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Festival Honors Outstanding Residents

TIMES STAFF WRITER

About 300 people turned out Sunday to watch line dancers and hear country-Western music during a quake-delayed festival to honor outstanding local residents.

The Northridge Chamber of Commerce had scheduled a black-tie-optional banquet for Feb. 25 at the Marriott Hotel. But the ceremony had to be delayed because of the Jan. 17 earthquake.

“Nobody was in the mood to celebrate then,” said Marge Russo, chairwoman of the event and president of Russo Realty in Northridge.

Because many residents acted heroically during the earthquake, the chamber felt compelled to also honor them at the hoedown-style festival, held on the Cal State Northridge campus.

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Detective Joe Jordan of the Los Angeles Police Department’s Devonshire Division was one of several officers recognized. Jordan, a 24-year veteran, was asleep at his Northridge Meadows apartment when the temblor hit.

“My wife tells me I pulled stucco off the walls trying to get to her, but I don’t remember it,” said Jordan, whom the chamber named Detective of the Year. Although Jordan said he doesn’t remember much about that night, he has a vague memory of helping out an elderly man at the apartment complex, where 16 people died in collapsed units.

In addition to honoring outstanding citizens, money raised from “Celebration Northridge on the Rebound” will benefit the Chamber of Commerce, the Northridge Hospital Foundation, Devonshire Division PALS and the CSUN Memorial Scholarship Fund in memory of two students who died during the earthquake.

CSUN President Blenda J. Wilson contacted the chamber about holding the celebration at the university.

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“Historically, CSUN has been a major resource in the community, but there haven’t been the kind of joint activities between the community and the university,” Wilson said. “This is a symbolic example of that partnership.”

Under rain-swollen skies, line dancers, the ACME All-West Gunfighters and the Chad Watson Band entertained afternoon festival-goers.


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