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David Beek named as Newport Beach’s 2022 Citizen of the Year

This year's Newport Beach Citizen of the Year is David Beek.
This year’s Newport Beach Citizen of the Year David Beek, center, is celebrated by past Newport Beach Citizen of the Year recipients at the Pacific Club.
(Kevin Chang / Staff Photographer)

David Beek said he thought it was just like an ordinary Friday.

The Commodore’s Club for the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce meets every month. Beek, a regular presence at those meetings and most notably a chair for the Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade, said Friday he thought he was going to go and have some fun with his fellow commodores over breakfast. But he noticed when he arrived at the Pacific Club that there were a few faces at the gathering that he hadn’t seen in years.

“There were past commodores and inactive commodores — faces I haven’t seen in a long time, which is great,” said Beek. “There’s a lot of people that don’t normally show up, but I kind of brushed it aside. I thought it was just August and maybe they wanted to catch up with the commodores. So, I sat down and we went through the agenda.”

As the agenda came to a close, Steve Rosansky, the chamber’s chief executive officer and president, took to the stage.

Laughing, Beek recalled afterward, “Steve was talking about new business. He said, ‘I just want everyone to make their calendar for Oct. 28 for the Citizen of the Year banquet.’ I was just taking out notes. He goes, ‘David Beek’ and I looked up and I thought he was kidding. I thought, ‘Haha.’ All of the sudden, the room stands up.

David Beek reacts after being named Newport Beach Citizen of the Year.
(Kevin Chang / Staff Photographer)

“It was like getting hit by a train. That was the feeling. Everyone was looking at me and the feeling was so overwhelming. My adrenaline rushed. Are they really talking about me?”

Beek said he’d thought there were so many other deserving residents who could easily be named Newport’s Citizen of the Year by the Chamber of Commerce. He said he kept thinking that Rosansky and the others present were joking, but once the rush of adrenaline subsided, he was relieved and thankful.

Beek, a member of one of the oldest families in Newport Beach, isn’t the first in his clan to be feted as a Citizen of the Year.

His grandfather, Joe, started up the Balboa Island Ferry in 1919 and the Balboa Island fuel dock in 1936. Joe Beek was named a Citizen of the Year in 1955 and Joe’s wife, Carroll, in 1961. Beek’s father, Seymour, was named a Citizen of the Year in 2005.

David Beek runs the Balboa Island fuel dock now and the ferry is still operating under his father’s leadership.

This year's Newport Beach Citizen of the Year David Beek, fourth from right, smiles for photos.
This year’s Newport Beach Citizen of the Year David Beek, fourth from right, smiles for photos with past Newport Beach Citizen of the Year recipients at the Pacific Club.
(Kevin Chang / Staff Photographer)

“My joke was that they were just trying to save on the typeset on invitations. They just had to put Beek three times,” he joked.

“I’m still overwhelmed. I still have butterflies. This is surreal. It’s a great feeling. It’s a great community. It’s great to have the honor of being chosen Citizen of the Year,” he continued. “It’s not an individual Citizen of the Year.

“It’s a team. You don’t do it by yourself. You do it with all the great people that contribute and volunteer for the city and you just happen to be part of that team that gets chosen. They have a great pool of people to choose from in the future that’s for sure.”

Rosansky said Beek is “most deserving of being chosen as our 2022 Citizen of the Year. He has been a huge supporter of the Chamber of Commerce and has generously given his time and money to many organizations in the community.”

Beek is a longtime member of the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce board, the Visit Newport Beach’s board and co-chair for the Flight of Newport with Brett Hemphill.

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