The Boy Scouts of America, Bill Hart District, presented the eighth annual Leaders of Character Recognition Dinner fundraiser on Saturday at the Hyatt Regency Valencia.
The event was emceed by host Arif Halaby, president and CEO of Total Financial Solutions, Inc., the presenting sponsor of the Leaders of Character dinner.
“Please note that the proceeds from tonight’s event go to benefit the Boy Scouts of America, representing the scouts in the Santa Clarita Valley,” said Halaby. “It’s very exciting because every dollar raised stays right here in Santa Clarita.”
Halaby lauded the efforts of Boy Scouts of America in raising the “leaders of tomorrow.”
He also spoke about “character development.”
“Character is not being perfect,” Halaby said. “It certainly is never making a mistake. Those are two different things. It’s about; if you make a mistake you correct it. It’s about patterns of behavior being of honor, integrity and character.”
A stirring flag presentation with a color guard carrying dozens of flags entered the Hyatt’s Grand Ballroom to the sound of bagpipes and preceded the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance, the Scout Oath and the Scout Law.
Lindsay Hough then performed “God Bless America.”
Halaby then returned to the stage to tell the audience that the Leaders of Character event had raised nearly $250,000 to benefit scouting in the SCV over the past seven years.
“That is amazing. You make an enormous difference,” he said. “It is because of you and your contributions. Thank you for being here.”
Halaby also spoke about the qualities of leadership
“Doing the right thing is easy when everyone thinks it is the right thing,” he said. “It is hard when you seem to be all alone.”
Honored at the event were Fred and Kristin Arnold, Bob and Margo Hudson and Cary and Kirsten Quashen.
Fred Arnold currently is the chairman of the board of the SCV Chamber of Commerce and previously was the president of the California Association of Mortgage Professionals. He is a mortgage professional with American Family Funding and also speaks to business and consumer groups about economic and real estate issues.
Kristin Arnold has worked as a physical therapist and currently is seeking a teaching credential through the University Center at College of the Canyons.
The couple coordinated a recognition procession in the SCV for Army Sgt. Ian T.D. Gelig, 25, who was killed in March 1, 2010 by a suicide bomber in Afghanistan.
The Arnolds have four children.
Carl Goldman and Jeri Seratti-Goldman introduced the Arnolds.
“The toughest job for a woman is being a stay-at-home mom,” said Jeri Seratti-Goldman. “We watched Kristin do that as she raised her four wonderful kids. I admire Kristin Arnold for being that amazing mom who creates the wonderful leaders in our world.”
Carl Goldman said “Fred Arnold is one of those leaders who is truly visionary.”
“I thought I was high energy,” said Goldman. “But Fred carries that word to a whole new dimension. His energy, passion and compassion are contagious and I know it comes from the heart.”
Arnold was accompanied to the stage by two of his four children, Alex and Katie.
He spoke about the qualities of leadership.
“Leaders are pathfinders,” he said. “Leaders have to be very courageous. Courage is being able to pick yourself up when you are scared, be a pathfinder when you are not sure where the path is going to take you.”
Arnold also spoke movingly about a trip to see a wounded soldier at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. The solider had recently lost a leg after being injured in the same attack that killed Army Spc. Rudy Acosta in Afghanistan on March 19, 2011, of Canyon Country.
Arnold described the experience as “life-changing.”
Bob and Margo Hudson were married in 2008. Bob Hudson is the SVP/CFO of Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital. He is an Eagle Scout and a U.S. Navy veteran. He has two sons.
Margo Hudson was the owner of Margo in Newhall for more than 30 years. She was the founder of the Miss Santa Clarita Valley Pageant and is considered the SCV’s original “fashionista.” She has two children and has fostered nine children.
The Hudsons are supporters of many SCV nonprofits.
Susan Reynolds spoke to the audience about the Hudsons’ many accomplishments.
“Margo Hudson has worked tirelessly to bring her vision to Old Town Newhall,” Reynolds said.
Fashion maven Margo Hudson’s latest venture is The Closet on Main. The store sells gently used clothing on Main Street in Newhall with proceeds benefiting Single Mothers Outreach, a support group for SCV’s single parents.
Reynolds described Bob Hudson as a “true gentleman.”
“When Bob and Margo step into a room the air becomes more elegant,” she said. “The air becomes more alive and the air becomes more fun. Bob’s joviality complements Margo’s seamless elegance.”
Margo Hudson introduced members of the audience wearing Closet on Main fashions, as she was herself and Reynolds.
“It has always been a natural instinct in me to help others,” she said. “Tonight is a special night for Bob and I. Thank you for this honor.”
Bob Hudson said the Leaders of Character award was extremely meaningful for him.
“This, to me, means more than any other accolade or award,” he said. “The Boy Scouts were my family, they raised me.”
Cary Quashen operates Action Family Counseling Drug and Alcohol Treatment Centers which as 12 locations and 16 programs in operation in Southern California.
He is a certified addition specialist who also founded Action Family Counseling, a nonprofit parent and teen support program which operates in the SCV, as well as throughout Southern California.
Kirsten Quashen has served as both a Cub Scout and Girl Scout troop leader and supports several SCV nonprofits. The couple has three children.
The Goldmans returned to the stage to introduce Cary and Kirsten Quashen.
Seratti-Goldman said “it is a privilege to know Kirsten Quashen.”
“She is such a wonderful person,” Seratti-Goldman said. “Kirsten has such a terrific perspective on work and home life. She has found that happy balance that most of us have a challenge trying to reach.”
Carl Goldman said it was an “honor” to introduce Cary and Kirsten Quashen.
“Santa Clarita was blessed when Cary and Kirsten started Action,” he said. “Cary and Action educated the Santa Clarita Valley about the challenges of drug and alcohol abuse.”
Kirsten Quashen said she did not prepare a speech for the event.
“I am very honored to receive this award,” she said. “It has really touched me.”
After his wife spoke Cary Quashen said it was the first time he had heard his wife speak in public.
“I want to give her another hand,” he said as the audience applauded.
Quashen said he appreciated everything that Boy Scouts do for the Santa Clarita Valley.
“I live a strange life,” he said. “I see the worst in people every day. I deal with people with drug and alcohol abuse and mental health issues. I got a call the other day that a girl we were working with was found in a car with a needle in her arm, and she was dead.”
Despite the grim realities of his work, Quashen said, he felt “blessed to be able to do what I do every day.”
He spoke about the rewards of being able to “help save lives” and “help people heal.”
“When I wake up in the morning I want to make a difference and when I go to bed each night I want to know that I did something that counted,” he said.
Each couple was presented with a large gold eagle sculpture by Halaby to commemorate their selection as “Leaders of Character.”
A “virtual” silent auction was held during dinner as scouts of various ages swarmed into the Hyatt Grand Ballroom with auction baskets to display to each table of guests.
Among the auction baskets were an iPad, a framed landscape painting, a variety of services, restaurant gift certificates and other items.
A live auction was held following the honoree recognition. Among the items featured were the 2014 Leaders of Character Head Table; an aerial tour by SCV’s Tim Davis; a choice of outings aboard the power yacht the Valkyrie and an Emerald Bay weekend getaway, among other items.
The Bill Hart District of the Boy Scouts of America serves 926 Cub Scouts, 1,011 Boy Scouts and 264 Venture Scouts in Agua Dulce, Canyon Country, Castaic, Newhall, Saugus, Stevenson Ranch, Valencia and Val Verde.
The district is a member of the Western Los Angeles County Council, Boy Scouts of America which serves 14,983 members.
Previous honorees of the Leaders of Character award are Gary and Myrna Condie, Kevin and Marilyn Malone, Larry and Sue Mankin, Jim Ventress, Carl Goldman and Jeri Seratti-Goldman, Roger and Dianne Van Hook, Bob and Kathy Kellar, Harold and Jacquie Petersen, Larry and Peggy Rasmussen, Bill and Kathy Kennedy, Rick and Ann Patterson, Joe and Barbara Schulman, Greg and Chell Amsler, Howard P. “Buck” and Patricia McKeon, Kerry and Kristie Carmody, Don and Cheri Fleming, Jim McCarthy and Laurene Weste, Jeff and Kiki Hacker, Richard and Marian Sandnes and Marc Winger and Eileen Mann.
Members of the Leaders of Character committee included: Chairman Arif Halaby, Mark Murphy, Tom Hough, Susan Reynolds, James Hall, Jackie Bick, Jeri Seratti-Goldman, Beth Hyde, Tania Mulry, Donna Nacey and Becca Rillo.
The Bill Hart District of the Boy Scouts of America operates out of the Santa Clarita Service Center, 24338 Walnut Ave., Newhall. For more information visit 661-284-6330 or visit www.billhartdistrict.org.
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Source: Santa Clarita News