Don Kimball and Jenny Ketchepaw were named the Santa Clarita Valley’s Man and Woman of the Year at an annual ceremony Friday night at the Hyatt Regency Valencia.
The two were honored for their work with the SCV Boys & Girls Club and Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital Foundation, respectively, according to members of the nominating committee, which is made up of past winners.
The event, which was put on by a committee made up of former winners, was about honoring the winners, as well as the nonprofits and the other nominees, according to organizers.
The emcees, or hosts, of the event were 2022 winners Brian Koegle and Julie Sturgeon.
“It’s really great to see how many people in this community provide their time and effort to the nonprofit community — that’s what makes this a great community,” Sturgeon said Friday.
“It’s also really cool that we have so many first-time nominees this year, showing how many new people are becoming involved,” Koegle said.
Ketchepaw said Monday she was “incredibly honored” by the recognition.
“This community means so much to me,” she said. “I am proud to have grown up in such a special place, that I get to call Santa Clarita my home, and that my children will grow up here as well. We are so lucky to have so many incredible nonprofit organizations led by some of the most committed and special people in our community.”
Ketchepaw, who also helped organize events to support underserved youth as a leader with the Santa Clarita Valley Jaycees, added she feels privileged to be able to serve on the board for the Boys & Girls Club.
Kimball, an executive vice president for FivePoint, made a point of thanking the past honorees who helped spark his passion for volunteering, including Tom Lee, Tom Dierckman, Laurene Weste and Stan Sierad, among others in the community.
He said he joined the board for Henry Mayo’s nonprofit in 2018 in order to help with fundraising for the SCV’s only hospital. Prior to that, he’d also served on the hospital’s board of directors, in addition to helping with the SCV Senior Center, the SCV Historical Society, the SCV Economic Development Corp. and the American Diabetes Association.
“I am proud of all that has been accomplished by our hospital over the years to deliver quality health care locally,” Kimball said Monday. “Henry Mayo continues on its mission of expanding services and programs so that residents in the Santa Clarita Valley get the best quality of care without leaving this valley. We all can appreciate the importance of health and wellness to the overall quality of life in the SCV.”
Lois Bauccio, the 2016 Woman of the Year honoree, noted Friday that while the award is given annually, the selection committee looks at its nominees’ entire body of volunteerism in its voting process, not just the last 12 months.
There were 270 attendees Friday in the hotel’s grand ballroom, and the proceeds from the event’s ticket sales, expected to be $2,000 to $4,000, are split between the nonprofits that nominated the winners, according to Gloria Mercado-Fortine, the 2018 winner and president of the governing board for the nonprofit that organizes the awards.
Every year since 1964, the community has gathered to celebrate its outstanding volunteers, who are nominated from nonprofits registered with the SCV Man and Woman of the Year organization.
This celebration of nonprofits and volunteerism also included a somber note, as the event also recognized four past winners who have died since the last ceremony. Ed Bolden (1970), Samuel Garcia (1983), Jami Kennedy (1989) and Charlotte Kleeman (1996) were all honored during the in memoriam portion of the evening.