On Monday, March 9, the Santa Clarita Elks Lodge #2379 held an awards night to recognize the first responders and charities in our community. Our local County Fire Department, Sheriff’s Department, California Highway Patrol, Santa Clarita Senior Center and Henry Mayo Memorial Hospital were represented by their respective leaders.
Justin Diez, our new Sheriff Captain, presented School Resource Deputy Javier Guzman Jr. as deputy of the year. Deputy Guzman is assigned to our local high schools to provide services required as needed.
Fire Battalion Chief Nick Pena presented Fire Fighter Paramedic Jacob Windell with Employee of the Year. His dedication and multiple assignments throughout his career have provided services throughout the city and county.
California Highway Patrol, Newhall Station, Commander, presented Officer of the Year to Rudy Alcantar. Rudy has been instrumental in keeping local highways safe. His record of arresting drivers under the influence of drugs or alcohol has surpassed any of his peers.
The local Senior Center has supported SCV’s senior population with food and social activities for many years. This cannot be accomplished without the support of many volunteers. Santa Clarita Senior Center Chief Operations Officer presented Catherine and Frank Kopp as volunteers of the Year.
Santa Clarita’s only hospital, Henry Mayo Memorial Hospital, is a mainstay of our community. Charmine Navarro was introduced as employee of the year for her outstanding dedication and service to the many patients this hospital supports. She is a 20 plus-year registered nurse with a focus on emergency/trauma care. Her leadership and patient education ensure excellence in patient care.
The Elks National Foundation is the third largest provider of educational scholarships behind the federal government and Bill Gates. This year there were $1,000 scholarships presented to local students. The top two presented were to Gregory Salazar and Katelyn Sulett. These scholarships are awarded based on academic, leadership and financial needs. These recipients have exceeded in these requirements and will continue their goals with higher education.
The Elks National Foundation is dedicated to Americanism and the support of veterans. One of these programs is the Americanism Essay Contest. This year’s essay theme was “What Does Freedom of Speech Mean to Me?” This contest is held for 5th, 6th 7th and 8th grade students. This year’s winner was Sergio Gomez 6th grade student at Mint Canyon Elementary School. The runners up were Madeline Hernandez and Miguel Conde, also 6th grade students from Mint Canyon School.
The Elks National Foundation has a program where a local lodge can apply for grants to support our local veterans. This year’s Spotlight Grant Of $2,500 was presented with to a family that had won a lottery to receive a house donated to the Veterans Collaborative of Santa Clarita. These funds were provided to purchase appliances, furniture and other furnishings to make this house a home.
After the community awards and a short recess the lodge awards were presented. There were membership pins for 5, 10, 15, 20, 25 to 55 years of lodge membership. The lodge main charity fundraiser is bingo played twice a week. The volunteers that make this a successful mode of charity fundraising were recognized.
The final awards were presented to members that have provided exemplary service to the lodge. These awards recognized individuals who go above and beyond to make the lodge run smoothly, events be successful and able to continue caring for the community.