to six top O.C. chefs. Julia is a great photographer. All food pix are hers. By Tim Leedom

Kelly Karaba, North Coast, California. Winning Citizen: She is a 29 year old young woman battling Crohn’s disease. Yet, being in pain and under the surgeon’s knife doesn’t get Kelly down. A forest interpreter, Kelly donates time to educate the community about the redwood forests around where she lives. Kelly also is the visionary behind the Save Richardson Grove Project, aiming to save many old growths from being cut down to widen a highway. Lastly, Kelly is a great friend who has been a personal inspiration to many, including myself. It’d be an honor to write about this young woman’s accomplishments and unusual, yet beautiful, life here in Humboldt County. By Sara Lucarelli

Lauren, Los Angeles California. Winning Friend: Lauren is that passionate, inspiring, exceptionally motivated role model that has taken me under her wing (as she has done with many others in the past, and many of us currently) and is helping me realize my full potential and achieve my goals.  Lauren has that elusive spirit which is neither here nor there, but everywhere in between; she is a self-made success (she left home when she was 11) who’s currently a singer/songwriter in Los Angeles and up and coming in the industry (I expect she’ll be famous quite soon).   Lauren’s life has stampeded throughout the world with the rodeos she used to travel with as a full time cowgirl, to helping Jane Austin on her chimpanzee reserves in Africa, to herding Bison in the Rocky Mountains with her dog Steel.  Within our circle of friends, she is the hub, the heart, that keeps us beating our drums..  Did I mention she’s only 25. By Craig Smith

Leslie Grantz, San Francisco California. Winner against the Odds:  4 years ago, my cousin lost both her breasts to cancer and the chemotherapy has zapped her energy ever since.  She had 3 teenage children to raise, a whole household to manage, a sick husband, she also was breeding labradoodle puppies and trying to start a new business. She had to clean up after a family of five and two dogs while fighting sleep because of her sickness. But she persisted.  Today, her organic farm is flourishing, both her daughter’s have graduated from High School and I delivered and helped her sell two litters of her Labradoodle puppies before the female was spayed. By Geralyn Ulukou

Lynn Lynum, Rancho Cucamonga California. Winning Citizen:Lynn was a personal photographer to President Reagan, a sports photographer for a major newspaper, a Pastor, Counselor, and Evangelist. He now struggles with lupus and is on dialysis in need of a kidney transplant. Find out why he still has hope and joy! By Gary Allen Robb

Melody Jensen, Newport Beach, California. Winning Benefactor: Has dedicated her life to “make better the world”. She has been involved in feeding the world from China to Katrina. She is a central figure in quality films in Hollywood. She has forged an alliance of writers, directors and actors to bring quality to films…much like the late Steve Allen. A true hero. She has a main event at the Raddison November 3. Included: humanists, children activists, artists and leaders. By Tim Leedom

Dr. Michael B. Freeman, Bakersfield California. Winning Caregiver: He is a plastic surgeon here in Bakersfield, CA that I have personally had the chance to work with on many “burn” cases. He gives burn victims a chance to live a normal life without being persecuted by the way that they look. He takes what was so devastating to a patient and turns it into something beautiful. He gives hope. I believe that he is a true winner. By Ian Williams

Pam Newton, Palm Springs, California. Winner Against the Odds: A former nurse, Pam remains an optimistic and trusting person in spite of the great personal tragedy she’s endured. Pam’s first husband committed suicide. Her second husband was sent to prison for child molestation that occurred at a daycare center that Pam owned. Her third husband abandoned her when she was diagnosed with Ataxia, a neurological condition that causes loss of balance. In spite of all this, Pam remains dedicated to helping others and has started her own website to support the cause of other Ataxia victims. To this day, Pam counts herself as one of the lucky ones. By Jeff Miller

Pat Phelps, Cedarville California, Winning Artist: Pat is a man out of time. He builds stagecoaches for prestigious museums and institutions worldwide including the Smithsonian in his Cedarville, California shop. The burley, good-natured 46-year-old coachbuilder helped build two of the best known wagons in the world, the Budweiser wagon and the Wells Fargo stagecoach. By Anthony E. Larson

Rolando Ortiz, North Fontana CA. Winner Against the Odds: He is the youngest of seven children and the only one born in the United States. His parents and six siblings emigrated to the U.S from Mexico in 1972. While growing up in East Los Angeles, three of his brothers got involved in gangs, which unfortunately paved the way for him. Like most gang members, he served time behind bars as a minor and an adult. Despite these shortcomings, he is a published poet. He was published in an anthology called the Bandana Republic by Bruce George, founder and creator of HBO’s Def Poetry Jam. He is also going to be featured in two other anthologies, Angels with Broken Wings and Street Smarts (2012). He has written blogs and short stories for Being Latino, a Facebook fan page with over 54K fans. He is actively involved in gang prevention and the Los Angeles poetry scene. Recently, he was voted into The Hollywood Institute of Poetics. His main focus is to work for and with people who are dedicated to giving back to the community.  By Alex Scandalios

Shri Natha Devi Premananda, Los Angeles, Calfornia, Winning Peacemaker: He is an African American spiritual teacher in South LA who is doing PHENOMENAL peace work, not only in LA, but also in Africa, India, etc. by Edith Billups

Symphony, Turlock California, Winning Youth: A young man, with the first name of Symphony, states he is on his way to change the world in a specific way very soon. He is located in Turlock, California, (the same town I am in). Symphony is 19 years of age and works in a coffee shop inside one of the oldest buildings in the small city. He is one of most insane/genius people I have ever had a conversation with. By Devon Martinez

Terry Thoren, Los Angeles, California, Winner Within Business: Mr. Terry Thoren is a bussinessman in the animation industry who believes in the talent of the Filipino animators. He brings us jobs in the Philippines and makes the filipino proud for their talents. He gives us a chance to do what he believes we are capable of doing. Mr. Terry has given me the opportunity to become an animation director even though I’m a Filipino and that makes him a Winner in every sense of the word. By Roberto A. Vergara

Tom Johnston-O’Neil, San Diego, California. Winner within Business: Tom Johnston-O’Neil is an anthropologist and publisher of The Worldview Press. He hopes to bring different cultures together by publishing multicultural books in the classroom. While living in West Sumatra with his family, Tom developed his doctorate dissertation and graduated from Princeton University. He portrays the beauty of many different cultures in his series of classroom books. His other project, The Participant Observer, an online newsletter devoted to the multicultural heritage of San Diego, showcases many cultural events and features around town. This would be a good story because his company claims non-profit status as a service to the community and is dedicated to spreading the message of multiculturalism across generations. By Connie Castro