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Boy Scouts of American honor local leaders

Dr. Joseph and Barbara Shulman, Bill and Cathy Kennedy and Rick and Ann Patterson are named ‘Leaders

Posted: October 3, 2009 4:45 p.m.
Updated: October 4, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Peyton Halaby, 9, a Cub Scout for three years and father Arif Haliby of Total Financial Solutions, title sponsor of the Leaders of Character dinner for the past four years.

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Strong values met strength of character when the Boy Scouts of America and title event sponsor Total Financial Solutions hosted the fourth annual Santa Clarita Valley Leaders of Character Recognition dinner.

Held in the Grand Ballroom of the Hyatt Regency Valencia, the evening affair recognized leaders in the community who have personified the traits associated with the Boy Scout Law and oath.

Receiving the awards for SCV business, government and philanthropic leadership in the community were Bill and Cathy Kennedy, Rick and Ann Patterson and Dr. Joseph and Barbara Schulman.

The honor is presented annually to couples and individuals who represent the Scout Law, which includes qualities of being "trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent."

The law dates back to the founding of BSA in 1910, but the 2009 honorees showed that qualities of character don't fade with time.

The event attracted nearly 200 guests who mingled over cocktails in the sun-lit lobby prior to the opening of the ballroom doors.

Mixed among a sea of evening gowns and fine-tailored suits, dozens of Boy Scouts of all ages filtered through the crowd in their traditional uniforms adorned with badges.

From Cub Scouts and Webelos to Boy Scouts and Eagle Scouts, troops of the Bill Hart District of the Boy Scouts of America were present to welcome guests and meet the leaders who bring character to life.

Scout Executive Jim Rushton said mixing community leaders with leaders-in-training is important.

"This event is great because it gives us a chance to show our boys the leaders in our community who represent what scouting is all about," said Rushton. "This is the greatest organization for developing youth into being future leaders of character in their own lives. Tonight's event gives them wonderful examples to follow."

Troops represented the District as they performed a flag ceremony and called the guests in the Grand Ballroom to attention for the pledge of allegiance.

Scouts of all ages gathered to the stage, standing sturdily with flags as they recited the Scout Oath and Scout Law.

The fourth annual dinner included live and silent auctions to raise funds for the Bill Hart District, which serves 1,250 Cub Scouts, 810 Boy Scouts and 370 Venturers in 100 Scouting units in the SCV including Agua Dulce, Canyon Country, Castaic, Newhall, Saugus, Stevenson Ranch, Valencia and Val Verde.

Scouts paraded around the room with colorful gift baskets and other items of interest while guests dined.

The silent auction, called a "virtual auction," included items such as "An Evening of Magic" which offered passes to the Magic Castle for eight people.

Other goodies up for grabs were gift baskets of spa items, family fun-days, wine selections, golf packages and lunch with state Assemblyman Cameron Smyth.

Tickets for bidding were also available for the Repertory East Playhouse, Canyon Theatre Guild, the Master Chorale and the upcoming College of the Canyons production of "Hair" at the Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center.

Scouts entered bids electronically, which were illuminated on large screens in the room so guests could keep an eye on their prize.

Live auction items included a weekend getaway on Catalina Island, a full day yacht cruise, VIP wine tours, a flight training session and a professional make-over with Hollywood makeup artist Joseph Saenz.

Other items included a VIP luncheon with United States Senator Howard P. "Buck" McKeon and a full day paid excursion for up to 50 people at Camp Josepho in Pacific Palisades.

But there was one way to raising funds for the District that most bidders could not resist.

The "Fund a Scout" pledge drive offered attendees a chance to help send scouts to camp. The outdoor wilderness adventure is a key learning experience for the scouts, who raise $400 to $1,000 in order to go.

Carl and Jeri Goldman, 2007 Leaders of Character honorees, were also in attendance to support the cause. Carl Goldman urged the room of supporters to help the scouts on their journey of self-discovery and service to others.

"This event really touches our hearts," said Goldman. "The scouts mean so much to this community and it is important that we continue to support them."

And support was given by the room of guests whose hands rose in offering up pledges of $1,000, $500, $250 and $100 for the cause.

The event raised an estimated $27,000 and all proceeds directly support the programs and services offered to the 2,500 youth participating in the Boy Scouts of the Santa Clarita Valley.

Acting as emcee for the evening was Arif Halaby, president and CEO of Total Financial Solutions, Inc.

"We at Total Financial Solutions, Inc. believe so strongly that financial success is tied to character and discipline, as well as other tenants supported by the Scout credo, that we are compelled to sponsor this event and honor its recipients," said Halaby. "Building the next generation of responsible and giving leaders for our community and the world around us is a goal we feel that everyone should support financially and philosophically."

Halaby's two scout sons also had their own messages about the importance of the event.

"I have learned so much in being a scout just by doing things for other people and building up confidence in myself," said 14 year-old Boy Scout, Logan Halaby. "Being here tonight and seeing great leaders in the community is really great for me."

Logan's younger brother, Peyton agreed.

"I think this event is really exciting because it brings all of these people together who are kind and thoughtful," said Cub Scout, Peyton Halaby, 9. "It gives me a good feeling to help the community and that's what everyone here feels too."

Good feelings filled the air as 22 year-old singer Lindsay Hough belted out a moving performance of "God Bless America."

One guest of the evening explained how the song's meaning affected him that night.

"I was listening to the words, ‘God bless America, my home sweet home' and I started thinking about my own home," said 2009 honoree Rick . "The values in our community contributed greatly to the happiness of my family. The Boy Scouts are a large presence in that fact."

Rick and Ann Patterson were one of the three couples honored for their long-standing involvement with charitable and service organizations in the community.

Rick Patterson is one of the founding partners in the personal injury law firm, Owen, Patterson and Owen while his wife, Ann, stayed steadfast in her work as a special needs educator.

Residents of the SCV for the past 36 years, the couple feels there was no better place to raise their eight children and seven grandchildren.

No stranger to qualities of character, Patterson is an Eagle Scout who has acted in many Scout leadership positions over the years, including Varsity Scout Leader for his three sons, all Eagles.

"The Boy Scouts always supported our goals as parents and helped us provide our children with a positive influence and strong sense of ethics," said Ann Patterson. "This is a very special event and it is a privilege to be honored by a group that does so much to help build strong futures for our youth."

Dr. Joseph Schulman and Barbara Schulman took to the stage to receive the event's shining bronze eagle award.

Joseph Schulman is the chief scientist of the Alfred E. Mann Foundation for Biomedical Engineering and has engaged in electronics design for both university and industry, paving new roads in medical electronic advancements for the majority of his career over the past 50 years.

A philanthropic couple to the core, Schulman's advancements in medical technologies are paired with his wife Barbara's dedication to community service and volunteer activities through her church.

Barbara Schulman shared her thoughts on the principals and values behind the honor of the evening.

"Giving back to the community is very important to each person involved," said Schulman. "It helps those in need while also giving back to who you are as a person. It fills you up inside. The Boy Scouts help young people discover this and they can take that with them for the rest of their lives."

Honorees Bill and Cathy Kennedy had their own words to say about the importance of the honor and what it meant to them.

"We are lucky to be here today among these young leaders," said Bill Kennedy. "Somewhere along the way we had a positive difference made on our lives. It feels good to be a part of an evening that makes these differences every day."

Throughout a 27-year career as a colonel in the U.S. Air Force, Bill Kennedy has served the community and country in various ways while Cathy Kennedy gave unmatched efforts to service and support groups for military families.

The couple moved to the SCV in 2001 and continues to support a large number of local organizations.
Bill Kennedy also serves as chairman of the Planning Commission, SCV Chamber of Commerce and SCV Economic Development Corporation.
Serving on the board of various organizations, the couple has shown a dedication to service.

"There is such value to be gained from the learning process and mentoring program of this organization for young leaders," said Cathy Kennedy. "These strong values are what makes our country as wonderful as it is."

Bill Kennedy added, "The irony about character is that we don't develop it on our own. Character grows when it is evaluated and deepened by experiences with others around you. I find tonight to be a true honor because if you're looking for a place to build character, boy do the Boy Scouts do it!"

For information about the Boy Scouts of America, visit www.bsa-la.org. For information about the Boy Scouts of the Santa Clarita Valley Bill Hart District, visit www.billhartdistrict.org.

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