March is typically the month when people don the color green to pay homage to the patron saint of Ireland, but that wasn’t the case as more than 300 Burbankers sported blue to honor Burbank Police Chief Scott LaChasse in the Valley View Room at the Castaway restaurant last week.
Every year, the Burbank Temporary Aid Center, BTAC, presents the Burbank Top Award for Citizenship to an individual or company for dedication to the betterment of the community.
“Tonight, we present this award to Chief LaChasse, who has provided invaluable leadership and service to our community,” said Roger Koll, chairman of BTAC.
Along with honoring LaChasse, who has served as Burbank’s top cop since 2010, the event, which serves as BTAC’s major annual fundraiser, also saw the inaugural Volunteer Legacy Award presented to Darryl Forbes.
During his 34-year career with the Burbank Fire Department, Forbes climbed the ranks from firefighter to battalion chief before retiring in 2000. An active volunteer with BTAC since the mid-1970s, Forbes went on to serve on the organization’s board for 19 years.
This year’s gala, which also celebrated BTAC’s 45th year of service to the community, was emceed by NBC4’s anchorwoman and investigative reporter Lolita Lopez.
Among the who’s who of prominent Burbankers in attendance were Mayor Emily Gabel-Luddy, the full complement of current city council members, former mayors Mary Lou Howard, Tom Flavin, Bill Wiggins and Marsha Ramos, and the evening’s top individual sponsors, Dave and Pat Augustine.
Along with representatives of every city department and numerous businesses, other notables who came out in support of BTAC’s work, LaChasse and Forbes, included state Sen. Anthony Portantino (D-La Cañada Flintridge) and Assemblywoman Laura Friedman (D-Glendale).
Among the many individuals who made last week’s event a success were Barbara Howell, BTAC chief executive, the nonprofit’s board members Glenn Bales, Lucy Burghdorf, Kimberley Clark, Shelly Garcia, Maddy Horne, Nancy Gams, Korb, Jeanette Meyer, Michael Walbrecht, Alyson Westfall and Vicki Williams as well as dinner committee members Cynthia Alcantar, Houda Dhifallah, Ann Manners, Silvia Mancini, Pamela Rappel, Leslie Smith, Christelle Valencia, Lauri Veverka, Anne White and Shannon Wong.
Founded in 1974 by the Burbank Ministerial Assn. and the Burbank Coordinating Council, BTAC has served as a centralized source of services for the homeless, the less fortunate and those in financial and employment transition in the community.
According to Koll, BTAC served more than 9,000 people during 2018, providing food, utility payments, laundry and shower facilities, financial assistance, job placement and case-management help.