John Murray, Greg Nutter and Cary Quashen.
The official 2007 Man and Woman of the Year will be named at the 40th Annual Recognition Dinner to be held Friday, May 4, 2007, in the Grand Ballroom of the Hyatt Valencia Hotel. The event will pay tribute to the top volunteers in Santa Clarita Valley and to past award recipients. It will benefit a number of charities and will include dinner, a multi-media presentation and the recognition ceremony.
Below are the biographies of three volunteers up for the award. Each one deserves recognition for the work they do. We will feature three nominees every day this week.
7 John Murray
John Murray has been a volunteer with the Michael Hoefflin Foundation, his nominating organization, since its inception in 1994. His unwavering support has helped the Foundation to grow from a small grass-roots organization to one of the most successful and well known non-profit organizations in the Santa Clarita Valley. John's efforts are always "under the radar." He avoids the spotlight, but has become an exemplary volunteer. At the Michael Hoefflin Foundation, he offers support to families facing the horror of pediatric cancer. He is a backbone of the organization. No matter how large or small the task, John takes it on, knowing he's helping families struggling with the cancer of a child. The Michael Hoefflin Foundation serves nearly 200 families. While John is neither a Board Member nor an Advisory Board Member, he provides countless hours of support, and steps up whenever needed. He also enlists the help of friends and his family, including extended relatives, for the benefit of the Foundation. Even while running his own busy plumbing business, John finds time each summer to head up the enormous task of facilities coordination for the Foundation's annual "Evening Under the Stars," its largest event of the year. It requires months of planning and weeks of set-up, during which time John works from the crack of dawn to late evening to prepare for the event which draws nearly 1000 people. After all this work, including days of setting up tables, John insists on purchasing tickets to the event to support the Foundation. John is also involved in other community organizations. He is a dedicated member of his parish, St. Clare of Assisi, where he oversees the youth Confirmation program. He also runs the Altar Services and is involved in the Knights of Columbus. John has been active in his children's activities as well. He was instrumental in reinstating Boy Scout Troop 48 which had become dormant years before. He was a member of this Troop growing up and wanted to share the experience with his sons. His support of the Michael Hoefflin Foundation is not only through immense personal efforts, but through financial support and in-kind donations from his business.
8 Greg Nutter
Greg Nutter's volunteer service in the Santa Clarita Valley goes back more than 25 years. He has been one of the post prominent and hard-working members of SCV Rotary for 15 years. He has served on both the Rotary Club Board and Rotary Foundation Board, overseeing the distribution of funds to non-profits. He served as club president in 1997-98. He has been a board member of the SCV Committee on Aging for more than 10 years, and has helped that committee develop into the largest and most comprehensive service-provider for needy senior citizens in all Los Angeles County. He has served as an officer and has chaired many committees. In these capacities, he has coordinated facility repairs, maintained financial oversight and ambassador duties. He has helped the Senior Center in fundraising by working on the Annual Wine Auction and the Celebrity Waiter Dinner. Through SCV Rotary, Greg was instrumental in obtaining the donation of a Percheron horse to Carousel Ranch for its horseback therapy for children with disabilities. The Club also donates money for the horse’s upkeep. Also through Rotary, Greg has supported the Samuel Dixon Family Health Center and Single Mothers' Outreach, and helped establish Dental Health for Children. He has also been associated with the American Red Cross board of directors, the American Heart Association, the SCV Chamber of Commerce membership committee, the Boys & Girls Club Auction, the Michael Hoefflin Foundation, the Child & Family Center "Taste of the Town," the SCV Chapter of the American Diabetes Association, the school district's "Principal for a Day," City of Santa Clarita's "Job Shadow Day," the Veterans of Foreign War and the American Legion.
9 Cary Quashen
Cary Quashen is the founder of ACTION Parent & Teen Support Program — a non-profit gathering of parents of troubled teens who meet to offer each other support and solutions to their kids’ problems. The 46-year-old leader started this program in 1989 (serving Simi Valley, Glendale, Alhambra, Whittier and Thousand Oaks) and he opened the doors in Santa Clarita in 1997. He initiated this program so that kids would not grow up as he did — a gang member, drug addict and an alcoholic. Cary and his students travel around the Hart School District providing assemblies and classroom talks for junior high and senior high school students. He is regularly called upon by school principals, nurses and counselors to help with at-risk kids. He is frequently summoned by the City of Santa Clarita to help in crisis situations. Cary is an active member of the City's DADs program (Dads Against Drugs) which provides free drug-testing for kids. He has been a guest speaker at the City of Santa Clarita's "Teen Scene Unplugged" events, and is a member of the City's Blue Ribbon Task Force working on citywide drug and alcohol education issues. When a crisis arises on our city streets involving teens, drug and alcohol issues, the Sheriff's Department invariably summons Cary. He makes himself available at all hours of the day and night. He is often the critical component to finding outside placement for kids in need of health service options. While the ACTION program is funded by a small grant, the remaining dollars come from Cary’s own pocket. He recently provided and paid for 2–3 professional counselors to work with teens every Tuesday evening. He pays for two counselors to work at Bowman High and Saugus High weekly. He provides counselors free of charge to intervene in crisis situations, as needed by the Hart School District, the City of Santa Clarita, and the local Sheriffs Department. And he pays for drug-testing in a number of programs. He has started a scholarship program for at-risk teens who have turned their lives around. Last year he gave out four $500 scholarships to graduates at Bowman High. This year he is anticipating giving eight $500 scholarships for at-risk teens, provided they successfully graduate from Bowman. And he pays for the 24-hour crisis hotline and the staff to answer calls. Today Cary Quashen has become a certified addiction specialist. He is the executive director of the Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital Behavioral Health Unit, is the CEO and founder of Action Family Counseling. He co-hosts a weekly local radio show called “Families In ACTION” on KHTS-AM 1220. This program talks about issues that affect parents and teens: communication, teen sex, drugs, and finding family services the SCV. Cary is fond of saying “There are no bad kids, just kids who make bad choices.” He has dedicated his life to helping troubled teens make the right choices