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Duane Harte loves a parade

Posted: June 30, 2012 1:30 a.m.
Updated: June 30, 2012 1:30 a.m.

Duane Harte with photos of Mentryville. Harte has served as president of the Friends of Mentryville and currently is the treasurer.

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It was a moment in history that changed Duane Harte’s life.

A resident of the Santa Clarita Valley since 1974, Harte lived as most SCV residents do — he commuted to work, came home and raised a family.

After the 1994 Northridge earthquake, he attended an event at Mentryville — and fell in love with the history of the SCV.

“I fell in love with the place at first sight,” he said. “I wanted to help.”

He joined the Friends of Mentryville, became a docent and eventually served as president of the board. He  currently serves as treasurer.

Harte’s community involvement began with the SCV Chamber of Commerce. Owner of Academy Addressing and Mailing in Sun Valley, Harte joined the SCV Chamber and worked his way through the chamber’s ranks of officers, becoming board chairman in 2004.

But his date with Mentryville truly began his love affair with all things SCV.

He has worked with the Santa Clarita Fourth of July Parade since 1998.

“I blame Leon Worden for that,” he said.

Harte is vice president of the Fourth of July Parade Committee. He also takes care of the parade VIPs.

“I schedule the cars, the drivers and all the transportation,” he said. “That’s my main job.”

Harte encourages residents to attend the annual Fourth of July Parade.

“It’s fun. We get more people out to watch that parade than any other event in the SCV,” he said. “It’s estimated that 20,000 to 25,000 people come out to the parade. They all have fun.”

Harte’s volunteer resume in the SCV is long and deep. He was the founding president of the SCV Senior Center Foundation, and worked the Wine Auction to benefit the Senior Center for years.

Harte has also sat on the boards of the Canyon Theatre Guild. SCV Historical Society, Veterans Memorial Committee and Friends of the Library.

“Anything to do with veterans or history, I’m involved,” he said.

It’s not just nonprofits that have attracted Harte’s attention. He is a parks commissioner for the city of Santa Clarita, appointed by city Councilman Bob Kellar.

In 2002, Harte ran for a city council seat. He didn’t win, but that didn’t stop Harte from continuing working for the best interests of the SCV.

He has spent many years working on the Newhall Redevelopment Committee.

Harte said there is something for everyone in the SCV.

“I hear kids say, ‘There’s nothing to do,’” he said. “I say, ‘Get involved.’”

One of the benefits of his volunteer activity is the “bazillions of new friends I’ve made and people I would never have met if I hadn’t done this,” Harte said.

Harte’s interests range from riding his Harley Davidson motorcycle to collecting antique Victorian dolls.

“Pauline and I belong to a Harley club in the SCV and we try to ride as often as we can,” he said. “

His long history of volunteer service to the SCV led Harte to be named the 2003 SCV Man of the Year.

Harte has been roasted by the Elks and served as the Zonta Tribute honoree.

Harte was born in Hollywood and raised in Sunland/Tujana.

Harte is married to wife Pauline. They met while Harte was a student at California State University, Northridge.

He met her on a blind date arranged by a mutual friend.

They lived in Canyon Country and Valencia before settling in Newhall in 1994.

“This used to be the Christmas light street in the SCV,” Harte said. “That was before everyone moved away.”

They have two daughters, Donna and Denise and one grandson.

The Harte household also includes several dogs, Maximus, Shorty and Grace.

He joined the Navy in 1967 and then served in the Naval Reserves, retiring from the Navy in 1990 as a senior chief petty officer.

Harte said the SCV is a community of wonderful people with a rich history.

“This is a great place to become involved,” he said. “You’ll find that once you become involved, you’ll be more and more involved,” Harte said. “It’s very rewarding.”


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