It was “Lance Lipscomb Night” at the annual installation dinner of the Westchester/LAX-Marina del Rey Chamber of Commerce Friday, June 18th.
The black-tie affair was held at the Marina del Rey Marriott Hotel.
Lipscomb, owner of the LAX Travelodge Hotel and a longtime supporter of education, received the Fritz B. Burns Outstanding Community Service and Leadership Award.
Lipscomb contributed the $5,000 award to seven of his favorite community organizations.
Lipscomb was also honored by outgoing chamber president David Voss with the Jim Bunch Spirit Award — an award named for Lipscomb’s late partner who served as chamber president before his death in 2000.
“There can be no more perfect match between an award winner and the award than this one,” said Voss. “After Jim’s passing, Lance was encouraged to become more involved in the chamber and he quickly became instrumental in the success of the Education Committee in particular.
“What makes Lance so special is his ability to see the good in everyone and everything and to infuse the room with a positive energy that makes anyone he touches filled with enthusiasm and excitement for the task ahead.
“With his cowboy hat and boots, he stands out in any crowd — not for what he wears but because he makes everyone he deals with simply feel good.
“There can be no higher praise of character than that.”
But the accolades for Lipscomb continued.
Incoming chamber president Diane Barretti announced that Lipscomb will serve as the community honorary mayor for the 2004-2005 chamber year that begins Thursday, July 1st.
As honorary mayor, Lipscomb will represent the community at a variety of ceremonial functions, including the annual Fourth of July Parade and various ribbon cuttings, ground breakings and special events.
The evening also included a variety of awards given to various chamber members for their serv-ice during the past year.
– Outstanding event, Business Recognition Dinner, chaired by Gwen Vuchsas;
– Outstanding merchants, David and Pat Lyon, PAWZ and Westchester Watch Works;
– Outstanding committee, Governmental Affairs, chaired by Art Swerdloff;
– Outstanding service, Loyola Marymount University;
– Public service awards, Viet Tran, Los Angeles Mayor Jim Hahn’s office and Sharon Sandow, deputy to Los Angeles Councilwoman Cindy Miscikowski;
– Outstanding member, Lisa Wellik, Los Angeles World Airports;
– Rising Star Award, Paul Maynard, Wells Fargo Bank-Westchester;
– President’s Award, Geoff Maleman of Maleman Ink Public Relations; and
– the Helmsman Leadership Award, Cedric Sutherland, CORT Business Services.
Marty Francis was named the recipient of the Hugo A. Francis Volunteer of the Year Award, named for her late husband.
“I know that Marty understands that receiving this award, named after her wonderful husband of so many years is not just because of that relationship, but because through her ready willingness to help wherever needed she lives up to Hugo’s legacy,” said Voss. “Working alongside Hugo for many years before his passing, Marty has always been a tireless volunteer for the Westchester Family YMCA, where she has donated hundreds of hours over the years.
“Likewise, whenever the chamber of commerce has called on her to help, whether it is checking people in at the front door or helping to get out an important mailing, Marty is always there.
“She is the epitome of the perfect volunteer and this award is just a small way for all of us at the chamber to tell her ‘thank you’ for her hard work, great attitude and warm smile.”
Outgoing honorary mayor Tony Palermo presented an award of his own: the Pierre Basbous Honorary Mayor’s Award. Given annually by the outgoing honorary mayor to someone in the community who has helped make the community a better place.
Palermo presented the award to Beverly Moore, Marina del Rey Convention and Visitors Bureau executive director.
Of course, the evening also included the swearing in of the chamber’s new board of directors by Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe and comments from both Los Angeles Mayor Jim Hahn and Los Angeles City Councilwoman Cindy Miscikow-ski.
ROTARY CITIZEN OF YEAR — The week of awards continued at the Rotary Club of Westchester as the club honored its Citizens of the Year.
The club annually gives an award to a non-club member who has lived his or her life by the Rotary motto, “Service Above Self.”
This year was the first time that the club decided to honor two citizens, Westchester residents Glenn and Frances Stronks.
FRANCES STRONKS —Frances has made significant contributions to the Westchester community, where she and her husband, Glenn, have lived for the past 40 years.
Most notable is her involvement with the Westchester-Playa del Rey Youth Foundation, with which the Stronks have been active since 1982.
A nonprofit organization, the Youth Foundation sponsors baseball, softball and soccer games at Carl E. Nielsen Park in Westchester, providing more than 220 children and teens with a positive recreational outlet.
Years after their own children used Nielsen Park, the Stronks remain dedicated to the Youth Foundation, spending countless hours helping to achieve the organization’s objective to promote the welfare of community youth through recreation.
Frances is currently the Youth Foundation president and through her efforts, and those of Glenn, Nielsen Park continues to provide a much-needed, safe and supervised facility.
Frances also is the executive director of the Culver Palms Meals on Wheels program, providing nutritious meals for seniors and others who are homebound and in need.
Her other community activities include serving as president of the Westchester Park Advisory Board, board member of the Westchester Vitalization Corp. and as a member of the National Board of Directors for the American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO).
Her past positions include chairman of the Neighborhood Council of Westchester/Playa del Rey Organizing Committee, chair of the Council Community Planning Advisory Committee for former Councilwoman Ruth Galanter, member of the Westchester Community Plan Update team, AYSO Section and Area director and Region 7 commissioner for AYSO.
She has also been active in scouting as a leader and as the PTA president of the McBride School for the Handicapped in Mar Vista.
GLENN STRONKS — In addition to his Youth Foundation work with Frances, Glenn has served as an AYSO area director and Region 7 commissioner from 1982 through 1986.
He has also served as committee chairman, pack master and leader of the Boy Scouts, West-chester Troop 961.
LIONS MAKE THE CUT — Loyola Marymount University (LMU) catcher Jonathan Higashi and teammate pitcher Stephen Kahn are two of the 36 players selected to tryout for Team USA, which LMU head coach Frank Cruz will lead to the World Championships this summer.
LMU becomes one of just seven schools in the nation to send two players to the trials.
Higashi, Kahn, and Cruz flew to Durham, North Carolina Saturday, June 19th, to begin the 2004 USA Baseball National Team Trials.
Cruz was selected in January to serve as Team USA manager. Kahn was one of the original 19 collegiate players invited to try out for the national team.
Higashi joins the pool of players as one of the final eight invitations handed out this week by USA Baseball.
The trials will continue through Saturday, June 26th, in Durham, headquarters of USA Baseball.
The national team will be selected from a pool of 36 players, with an official 20-man team roster to be announced Sunday, June 27th.
Higashi capped off a brilliant four-year career with the Lions this season, and was the first player in LMU history to be named both the Male Athlete of the Year and Male Student Athlete of the Year.
He received All-West Coast Conference honorable mention recognition this year. His .371 season batting average places him among the top five of all position players attending this weekend’s trials.
Prior to the start of this year’s season, Baseball America selected Higashi as the conference’s best overall, best defensive, and best arm of WCC catchers.
Kahn was named WCC Pitcher of the Year after he helped lead LMU to the Coast Division title and LMU’s third WCC Championship Series appearance in six seasons.
Kahn posted a 7-3 record this season, while registering a 3.61 ERA (earned run average). He struck out 80 batters in 82.1 innings and earned two WCC/ Rawlings Pitcher of the Week selections and the Player of the Month honor for April.
He is the only Division I pitcher in the nation to make at least 12 starts and not allow a homerun.
Baseball America has already predicted Kahn to be a top-ten college prospect in the 2005 Major League Baseball draft.
For the third time, Cruz was honored as the WCC Coach of the Year.
Cruz is in his eighth year as LMU head coach. This year, he took a squad that was picked to finish fourth in the WCC in the preseason coaches poll and guided the team to its third division title in six seasons.
Cruz coached the Lions to a 20-7 conference record, best for conference teams this year.
With a 7-5 win over UCLA February 10th, Cruz became the second LMU baseball coach to reach a 200-win career.
Once selected, Team USA will play seven games in Durham, and several more domestic exhibition games prior to representing the U.S. at the 2004 World University Baseball Championships in Taipei from Friday, July 23rd, to Sunday, August 1st.