In honor of the couple’s unwavering support, the College of the Canyons Foundation named Don and Cheri Fleming as the recipients of the “Silver Spur” Community Service Award.
“This is a very prestigious award, and we’re absolutely honored to be named a recipient,” said Don Fleming, co-owner of Valencia Acura. “The college has done so many good things in the community and Chancellor (Dianne) Van Hook is unquestionably one of the strongest leaders I’ve seen.”
“In my mind, this is the most prestigious award that is given in the Santa Clarita Valley,” said Cheri Fleming, Valencia Acura dealership co-owner. “I have had the good fortune of winning many awards, but, honestly, I never thought I’d win this one. It leaves us speechless.”
Don and Cheri Fleming’s visionary leadership and entrepreneurial spirit have truly made a difference in the Santa Clarita Valley, COC Chancellor Dianne Van Hook said in a news release.
“Cheri’s hands-on leadership and philanthropy are inspiring, and Don’s involvement with the Santa Clarita Valley Economic Development Corp. has positioned Santa Clarita as a business-friendly city. The college has been incredibly fortunate to count on them as friends and supporters over the years.”
Born and raised in Texas, Don Fleming moved to Southern California after serving in the U.S. Marine Corps, and began dating Cheri in 1980.
Consistently named among “Santa Clarita’s 51 Most Influential” by The Signal, Cheri, an Ohio native, and Don have both been heavily involved in the SCV nonprofit social scene for two decades.
Cheri was named the 2017 Volunteer of the Year by the San Fernando Valley Business Journal and the 2012 Woman of the Year by the Los Angeles County 5th Supervisorial District and Commission for Women; Don was honored as the 2015 Volunteer of the Year by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Foundation.
Since the couple purchased Valencia Acura in 1997, Don and Cheri Fleming have become synonymous with the local auto industry and philanthropic efforts, school leaders said.
In 1997, the dealership ranked last in sales and customer satisfaction at the national level, according to college officials. Since then, the dealership ranks among the top Acura dealerships in the country in terms of sales penetration in their primary market area, customer loyalty and overall customer satisfaction. It’s also been instrumental in making local auto dealers the largest sales tax contributors to the city.
As strong friends and supporters of the college since 1999, the Flemings have contributed to many of the foundation’s significant initiatives, school leaders said. Whether it’s the Chancellor’s Circle, the Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook University Center Campaign or Cougar Club, they have been actively involved in the college’s commitment to higher education.
“We’ve always been great supporters of the college. It’s an incredible plus for the community,” Don Fleming said. “We love how the community has embraced (COC).”
Education is a life-changer for everyone, Cheri Fleming said. “Giving back to the community that supports us has always been important to us.”
The 2019 Silver Spur Celebration is scheduled Saturday, March 16, 2019, at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles. The festivities begin at 6:30 p.m., and guests will be able to enjoy cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and a display of unique vintage automobiles. The evening will also include dinner, a live auction and a personal video tribute created for the Flemings.
For more information about the 2019 Silver Spur award, to purchase tickets or to become an event sponsor, contact the College of the Canyons Foundation at 661-362-3737 or visit the Foundation’s web page. (bit.ly/2LEascj)