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Life and Arts

Community: Scout auction nets guests vacation getaways and game days

City Council member Bob Frutos, center, is flanked by father and son, Sam Engel Sr., left, and Sam E
City Council member Bob Frutos, center, is flanked by father and son, Sam Engel Sr., left, and Sam Engel Jr., at the Boy Scouts 43rd annual Big Strike Auction.
(Photo by Joyce Rudolph)

The fabulous prizes kept guests bidding fiercely at a Boy Scout fundraiser held recently at Pickwick Gardens in Burbank.

Funds raised during the 43rd annual Big Strike Auction benefited the Verdugo Hills Council. It is home base for Scouts in Burbank, Glendale, La Crescenta, La Cañada Flintridge and surrounding communities.

Hors d’oeuvres and silent auction were followed by a live auction of items that spanned from amusement park passes to a steak dinner grilled by Scout executive Mark Kraus.

Harriet Hammons of La Cañada Flintridge won the special Golden Ticket drawing. The number of tickets sold was limited to only 100, and the winner had the opportunity to choose from any of the live auction items.


Hammons picked the tickets for the USC vs. Notre Dame football game. A parking pass was included as was entry to the Cardinal and Gold tailgate party. It was quite a bargain because the prize was worth $1,200, but tickets sold for $100 each.

Hammons has been involved in the local Scouting program since 1986 when her son, John, came up through the ranks. She is a unit commissioner and visits Scout troops, explaining merit badges.

The youngest person attending the auction was 6-month-old Jack Sadd, sitting with his parents, Louie and Tamar Sadd of Glendale.

Little Jack may get his first glimpse of snow this season as his parents were the highest bidders on the Big Bear Getaway offered during the live auction. The prize includes four days and three nights at a Big Bear Lake cabin, touting breath-taking views, a porch with a barbecue and a pool table.


Longtime Scouts supporter Mark McCarley bid the highest on the four Disneyland Resort hopper tickets for Disneyland Park and California Adventure.

Auction committee member Kirk Ogawa took home the Sports Experience prize that included a football signed by hall of fame Chargers running back Ladainian Tomlinson, who, at the time of retirement, held or shared 59 NFL records. Also in the basket were Dodgers and Lakers tickets and a round of golf at the Oakmont Country Club.

A great surprise was that “Shotgun” Tom Kelly was the master of ceremonies and auctioneer. His familiar voice has been a mainstay in households over the last 45 years, especially those with teenagers who listened to rock ‘n’ roll during the 1970s. He has been with K-EARTH 101/Los Angeles for nearly 20 years and is now on SiriusXM’s Sixties at Six channel, which airs from 4 to 8 p.m.

Welcoming guests were Andrew Turner, council president, and the rest of the auction committee: Sam Engel Jr., Rahla Frohlich, David Geisen, Bill James, Joe Kroening, Jim Rabe, Jeff Nishi, Louise Sadd, Roobik Ovanesian, Jory Potts, Louis Hamel, Armina Gharpetian, Jose Sierra and Keith Sorem.

The event support staff included Steven Hendry, Pete Simpson and Amy Taylor.

Nerouj cooks up recipe for success

​Nerouj, a local networking organization, recently hosted a Chef Series mixer at the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church in Burbank.

Nerouj, a compound word meaning inner strength, is made up of a diverse team of young professionals and college students.

Michael Kay, from left, of Executive Chef Kitchen 1200 & Vertigo Event Venue; Silvana Vartanian, Ner
Michael Kay, from left, of Executive Chef Kitchen 1200 & Vertigo Event Venue; Silvana Vartanian, Nerouj chair; Chef S.T. (Sako Takvoryian); and Talin Postajian, Nerouj member, attending the Chef Series Mixer.
(Courtesy of Delilah Shambazian)

The team’s mission is to provide a platform through the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church for Armenian Young Professionals to network with each other, while also paying it forward by mentoring the next generation.

​This recent mixer featured a panel of successful young chefs including Gev Bazerkanian, a private chef; Michael Kay, Executive Chef Kitchen 1200 & Vertigo Event Venue; Naris Mardirosian, chef and culinary producer; Sako Takvoryian, a personal chef known as Chef ST; and Sarkes Yegiazaryan, owner of Monta Factory in Pasadena.

Nerouj team member Lusine Daglian introduced the event moderator, Talin Postajian, who is also a Nerouj member. Postajian thanked Archbishop Hovnan Derderian for his support and Silvana Vartanian, Nerouj chair.

The panel discussion touched on topics such as achieving personal success, overcoming obstacles and how to remain focused and motivated. The forum provided insight into how each panelist followed a different path to achieve their career goal.

The audience also asked questions and spent time with each chef as they sampled the dishes they provided.

Joyce Rudolph can be reached at