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Don Crevier honored for years of service

OUR LAGUNA

Donnie Crevier’s contributions to Laguna overflow the pages of the

Exchange Club’s Book of Golden Deeds.

The annual award was presented to Crevier at a luncheon held at

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the Hotel Laguna. More than 60 admirers and club members attended,

including past recipients Doris Shields, Sande St. John and Grant

McCombs.

“I joined the club because of its covenant of service and the

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quality of the people,” the Rev. Chuck Maier said before giving the

opening prayer.

Crevier exemplifies both.

“Every time I have called on a fund-raiser, I get a check,” said

Katy Moss, past club president.

The national Exchange Club promotes Americanism and raises funds

for the prevention of child abuse. The local chapters also raise

funds for community organizations and scholarships.

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However, The Laguna Exchange Club is only one of many

organizations that have benefited from Crevier’s generosity.

“Donnie has served on the Boys and Girls Club board twice, the

last time for 10 years,” said Kim Maxwell, club director. “He has

single-handedly raised almost $3 million on behalf of the kids.”

Crevier has also supported the Laguna Beach Education Foundation,

known better as SchoolPower, and the Laguna Beach Club for Kids.

His generous hand has also touched the Huntington Beach Art Center

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and the Fran Jostwick Center, which provides horseback riding for the

developmentally or physically challenged. He has also helped in Santa

Ana, where his BMW dealership is.

“BMW gave him an award for excellence given only to the top 30

dealers in the country for community and customer service,” Moss

said.

Moss and Hal and Sandi Werthe organized the luncheon honoring

Crevier.

“The Book of Golden Deeds is awarded to citizens who have made

their community better,” Hal Werthe said.

Even Crevier’s competitors admire him.

Mary and Nick Alexander, owners of a rival dealership, sent an

affectionate letter of congratulations that was read at the luncheon.

But Crevier’s roots are in Laguna, and his longtime friends made

the most of the occasion.

“We have been friends for 50-plus years, best friends for 40-plus

years,” Rick Balzer said. “How many of you [at the luncheon] parked

your car at the hotel? Was the attendant helpful? Forty years ago,

that was Donnie.

After his parents divorced, Crevier lived here with his mother

until he was 14, when he was shipped off to Pasadena where his father

lived with his new wife.

“I showed up on the doorstep with a pack of Marlboros and a

terrible attitude,” Crevier said, paying tribute to his stepmother

Lee Crevier, now divorced from his father, Bob Crevier.

Both attended the luncheon, as did Crevier’s “best girl,” Laurie

Kraus.

“When he left to live with his dad in Pasadena, we thought we

would never see him again,” Balzer said. “Everything east of PCH was

foreign territory, and Pasadena was a black hole.”

Crevier did come back to Laguna to attend high school. He was a

running back on the football team and graduated in 1963.

“He was not voted the most likely to succeed,” Balzer said.

Big mistake.

Crevier went to work for the Theodore Robbins car dealership when

he was 21, became a successful salesman and eventually owner of a

dealership -- and always ready to help.

“I was newly divorced in the ‘70s and I couldn’t get a car loan,”

Marianne Raczkowski said. “He made it possible in three hours, after

I had been turned down by three banks.

“It was a small thing for Donnie, but very big for me,” she said.

Mike Lane has been Crevier’s friend and employee for 32 years.

“One day, he invited me to lunch.” Lane said. “We had a nice

table, nice service. He was speaking to the waitress when the check

came. I fumbled for it, but Crevier grabbed it. It was for $14 and he

left a $5 tip. I told him it was too much. He said, ‘That’s how they

make their living.’ I have never forgotten that.”

Joe Baker has been running with Crevier for 30 years.

“I am at least as good a friend as Balzer,” Baker said. “We are

starting our fourth decade of running.

Club President John Bush presented Crevier with the Book of Golden

Deeds award.

“You exemplify the highest values of the Exchange Club,” Bush

said.

Other award winners were the late Lorna Mills, a banker who

collected Laguna Beach impressionists’ art and donated it to the

Festival of Arts for safekeeping here; George Pletz, a police officer

who played Santa Claus for Laguna ‘s children; Dick Jahraus, who

served on the Laguna Beach County Water District Board for more than

25 years; Barbara Painter, who helped the high school obtain weight

training equipment; Vincent Carroll; and Sandra Thornton, whose name

is almost synonymous with community service.

Newly elected Councilwoman Elizabeth Pearson, retired Laguna Beach

Fire Department Captain Bing Boka, Hobie Sports owner Mark Christy,

insurance broker Pat Freeman, restaurant owners Philo and Diane

Smith, contractor Al Oligno, Grace Maier and Yosuko Bush were among

those who attended the luncheon.

ALICE REMEMBERED

One more reason to give thanks: the City Council voted 3-0 at the

Nov. 19 meeting to name the affordable housing project at 450

Glenneyre St. in honor of the late Alice Graves.

“Considering the efforts that Alice put forth to promote

affordable housing and to assist less fortunate individuals in our

community, I believe it would be fitting to name the units after

Alice,” retiring Councilman Paul Freeman said.

A plaque will be installed in a suitable spot on the premises. It

will be the second plaque honoring Graves. In August, the council

voted unanimously to place a plaque in Heisler Park in recognition of

the city’s debt to Graves.

“The relationship between Alice and the community was a marriage

made in heaven,” the Rev. Colin Henderson said. “Time and again, it

was Alice and the community who went out and took action.

Graves also was active in the Laguna Beach Resource Cente;, Cold

Night Shelters, which provide beds and blankets for the homeless when

temperatures drop; Cafe Pacifica, where the homeless could get a good

meal; and Friendship Shelter.

Naming the housing project for Alice honored not just her, but all

of those who worked with here on numerous projects, Henderson said.

“Colin said it all,” said John Graves, who attended the meeting

with his late wife’s close friend Evelyn Munroe.

* OUR LAGUNA is a regular feature of the Laguna Beach Coastline

Pilot. Contributions are welcomed. Write to Barbara Diamond, P.O. Box

248, Laguna Beach, 92652, hand-deliver to 384 Forest Ave., Suite 22;

call 494-4321 or fax 494-8979.


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