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Man and Woman of the Year nominees named

Posted: March 30, 2008 12:13 a.m.
Updated: May 31, 2008 5:02 a.m.

Kris Hough could not make the dinner, but her friends made sure she was remembered. As Rick Patterson spoke, Ann Patterson held up a scroll listing Hough's good works. That's Gloria Mercado Fortine holding up Hough's photo.

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The setting was the elegant Westridge home of Don and Cheri Fleming on Wednesday evening as the 2008 Man and Woman of the Year Nominees were announced. And if the magic dust from doing good works could rub off, then anyone brushing through that august crowd could then walk directly through the Pearly Gates without setting off the alarm - such was the caliber of those present. First there were the 23 nominees themselves, being recognized for volunteerism above and beyond the call. Then there were the members of the Man and Woman of the Year Committee, all past award winners. And even those guests not falling into either of those fine categories were volunteer champs in the making.

With good food, drink and friends enlivening things, the nominees were brought to an impromptu "stage" at the back patio and the highlights of their volunteerism announced. This was a long process, because there was often more than one organization nominating a candidate. To liven this up, a few of the speakers sang. That included Mark Salyer of the Theatre Project/SCV, who sang lines about Carl Goldman, playing off a tune from "Oklahoma." "Carl's just a guy who cain't say no..." This is Goldman's fourth nomination and earlier he joked about how he felt like Martin Scorsese - always nominated and never winning. But to be nominated puts one in a very elite category, and the compliments to and among all the nominees were as plentiful as they were heart-felt.

Nominee Bruce Fortine said that all the other nominees were "top-notch leaders of the community. That's what makes the Santa Clarita Valley what it is today. I'm proud to be among the nominees."

Gary Condie, the 2005 Man of the Year, noted the widely recognized suitability of all the nominees for the award. "If any one of them won, no one would ask why," he said.

Kept busy ensuring the evening's success were last year's Man and Woman of the year, Greg Nutter and Jeanna Crawford - especially Crawford - as the previous year's winners are always the next year's event chairs. And even when the party was through, their work was nowhere near done. They still have to throw the big bash, the Man and Woman of the Year Awards Dinner on May 2 at the Hyatt Valencia. That's when this year's Man and Woman of the Year will be announced.

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