At the end of their conference Saturday, the members of Optimist International Pacific Southwest District honored two of their members who had been working with the organization for the past 43 years.
Norb and Adelaide Moniz, both 89 years old and Santa Clarita residents, have been members of Optimist International for the last four decades, and said they were surprised and honored by the recognitions during the district conference Saturday.
While they sat up front in the Embassy Suites banquet hall in Valencia, individual after individual walked to the front of the room to share their personal stories about how either Norb and/or Adelaide touched their lives through the years.
In addition to their friends and family in the Optimists honoring them, the Monizes were also presented with recognitions from the offices of Congresswoman Katie Hill, D-Agua Dulce, State Sen. Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, Assemblywoman Christy Smith, D-Santa Clarita, and 5th District County Supervisor Kathryn Barger.
“This has been a lifetime of loving this work for me,” said Norb. “It was totally overwhelming … and it really caught me by surprise. I’ve received a little recognition over the years, but nothing like this, and I’m so grateful to my family of Optimists.”
While making a few comments at the front of the room, Adelaide expressed gratefulness to everyone who was there Saturday.
“You’ve done more for us than we could possibly do for you,” Adelaide said.
In addition to holding a number of leadership positions throughout the years, and spearheading efforts on everything from Santa Clarita Valley’s now-annual “Safety Town” summer camp program to helping low-income children return to school with the day-to-day supplies they would need, Norb was also the founder of the Santa Clarita Optimist Foundation.
The foundation has raised money through auctions that have not only helped fund “Safety Town,” but has also gone to the Michael Hoefflin Foundation, Carrousel Ranch, Santa Clarita Food Pantry, Optimist Youth Homes & Family Services and more, according to Vivian Lawrence, president of the Canyon Country Optimist Club.
“They’re like the silent people that nobody ever (points to) and goes ‘Hey’ or the ones that are in the paper all the time,” said Lawrence. “We wanted to honor them while they were still here to appreciate it.”
At the end of the convention, which had been preceded by a whole day’s worth of Optimist speakers and announcements about the Pacific Southwest District, more than 50 people in attendance gave a standing ovation for the Monizes.