Nearly 250 people crowded into the ballroom at the Valencia Hyatt Regency tonight, anxious to find out who had been crowned the 2012 SCV Man and Woman of the Year.
It was obviously someone popular, given the few dozen out-of-towners flown in for the occasion, many of their seats empty until the big reveal.
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This year’s honorees, Tom Dierckman and Myrna Condie, received thunderous applause when their lives played out on video screens and as they took to the stage to be recognized by not only the nonprofits that nominated them, but a parade of politicians with certificates to add to the pair’s collections.
Twenty-eight previous winners of the prestigious title were in the room, having made the difficult decision of which two to single out from the philanthropic talent pool.
“We had 19 nominees who were all more than deserving for their outstanding volunteer service to our community,” said Candy Spahr, 2011’s Woman of the Year, who chaired the event with 2011 Man of the Year, Harry Bell. “They are all so worthy, it was a daunting task selecting just two.”
Spahr added that 11 charitable organizations were represented among the nominees. Dierkman and Condie each received silver-colored license plate frames with their new titles and the honor of chairing the 2013 banquet next spring.
The following biographies were read during the presentation of each award:
Thomas E. Dierkman was born on October 25, 1948, in Batesville, Indiana, the only child of Stan and Marty Dierckman. He lived in Batesville until the middle of second grade, serving as an altar boy on Sundays and on every other day, a cowboy. He moved to Shelbyville, Indiana where his parents worked for General Electric.
In 1963, Tom received the highest honor you can receive in the Boy Scouts, becoming an Eagle Scout. He has always credited this award to his mother, as she was the driving force behind his involvement.
Tom played basketball for Shelbyville High School; he also ran track and played football, receiving the Kiwanis Medal his senior year for being the best football player on the team. He graduated in 1966 with an ROTC scholarship, heading off to the University of Illinois in Champagne-Urbana.
In 1971, he graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering and was commissioned as an Ensign in the U.S. Navy. He selected the Civil Engineer Corps (also known as the Seabees) and training in Port Hueneme. Upon completion of his training, he was posted to Yokosuka, Japan, for his first duty station, where he remained for three years. While there, he played for and coached the Seahawks basketball team and also played on the All-Navy volleyball team.
He served 11 years on active duty with the U.S. Navy Civil Engineer Corps. Part of his active duty was spent serving in Oakland as Public Works Officer at the Naval Regional Medical Center and in Port Hueneme, where he spent many hours instructing new Civil Engineer Corps students. He also served two years in Okinawa, leading constructions battalions of more than 2,000 men.
During his Navy career, Captain Dierckman was awarded three Meritorious Service Medals and three Navy Commendation Medals. He is Seabee Combat Warfare qualified.
While in Oakland, he dated Sandy York and married her in 1976.
Tom graduated from the University of California, Berkeley in 1977 with a Master’s degree in construction management. Also, that same year, Tom’s first son Matt was born. In 1981, son #2, Christian Thomas, came along.
In 1982, Tom resigned his commission, but stayed in the reserves for the next 17 years. He retired in 1999 with the rank of Captain after serving a total of 28 years. Also in 1982, he joined The Newhall Land and Farming Company and helped lead the company until his retirement in 2004. He was named Senior Vice President in 1990, President of Valencia Company in 1994 and General Partner, Newhall General Partnership, in 2001.
He was responsible for all aspects of residential, commercial and industrial development as well as asset management for the 15,000 acre “new town” of Valencia.
Among his projects were the Valencia Town Center mall, the Hyatt Valencia hotel, Town Center Office buildings, Valencia Corporate Center, Valencia Industrial Center, Valencia Commerce Center and Valencia North River.
He is currently Managing Member of M6 Advisors, LLC, providing real estate development consulting services to property owners in California. He also serves part-time as Special Assistant to Congressman Buck McKeon on matters concerning student nominations and appointments to the nation’s military service academies.
Tom has served in the board of directors of the LA County Economic Development Corporation, Valencia Water Company, Castaic Lake Water Agency and Valencia Bank and Trust. He was a board member for 12 years and served as past chairman of the College of the Canyons Foundation. He is a Director Emeritus and was the 1993 recipient of the Silver Spur Award for community service.
He is also past president of the SCV Boys and Girls Club Board of Directors and currently serves as Vice President on both the Foundation and the Governing Board. He was named recipient of the Samuel Dixon Award in 2003, after spearheading efforts to fully fund and complete a new 27,000 square-foot clubhouse at Sierra Vista Junior High School in Canyon Country. In 2011, he was named Board Member of the Year.
Dierckman is active with SCV Habitat for Heroes and the SCV CEO Advisory Council. He serves in his church and supports numerous charitable causes, including the SCV Pregnancy Center, Young Life, the Los Angeles Mission, St. Jude Children’s Hospital, Covenant House, Catholic Charities, the American Red Cross and various veterans’ organizations.
He is a member of the Board of Delegates of the Seabee Memorial Scholarship Association and is actively involved with the Civil Engineer Corp/Seabee Historical Foundation and Seabee Museum in Port Hueneme.
Tom enjoys tennis, traveling and spending time with his family. He and his wife, Sandy, have two sons, Matt and Chris, two daughters-in-law, Nicole and Allie and a brand new grandson, Colton. Tom and Sandy reside in Valencia.
Myrna North Richardson was born February 4. 1947 in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. She was the fourth of 10 children (7 boys and 3 girls) born to Weldon & Roberta Richardson.
Myrna’s early years were split between Jackson Hole, Wyoming and Richfield, Utah when her parents moved to Utah to take over an automobile dealership.
Later the family sold the business and returned to Wyoming where Myrna graduated from JacksonWilson High School in 1965. She was voted Prom Queen and class secretary) her senior year.
That fall she left home to attend college at Utah State University.
It was in her second year of college that she met a young man who had just returned from Germany. He spoke German. That impressed her since she had an older brother who also spoke German.
They got engaged on Myrna’s birthday and Myrna and Gary were married on June 8, 1967.
After spending the summer managing a lodge in Jackson Hole, the newlyweds transferred to Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, where they both continued their schooling.
Later Myrna, Gary & their daughter, Heather, moved to California where Myrna attended California State University at Northridge and finished her degree in Clothing & Textiles and Fashion Design.
Myrna has enjoyed making bridal gowns, prom dresses, evening dresses and numerous other fashions over the years. Her style is to sit down with a person and sketch out what they want. She then designs her own pattern. One year a winner at the Emmy Awards wore a gown created by Myrna.
Myrna has taught Advanced Sewing. Textile Science and Fashion Design for the American College, Santa Monica Community College and Los Angeles Unified School District. She has also worked in the costume department at California Institute of the Arts.
In 2005 College of the Canyons named the costume shop at the new Performing Arts Center after her – The Myrna R. Condie Costume Shop” – in recognition of her achievements.
Myrna has battled health problems her whole life. Two open-heart surgeries. eight heart pacemakers and other related surgeries are the result of multiple congenital heart defects. Nevertheless, this has not stopped her from developing her talents, having a family and serving others in many different ways.
Myrna and Gary have had several foster children over the years. Their home has always had an open door. They are still close to many of these individuals and their children today.
Her community service is widespread. For the SCV Boys and Girls Club, she founded the annual Festival of Trees fundraiser, co-counded the Boys and Girls Club of SCV Foundation, serves on the club’s board of directors; at College of the Canyons, she has chaired the Silver Spur Celebration, serves on the college’s foundation board of directors, “Circle of Friends” and Board Governance committees.
She has received several honors, including the Silver Spur Award in 2010. In 2009, she was named California “Mother of the Year” by American Mothers, Inc.; in 2006 she received the Leader of Character Award from the Boy Scouts of America; in 2004, she was given the Samuel Dixon Award from the SCV Boys and Girls Club and in 2003, was named the club’s Foundation Board Member of the Year.
Also nominated in 2012 were Stephen Kilker, Steve Sturgeon, Gary Choppe, John Lutz, Jim Lentini, Bob Benjamin and Bill Lively; Agnes Russell, Debbie Heys, Linda Hafizi, Laurie Ender, Marina Contreras, Gerri McCorkle, Sue Endress, Dawn Hovhannisyan, Diane Benjamin and Cheryl Gray.