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Petersens earn their spurs

College of the Canyons Foundation names 2009 Silver Spur honorees

Posted: July 30, 2008 9:13 p.m.
Updated: October 1, 2008 5:02 a.m.

Harold and Jacqulyn Petersen will be honored by the College of the Canyons Foundation as the 2009 Silver Spur Community Service Award honorees.

 
Harold and Jacqulyn Petersen, of Valencia, moved to the Santa Clarita Valley in 2001 and enthusiastically jumped into SCV life.

The couple’s enthusiasm, dedication and generosity toward area nonprofits has been with rewarded with recognition from the College of the Canyons Foundation as the 2008 Silver Spur Community Service Award honorees.

The Petersens’ distinguished record of community service spans the couple’s nearly 60 years of marriage and time spent in Brentwood, Omaha, Neb., Pottawattamie County, Iowa, and the SCV.

Jacqulyn Petersen said she was surprised at the honor.

“It was a big shock, we’ve lived here such a short time,” she said. “However, we are thrilled to be honored by College of the Canyons.”

Harold Petersen is the president of Petersen International Underwriters and has maintained an active role in the SCV. He is a supporter of the Boys and Girls Club of Santa Clarita, the Santa Clarita Child and Family Center, the UCLA Alumni Association and the Mary and Joseph League of Los Angeles.

In addition to Jacqulyn Petersen’s involvement with Boys and Girls Club of Santa Clarita and the Santa Clarita Child and Family Center alongside Harold, she has given her time and generosity for causes associated with the American Red Cross, the John Tracey Clinic, which provides free medical services for children with hearing loss, the Junior League, the American Heart Fund and the American Cancer Society.
She has also served as president of the Mary and Joseph League, and as a volunteer with the Catholic Church.

Most recently the couple was honored for their work in the community at the Valentine’s Day Have a Heart Sweethearts event benefiting the Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Health Foundation’s ongoing work in funding the Roberta G. Veloz Cardiac Catheter Lab.

Since moving to the SCV in 2001 the couple’s generous and wide-ranging support for College of the Canyons has revolved around several key projects at the college, including the Dianne G. Van Hook University Center capital campaign and the annual Silver Spur celebration.

In addition, the Petersens are both members of the President’s Circle, a group of community leaders, alumni members and corporations that are dedicated to the success of the college, and major contributors to the COC Annual Fund.

“We consider ourselves lucky at College of the Canyons to count the Petersens among our closest friends and strongest supporters,” said COC Chancellor-President Dr. Dianne Van Hook. “We owe them an immeasurable debt of gratitude for all they have done for the college and its students over the years.

Honoring them with the Silver Spur award is our way of thanking them publicly for their generosity, their kindness, and their commitment to community service.”

Harold Petersen said the couple is humbled to be recognized by the COC Foundation.

“We are always in line to support College of the Canyons, we were surprised and to be asked to serve COC in this way,” he said. “COC is such a remarkable organization and the best community college in America.”
The annual College of the Canyons Silver Spur Celebration is traditionally held at a historic museum, club or well-known Los Angeles landmark each spring — and is considered to be one of the community’s most popular and elegant evening events.

The Silver Spur Award committee is co-chaired by Gary and Myrna Condie and Jeff and Kiki Hacker.

“People like to get dressed up and leave the SCV every so often,” said Gary Condie, of the event’s history of choosing venues outside the SCV.

The venue for the Petersen’s celebration hasn’t been selected, but Condie said the date has been fixed at April 25.

“We have narrowed the location to a short list,” he said.

Condie said Petersens were a natural fit for the award.

“In the amount of time the Petersens have lived the SCV they’ve had a huge impact,” he said. “They represent exactly what this award is all about. This award is for leaders in the community and in community service, about people being leaders in making this community a better place — and that defines the Petersens. They do so much behind the scenes, too.”

Van Hook said the Petersens have made a significant positive influence on the SCV.

“Thanks to Harold and Jacquie, all of us in Santa Clarita enjoy a community that wouldn’t be the same without them,” said Van Hook.

In addition to their philanthropy Condie said the couple is fun to be around.

“They are so cute, at their age they are younger than all the rest of us,” he said.

The very first COC Silver Spur Celebration gala was held at the Gene Autry Museum in 1989, with Cliffie Stone as the recipient. The Foundation Board of Directors at the time wanted to create a signature event for the COC Foundation and also to reflect the western heritage of the Santa Clarita Valley.

Previous recipients of the award include Aggie Agajanian, Scott and Ruth Newhall, Tom Dierkman, John Hoskinson, Robert Ormsby, Dick Luechtefeld, Roberta Veloz, Michael Berger, Lou Garasi, Tom Lee, Jay and Joyce Rodgers, Gary Cusumano, Charlotte and Frank Kleeman, Tom Veloz, Rita Garasi, and Wayne Crawford.

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