Fallbrook Chamber presents annual awards

The Fallbrook Chamber of Commerce presented awards to several deserving citizens and businesses at the 63rd Annual Recognition Banquet at Camp Pendleton’s San Luis Rey Officer’s Club on Saturday, January 19. The chairperson of the dinner was Dona Clark.

Citizen of the Year

Eileen and Phil Delaney are a husband and wife team who share the Citizen of the Year award. The Citizen of the Year is the highest recognition of the Fallbrook Chamber of Commerce. The efforts and accomplishments expected of a Citizen of the Year should reflect work accomplished over several years.

The Delaneys’ work has been spread out over a wide range of nonprofit organizations. Eileen was honored to be chosen as a 2002 Olympic Torch Bearer from San Diego to Oceanside.

Since 2001, Eileen has served as an elected member of the Fallbrook Community Planning Group. She chairs the Fallbrook Design Review Board Committee and is a member of two other committees: Circulation and Parks and Recreation.

Recently the San Diego County Board of Supervisors selected Eileen to fill a vacant seat on the I-15 Corridor Design Review Board. She has served on the board for the Boys & Girls Club, Fallbrook Chamber of Commerce, Fallbrook Village Association and the Fallbrook Art and Cultural Center.

Eileen’s achievements further include: serving for five years on the Fallbrook Fantasy Wedding committee, being named the California State Senate Woman of the Year 2003, founding Operation United Families in 1999 (to benefit members of military and their families), and being a two-term Fallbrook Honorary Mayor.

She was selected by San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis to attend the first District Attorney and Sheriff’s Department Citizen’s Academy and is a director of the Fallbrook Healthcare Foundation.

Eileen is also a CERT volunteer, was a Firestorm 2007 Fallbrook Area Service Team volunteer and public information officer and provided valuable assistance with the “After the Ashes” event. She also worked with the Legacy Endowment Victims Fund as caseworker.

Phil Delaney is the first person to have served twice as president of the Fallbrook Chamber of Commerce in nonconsecutive terms, 2001 and 2007.

In 2002, Phil was the chairman of Fallbrook Children First.

He was a Firestorm 2007 Fallbrook Area Service Team volunteer leader. Phil helped establish the Fallbrook Fire Victims Fund after the October 2007 firestorm with Legacy Endowment: A Community Foundation of Fallbrook.

In November, Phil’s work with a diverse group of community organizations enabled the “Fallbrook: After the Ashes” event to go forward. Legacy has now made disbursements to victims approaching $100,000.

Julie Reeder, publisher of the Village News, had this to say about the couple: “I think the Delaneys are a great choice. They tirelessly serve, and unless you are very involved in several organizations, there is no way you can see the number of nonprofit hours they put into the community.

“After the fires I really appreciated all the time and effort Phil and Eileen contributed to the fundraising and distribution effort. They were absolutely invaluable.”

Lifetime Achievement Award

Carol Eastman is the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award. (This award is not an annual accolade.) Nominees have reached out across many areas of the community to accomplish goals for the betterment of Fallbrook for more than fifteen years.

Eastman has served the Fallbrook community in various capacities for more than twenty-two years and has attended at least 3,056 committee meetings. She is called the ‘Mother of the Avocado Festival,’ having proposed and implemented the event more than 22 years ago.

Eastman served as an elected director and treasurer of the Fallbrook Chamber of Commerce and is an active member of the Fallbrook Soroptimist Club. She implemented improvements to the Fallbrook Christmas Parade and also began the Nail & Sail contest at Oceanside Harbor Days.

“I am extremely honored to be given this award – it was completely unexpected,” said Eastman. “I owe my success to Bob Leonard and all of the chairs I have worked with, especially George and Helen Archibald and Roy and Linda Costello. I don’t work alone!”

“I am retiring and moving to Long Island, NY, to be near my family,” Eastman continued. “My son is an American Airlines pilot and I have a daughter-in-law and three grandchildren. My nephew, who is the anchor of ‘Good Morning America Weekend,’ also lives in New York City with his wife and daughter. So, I am going to be Grandma and Aunt for a while.”

Chamber Executive Director Bob Leonard said, “This is an extremely well-deserved award for all she has brought to the community – she will be missed greatly.”

Chairman’s Pinnacle Award

Wil Gower and Arlyne Ingold are the recipients of the inaugural Pinnacle Awards. This is not intended to be an annual award, but it allows the Chamber to show appreciation to very exceptional people who make the Fallbrook area a greater community and who have sustained significant support over a number of years.

Gower, who will turn 90 in May, was also chosen the 1998 Chamber Citizen of the Year. He has served on a number of task forces, study groups and advisory councils for organizations throughout the community. He is an active member of the Fallbrook Chamber of Commerce and Legacy Endowment Foundation.

Gower has been a member of the Fallbrook Rotary Club, president of the Fallbrook Garden Club, president of the Eastridge Homeowner’s Association, elected member of the Fallbrook Planning Group and founder of the Live Oak Park Coalition. He has served on six committees for the Fallbrook United Methodist Church and is a board member for the Rainbow Girls organization.

A World War II Veteran, Gower also had a successful career as a research scientist before his retirement. He holds a BA in chemistry and a Master’s in business administration. In 1989 Gower moved to Fallbrook because of the healthy environment (forty percent of his lungs had been destroyed).

When he heard he had been chosen for the award, Gower said he was “pleased and shocked.”

Elizabeth Crittendon, assistant executive director of the Legacy Foundation, had this to say about Gower: “He’s very sharp and a great guy – he’s done a lot for the community.”

Ingold, 90, has been a resident of Fallbrook for more than 50 years. She said her motivation is simply stated: “I love children and Fallbrook.”

Ingold is known for her generous financial support of numerous local organizations. She is a founding member of Rally for Children and the Angel Society.

A partial list of other organizations benefiting from her generosity include the Boys & Girls Clubs of North County, the Fallbrook Christmas Parade, Breakfast with Santa, the Fallbrook Avocado Festival, the Art Center in Fallbrook, the Fallbrook Land Conservancy, Art in Public Places, Little League and the Ingold Sports Park.

Ingold was the 2005 Chamber Citizen of the Year.

The Chamber’s Community Builder Award was renamed Ingold Community Builder Award to honor Arlyne and the Ingold family.

“She is one of a kind,” stated Bob Leonard, Fallbrook Chamber of Commerce executive director.

Ingold Community Builder Award

Manny Ortega and Sheriff’s Senior Volunteer Patrol received the Ingold Community Builder Award. Recipients must have reached out across many areas of the community to accomplish goals for the general good of Fallbrook. Arlyne Ingold presented the award.

The recipients provide help to all areas of the community, including special events and senior resident security checks. Ortega has been running the program since 1999. They have educated local businesses about ‘Inkless Ink,’ which reduces the writing of bad checks.

In 2002 the volunteers were honored by a Supervisor Bill Horn Proclamation for their role in the Gavilan Fire Response and Recovery. Ortega was honored in 2004 as Volunteer of the Year by Sheriff Bill Kolender and the Board of Supervisors.

The Senior Volunteer Patrol is 50 volunteers strong and contributes 1,300 hours a month.

Excellence in Small Business

Neiman’s Collision Center and owners Stan and Laura Neiman were presented the Chamber’s Excellence in Small Business Award. The award is presented to businesses that have fewer than twenty full-time employees and have given time, resources and energy for the betterment of Fallbrook.

The Neimans have a reputation for helping local organizations in need. They are longtime sponsors of the Fallbrook Vintage Car Club show and are involved with the Boys & Girls Club.

Stan has served as president of Fallbrook Village Rotary and was on the board of the Fallbrook Chamber of Commerce and served as president in 2005.

Excellence in Large Business

Markstein Beverage Company, owned by Carole and Kenneth Markstein, is the Large Business of the Year. To be considered for this award, businesses have to have more than twenty full-time equivalent employees, with consideration given to the time, resources and energy contributed by the nominee toward the betterment of Fallbrook.

The business is a large contributor to a number of charities and organizations such as Boy Scouts of America, Children’s Hospital Foundation, Leukemia Society, MECA Scholarship Foundation, Mission San Luis Rey Project Share, National Hispanic Scholarship Foundation and UNICEF.

They are the largest single donors to Cal State San Marcos and have been involved with the university since 1991.

The Marksteins support the local military for their heroism, courage and sacrifice. One of the many ways the honoree has said “thank you” was by giving away a 2007 Ford F-150 on the Camp Pendleton Military Base this past summer.

Foundation Award

Linda and Roy Costello received the Chamber’s Foundation Award.

The Costellos have been the chairs of the Fallbrook Christmas Parade for seven years and were instrumental in bringing the Budweiser Clydesdales and Mickey Mouse as parade entrants.

For several years they have helped with the ‘Keep Fallbrook Clean and Green’ effort by hauling large items such as cars and refrigerators out of rivers and gullies of Fallbrook’s mountainous and wild areas.

They are active volunteers in Fallbrook’s many arenas, including the Masonic Lodge.

Carol Eastman of the Chamber had this to say about the Costellos: “They are the best! They pitch in and do all the work [regarding the Christmas Parade] and were successful in getting Mickey Mouse as our Grand Marshal. They are the greatest people in the world to work with.”

Fallbrook Village Association’s Arts Benefactor Award

Dr. Jim Helms is the inaugural recipient of the Arts Benefactor Award. The award was given in recognition of his many contributions to the Fallbrook Art Scene.

Dr. Helms always had a strong interest in art, specifically sculpture, but this had to take a backseat while he raised his three children and built his dental practice. When the Fallbrook School of the Arts opened eight years ago, he began taking classes and workshops with a particular interest in sculpture.

Of Dr. Helms, Mary Perhacs of the Art Center said, “A visit to his Fallbrook dental office is unusual because as soon as you enter the waiting room…art is everywhere.”

Dr. Helms is active in the Rotary Club of Fallbrook and generated about $10,000 in sales from donated sculpture created specifically for the club’s annual Lobster Fest. He and his wife Victoria were early ‘Patron of the Arts Life Members’ of the Art Center.

A member of the board for the Fallbrook Village Association, Dr. Helms focuses on fundraising. He created the ‘Valley Oaks Angel’ made from aluminum siding, light fixtures, trashcan pieces and bits of copper pipe reclaimed from the devastating fire.

Legacy Recognition Award

The Legacy Recognition Award was presented to Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton for their efforts during the fire evacuation, when 30,000 Fallbrook residents exited though the gates, then 800 stayed and were given food and shelter.

Eileen Delaney had this to say: “They are fiercely compassionate and caring… During the recent firestorm…they delivered over 2,100 cots to shelters around San Diego County, allowed evacuated horses from Fallbrook to use their stables and opened their arms (human, not weapons) and gave shelter to over 800 hungry and tired Fallbrook residents who had to leave their homes and had no place to go.

“These evacuees were treated as honored guests, and along with shelter, they were also provided with blankets, pillows and personal care products, purchased especially for them.

“In addition, during their stay they were given three meals a day. Not just simple meals…but buffet-style meals that could compete with any of those buffets found in Las Vegas.

“These fierce, compassionate and caring warriors are great friends to the people of Fallbrook. We are honored to present the 2007 Legacy Foundation Award to Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton.”

Bob Leonard of the Fallbrook Chamber of Commerce contributed to this article.

Look for more photos from this event in next week’s issue of the Village News.

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