The 15th annual Mountain Community Awards Banquet was held last Thursday. Sponsored by the Rotary Club of Crestline-Lake Gregory (California, US — District 5330) and held at Thousand Pines Conference Center, eight community leaders that have made a difference in the mountain communities were honoured.
Various community groups honour their best volunteers and contributing members during this annual banquet. It gives each organisation an opportunity to honour their own in a public setting.
A short biography is given for each person, showing the many roads to this special evening.
The Mountain Hero Award was presented to Gregg Rice for his desire to make these mountains the best place to live.
Over the past couple of years, he attended community planning meetings, giving expert input from his years of working for San Bernardino County where he enforced environmental compliance and land use regulations.
He attends MAC meetings, giving information and presentations to help others make excellent decisions for the community’s future.
Jennifer Tilden was nominated by the Crestline Friends of the Library for her years of dedicated service, both on the mountain and her years working with special needs children and adults and with the Mission Inn.
She met husband, Stephen Tilden, at Thousand Pines Camp in the 70s, moving back to the mountain in 2003, and now it was a full circle getting recognised at Thousand Pines.
She is a director for the Friends of the Library and runs its bookstore, benefiting the entire community.
Marci Collar was honoured for her dedicated management of the Senior Citizen’s Thrift Store. Her history is quite colourful, with many years in the TV industry, and now she uses her memorabilia from those years to decorate the windows at the store in Top Town Crestline.
The seniors said, “Marci has turned the store around from a dusty thrift store into a profitable ‘resale shop’ by presenting items in a desirable fashion.” She has a big heart wanting to make the Crestline community a better place to live.
Jeannie and Peter Venturini were honoured by the Rim of the World Historical Society (ROWHS) for the many changes they have spearheaded this last year at the Mountain History Museum.
Although they only arrived in 2014, they have joined many community organisations (AAA, MOW, Soroptimists, Rotary) and Jeannie brings years of knowledge of working with museum collections with her.
This winter, the ROWHS undertook completely reorganising the entire museum, from the new floor to new lighted displays, and even adding additional outdoor displays.
Peter, a former race car driver, often drives the restored historic 1950s Crestline Bus in local parades.
The Lake Gregory Yacht Club recognised one of their founding members, Shelly Arons, described as “A person who never turns down an opportunity to help out in the community, especially if it involves kids.”
The LG Yacht Club has been honoured as a Southern California Yacht Club of the Year for the past two years, for their many community outreach activities, many spearheaded by Shelly.
She has been involved in many other community activities as well, including Old Fashioned July 4th Picnic and crafts for the Boys and Girls Club.
Anthony Muscarello was honoured by the San Bernardino County Fire Department for his outstanding contributions to the youth of the community by mentoring the Fire Explorer Boy Scouting Post.
He has mentored hundreds of youths over the past six years, exposing them to the skills and discipline required, while inspiring them to become firefighters.
This year’s Master of Ceremonies was Rotary President Derek Leistra, replacing Bill Mellinger, who has acted as MC for years.
The reason is that they surprised Mellinger with the Rotarian of the Year Award. Bill has been involved in many aspects of the Crestline community, from announcing the Jamboree Days Parade to pastor of the Crestline First Baptist Church and serving as Chaplain for the Crest Forest Fire District (now County Fire), helping support families in times of desperate need and tragedy.
He exemplifies the ideals of Rotary through his daily life and is a past president of the Crestline-Lake Gregory Rotary Club.
The evening was joyous as the many organisations swelled with pride honouring their best and demonstrating that the community grows much stronger with so many dedicated organisations supporting it.