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Spurred to Do the Right Thing

Wayne Crawford is honored for his community service at the annual Silver Spur award celebration.

Posted: March 6, 2008 6:58 p.m.
Updated: May 7, 2008 5:02 a.m.

last Saturday night during a celebration at Universal Studios Hollywood's Globe Theatre, where the theme was "Casablanca"

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"Wayne is one of those people who does the right things for the right reasons," said Dianne Van Hook, College of the Canyons superintendent-president. She made that statement about Wayne Crawford at the 2008 Silver Spur Award for Community Service celebration held last Saturday night at the Globe Theatre at Universal Studios Hollywood. The celebration was hosted by the College of the Canyons Foundation Board of Directors, who honored Crawford with the award in recognition of his many years of devoted service to Santa Clarita Valley non-profit groups and service agencies.

A Deserving Recipient
The Silver Spur Award for Community Service has been given by the COC Foundation board annually since 1989, and the "spur" motif was intended to reflect the western heritage of the Santa Clarita Valley.

The roster of past award recipients describes an impressive club, made up of the most generous souls in the SCV. Crawford, of course, is a perfect fit.

He and his wife Dianne have been residents of the SCV since 1969, and he is the head of Santa Clarita Concrete, which is a public works concrete contractor. He is also a co-owner of Valencia Acura, along with Don and Cheri Fleming. Among many other contributions to the community, small and large, he is well known for the Crawford-Fleming Invitational Golf Tournament, which raises funds for the Sheila R.

Veloz Breast Imaging Center. He has co-chaired the Boys and Girls Club Festival of Trees and is currently serving as chair of Carousel Ranch's capital campaign. Crawford's support for College of the Canyons has taken many forms, and he serves on the boards of Carousel Ranch, Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital, the Boys and Girls Club and the Child and Family Center.

But Crawford said he doesn't do these things for recognition, and noted that being in the spotlight is sometimes hard for him.

"I'm better at the back of the room than the front," he said.

He emphasized that it was "quite an honor" to be picked for the Silver Spur, and then quickly turned the focus toward someone else.

"The college (COC) is a classy operation, and it's an awesome job Dianne Van Hook has done. It's a step above everything else," he said.

The Setting
It might be hard to find a greater contrast - the Hollywood-red-carpet atmosphere of the Globe Theatre and the unassuming man nicknamed the "Concrete Cowboy." But Crawford, decked out in a white tuxedo, was at ease and among friends on this night.

He'd obviously gotten the memo that the theme of the evening was "Casablanca." While three screens played the movie repeatedly during the evening (sans sound), pianist Fred D'Astoli filled the room with classic tunes, including the signature "As Time Goes By."

While many of Crawford's friends, family and well-wishers mingled before dinner, others took a special tram tour of the studios with Ed Masterson as the guide. Masterson said he used to be a VIP Guide at the studios in the early 1980s. "Once you've done it, it never leaves you," he said.

Several of those who did not take the tour were asked about their thoughts on Crawford and the award. Joan   MacGregor, vice president of the COC Board of Trustees, felt Crawford was very deserving of the honor. "We're so thrilled to be honoring Wayne," she said.

Bruce Fortine, also on the Board of Trustees, said Crawford has always been a major supporter of the college. "He has education in his blood," he said. "In terms of volunteering, he's one of the best.

It's our pleasure to honor him."

State assemblyman Cameron Smyth, R-Santa Clarita, noted how well both COC and Crawford have served the SCV community over the years.

"Wayne gives so much," he said.

Van Hook noted that she lived in several other communities before coming to the SCV. "Santa Clarita is a special place, and it's people like Wayne that make it so," she said.

The Evening's Events
The Silver Spur event was co-chaired by Gary and Myrna Condie, and Jeff and Kiki Hacker - and Gary Condie and Jeff Hacker kicked things off in "Casablanca" style. Wearing trench coats and fedoras, they welcomed everyone, made introductions and took a few good-natured shots at Crawford. They presented a brief video highlighting the many
generous sponsors, and dinner began.

In no time, the delicious dinner, including a chocolate soufflé dessert, was history, and the live auction began. Auctioneer Mark Drilling got everyone warmed up with a mock-sale of Universal Studios and then quickly drove up the bids on the limited number of auction items. A sampling of these: Two VIP passes to the 2008 Loose Goose Wine Festival and a selection of premium wines went for $700. Lunch in the House of Representatives with Buck McKeon and a tour of the U.S. Capitol went for $1,400. Dinner for eight at the Crawford residence went for $2,000. When asked what the guests would get, Wayne Crawford replied, "Whatever they want!"

The final item at auction was the opportunity to name the College of the Canyons Canyon Country Campus  amphitheater. The bidding for that went sky-high, with Larry Rasmussen taking it at $25,000. When asked what he intended to name it, he said he would name it after his late father, Carl Rasmussen.

Presentation
Before the award presentation, the guests were treated to an excellent video illustrating the life of Wayne Crawford from the time he was a baby to the present. The audience got a kick out of his wife, Dianne, telling how she did not like him at first.

After that, Van Hook took the podium and praised Crawford for his service. "He's been instrumental in the physical development of Santa Clarita, but also in shaping its character," she said. "The work he has accomplished in the Santa Clarita Valley has implications far beyond the present."

Then she called Crawford to the podium and he was ushered there by a standing ovation. He complimented the video, thanked Van Hook and the board, and said he was "humbled" by the large turnout for the evening. He thanked his family and, especially his wife, noting that she has supported him "in every crazy thing I've done."

Condie and Hacker then took over, thanked everyone for coming and closed the special evening for a special man.


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