Volunteerism saluted as winners named.
Carl Goldman and Judy Penman were named Santa Clarita Valley’s Man and Woman of the Year during a gala dinner Friday night.
The event at the Hyatt Valencia was attended by several hundred of the valley’s movers and shakers, making for a warm and familial reception.
The lobby was decorated with a chronology of previous winners, their pictures framed in license plates holders similar to those given each honoree. It was a trip down memory lane for several people as they reminisced about friends and events gone by.
The full ballroom became hushed as slides of each of this year’s 23 nominees were projected on screens and 2007 winners Jeanna Crawford and Greg Nutter took turns reading short biographies.
Finally, the moment everyone was waiting for came, and as Crawford asked for a “drum roll” from the crowd, a slide popped up with Goldman and Penman’s pictures.
As their names were called, a small crowd of new guests were ushered into the room, surprises for the honorees that included family members, friends and others dear to the winners that might have spoiled the reveal. Goldman’s college friends joined the group, and Penman’s son Jim traveled from Oregon to be with his mother, missing his own daughter’s fifth birthday party, something Penman was fretting over missing herself.
The two were escorted to the stage and seated in black executive chairs to receive accolades from representatives of elected officials, most of who know the pair as friends.
Chris Perry from Congressman Buck McKeon’s office described Goldman as “the best in civic pride and patriotism in this community, and Penman as an outstanding volunteer who was also gentle and giving of her time and herself.
After the political tributes, it was time for slides shows and stories.
It was poignant to hear that one of Judy’s childhood pastimes was listening to Gene Autry broadcast from Melody Ranch, where she has volunteered for the past several years at the city’s Cowboy Festival.
Some of the groups she is deeply involved with are the American Association of University Women, the American Heart Association, the Boys and Girls Club (2007 Volunteer of the Year), the City of Santa Clarita, the COC Performing Arts Center, the Domestic Violence Center and Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital. She was nominated for the Woman of the Year honor by Zonta and Circle of Hope.
“This is the Oscars of the Santa Clarita Valley,” Penman said, taking the podium. “It really is an honor to be nominated, thank you all. To say that we do good in the SCV is barely scratching the surface. Each one of tonight’s nominees have donated an astounding amount of volunteer hours and raised mountains of dollars.”
“My mother Dorothy was a small business owner. She ran a little motel for 37 years, but when people came there, you’d have thought you’d come to the chamber of commerce with all the information she gave them and how she made them feel at home,” she said. “I just thought that was what you did when you grew up.”
Goldman’s involvement includes founding the Michael Hoefflin Foundation with Chris and Sue Hoefflin and helping start The SCV Theatre Project, as well as serving as a leader on the boards of the American Red Cross, the SCV Disaster Coalition, the SCV Chamber of Commerce and through the radio station, coordinating a Community Recycling Program, Safety Patrols, an annual lobbying trip to Sacramento and chairing the Congressional Art Award.
He was nominated for Man of the Year by the Zonta Club of Santa Clarita Valley, the SCV Theatre Project, SCV Disaster Coalition and Providence Holy Cross Foundation. His wife, Jeri Seratti-Goldman, was Woman of the Year in 2005.
The only musical performance of the night was a tribute sung by Mark Salyer of The SCV Theatre Project, who offered “apologies to Oscar Hammerstein and Richard Rodgers.”
“Carl’s just a guy who can’t say no,
Helps everybody he meets.
On every single board we know,
When does this guy ever sleep.
Without his endless struggling,
It would be really scary.
But it leaves no time for…snuggling,
According to dear Jeri.
Carl’s just a guy who can’t say no
And we are the lucky ones here.
There will be nothing to fear.
But don’t hate us Jeri my dear.
Carl can’t say no.”
“I’ve been nominated before for this honor,” Goldman said. “Don Fleming and I used to do a post-mortem to see what I might do differently. He said I was a businessman and had to be less controversial. That worked real good this year,” as the crowd erupted in laughter.
After echoing Penman’s sentiments that the honorees over the four decades of the program were a “Who’s Who” of the Santa Clarita Valley, Goldman credited four people with getting him involved in community service, causing several in the audience to nod their heads and smile in recognition.
“First there was Bob Warford. He taught me what community service was; he and the sheriff’s department embraced us, he trusted us, we trusted him, which doesn’t always happen between law enforcement and the media. Next was (former Signal publisher) Sammie Zeile, who shared the need to be passionate about the groups and nonprofits in town. She also taught me that you need to roll up your sleeves and do the work. “
Santa Clarita Mayor Bob Kellar was Goldman’s third inspiration; Kellar got him involved with the Canyon Country Chamber of Commerce in the early 1990’s and the two have worked together closely since then. The fourth was Ruth Newhall, the late town matriarch whose simple gesture at a fundraiser gave him a cornerstone on which he based his community service.
“We were up at her mansion in Piru and had just finished a fundraiser for Henry Mayo hospital,” he said. “We were sitting in the kitchen and I looked out the window and here was Ruth, cleaning up. I jumped up and ran outside and asked her what she was doing. She simply told me ‘Somebody has to do it.’”
Along with the traditional toy cars and life-sized license plate holders engraved with the year and title, Penman and Goldman were given one more thing – the task of organizing the event for 2009.