If there was ever any doubt how a guy who owns a restaurant and a retired art teacher could make a difference in the world, it was put to rest Friday night when Greg Amsler and Nancy Coulter were named Santa Clarita’s 2009 Man and Woman of the Year.
As the capacity crowd cheered, the winners’ smiling faces beamed from big screens on the ballroom walls, their early lives depicted in snapshots from the past and vignettes of their volunteer contributions to the community.
Amsler, the proprietor of Salt Creek Grille in Valencia , and Coulter, the face of the American Cancer Society in Santa Clarita, were honored by the Man and Woman of the Year committee, a group of previous winners of the designation bestowed for more than 40 years for community volunteerism.
The event honors all the nominees, who are proposed by the nonprofit groups they work with, for their selfless contributions of time and talent. Causes cover a broad spectrum, from the environment to health care to youth and cultural activities and community development. All Santa Clarita-based non-profit organizations are encouraged to submit applications in recognition of their finest unpaid supporters.
Coulter has been a resident of the Santa Clarita Valley for 40 years and has always put family first. She volunteered in her children’s classrooms, helped the local Little League, Girl Scouts, PTA and taught art and music classes. When she retired and her children were grown, she continued that dedication to her community.
Nancy ’s mother successfully battled breast cancer years ago and her daughter, Heather, has been fighting it for the last 15 years. Nancy is a devoted volunteer at the American Cancer Society, providing office support, answering inquiries and connecting patients with programs and services. She drives cancer patients to and from treatments and promotes health education through speaking engagements and trainings.
She is actively involved in the annual Relay for Life, serves on HMNMH Cancer Committee and chaired the first Chamber of Commerce Health and Wellness Fair this year. She is also involved with the Philanthropic Educational Organization and SCV Jaycees annualtoy drive.
Her compassion is limitless as she tirelessly lends her time and energy to family, friends and her entire community.
Amsler is one of those faces everybody knows, but not everybody knows what an impact he makes behind the scenes.
Customers at Salt Creek Grille often find themselves on the receiving end of a visit from Amsler, anxious to make sure their dining experience is the best possible. He extends that care and concern to his community, donating gift certificates and his expertise to several nonprofit groups, including the HMNMH Foundation, the Michael Hoefflin Foundation and the SCV Child and Family Center board. In June, Greg and his wife, Chell, will be chairing the annual Boys and Girls Club Auction.
For the Hospital, he served on the marketing and golf committees and helped the Foundation raise more than $16 million for their capital campaign. He’s out there with the crowds at the Child and Family Center ’s ‘Taste of the Town’ event, both as a restaurant owner and as a board member, eager to make sure people support the worthy cause.
It’s not all meetings and charitable commitments for Amsler; as he reserves first crack at his time and talents for his family. Greg’s a volunteer coach for son Colin’ AYSO and Hart baseball teams and the family, which includes daughters Caroline and Claire, frequently returns to Lake Okoboji in Iowa where Amsler’s grandparents have a cabin and the young philanthropist spent his formative years.
The honorees are given special recognition plaques from the City of Santa Clarita , the County of Los Angeles , the California Assembly and Senate and the House of Representatives. They also receive silver-colored license plate holders for their cars, engraved with their new titles, so other drivers in the community will know they’re behind a real leader.