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SCV’s 2008 Man and Woman of the Year

Carl Goldman and Judy Penman honored from elite field.

Posted: May 8, 2008 2:43 a.m.
Updated: July 9, 2008 5:02 a.m.

Judy Penman and Carl Goldman react after being named the Santa Clarita Valley Woman and Man of the Year for 2008 Friday night at the recognition dinner at the Valencia Hyatt grand ballroom.

 
More than 375 members of the SCV community gathered last Friday night at the Hyatt Valencia to recognize the contributions of 23 of our valley's most dedicated and selfless volunteers - and bestow the prestigious Man of the Year and Woman of the Year awards on two of them.

While the tone of the evening was upscale suit-and-tie, this was really a roll-your-sleeves-up and pitch-in crowd. And in the press and din of the packed lobby, as guests and nominees waited shoulder-to-shoulder and hip-to-hip for the doors to open to the Grand Ballroom, the mood was jovial, expectant and, well, familiar. There was no other choice. Anyone with personal space issues caught some air outside.

When those doors finally did swing open, things moved quickly. After all, there were surprise guests of the award winners waiting in the wings and they were ready to join the fun.

As tradition holds, Jeanna Crawford and Greg Nutter, last year's Man and Woman of the Year, were the co-chairs of the 2008 event. They greeted the guests and then presented a short history of the Man and Woman of the Year program.

Since its first award in 1967 to A.B. Perkins, the Man and Woman of the Year committee has honored outstanding Santa Clarita Valley citizens. Each year, a number of the valley's most dedicated volunteers are nominated for the award by local not-for-profit organizations. At a kick-off party and in the press, those nominees are publicly thanked for their community-minded contributions. The Man and Woman of the year committee (comprised of past award winners) then votes secretly to select one man and one woman from the nominees to be the current year's award winners. At the final gala dinner the nominees are presented one more time and the winners are announced.

The co-chairs quickly swung things over into the visual presentations of past winners, and the applause barely had time to die down between each one, as those in attendance were fully aware of the important contributions those winners had made, and many still make, to the community.

The same groundswell of appreciation was evident as this year's nominees were presented. Each was brought to the stage to receive their honors, accompanied by their own inspiring theme music, as their resume of good works was presented on twin video screens. Crawford offered good-natured personal touches for the nominees. For example, of Betty Rabin-Fung, she said, "You just can't take the curtsey out of the Southern Belle."

Then, with the salad plates appearing on tables and the guests barely settled in, the co-chairs revealed the secret: Carl Goldman was the 2008 Man of the Year and Judy Penman was Woman of the Year. The standing ovation that followed was long and hearty, and the surprise guests were let out of the "green room" to get their shot at the delicious dinner with everyone else. These included Penman's son James Lamberto, from Oregon, and Goldman's college roommate Todd Sostek.

At that point Nutter turned everyone over to their food. The hugs and congratulations, of course, continued long after.

As dinner wound down, and the final phase of the evening wound upward, Crawford called Goldman and Penman to their seats of honor on stage. First, they received beautifully framed certificates of recognition from federal, state and local officials, including Mayor Bob Kellar, who noted how special the folks of the SCV are, and especially those present, for their dedication to community service.

Next, representatives from Penman's nominating organizations took the podium to thank her. And, finally, she got a chance to express hew own thanks.

Penman described the awards dinner as "the Oscars of the SCV" and said she was truly honored just to be nominated. "I can't believe this is happening," she said. "I'll have to read about it in The Signal in the morning."

Penman went on to explain that her mother was a dedicated volunteer and that "I just thought that's what you did. I just continued."

Goldman's nominators then had their opportunity to honor him, and Nutter read congratulations to him from his son Ryan at West Point. There was much teasing of Nutter over this, as he struggled to read from what appeared to be a Palm Pilot.

When Goldman took the microphone he said, "I'm blown away. I'm speechless." He went on to explain how he had been nominated a few times before and not won the award, and joked about Don Fleming coaching him on how to win. He said Fleming offered suggestions such as "Maybe you should join Rotary," and "Get a dog - maybe three, and give them cute names." This was in reference to the Flemings' well-known dogs and the fact Don Fleming was a previous Man of the Year.

Goldman then honored the room. "Looking at the former winners, it's truly a ‘Who's Who of Santa Clarita,'" he said.

After Goldman thanked his family and those who were mentors for him, Crawford and Nutter presented both the award winners with the famous license plate frames, announcing to the world that they are 2008 Man, or Woman, of the Year.

So, if you find yourself reading one of these frames as you tailgate someone on the street, back off. If you rear-end them, you're insulting the whole community.

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