The Clean Water Now! Coalition has presented retiring Marine Safety Chief Mark Klosterman with its first Honorary Lifetime Board Membership.
To us, Mark has always personified the embodiment of the core values special to Southern California coastal communities, especially those unique to Laguna Beach.
We cannot express in words the gratitude, appreciation and well-deserved respect we have held for him in the midst of innumerable calamities that have befallen this city during his service, not to mention a disconnected City Hall bureaucracy that at times appears deaf, dumb and blind to the infrastructural and staff needs, the taken-for-granted requisite personal courage found in Marine Safety employees.
In fact, Mark inspired a firmness of spirit in the face of these deficiencies and impediments, never lost his dignity nor surrendered that of the department.
His incredible fortitude, both physical and mental, his innate sense of reverence for the ocean, his amazing leadership skills have been a beacon for not only those serving under him but for those of us who enjoy recreation in local waters. Mark knows that for many of us the beach is our church, the Pacific our holy communion where we merge with the Creator.
Mark has led by obvious overt example, by his willing, persistent service of others, by his unselfish, covert efforts in progressing what was best for not only his lifeguards but for this community as well.
We have no doubt that he won’t “go gently in the night" but will remain actively engaged in all things oceanic, all things Laguna, and continue to be involved in local issues that could adversely affect his personal love of the sea. That is only part of what makes him the hallowed icon that he is.
Mark has walked the walk for some 35 years, and we will sorely miss his smile, his quirky sense of humor, his mind-blowing relentless energy and exemplary dedication. Those who truly know him know he’s a humble man, and this too is why he is loved and venerated without peer among us.
ROGER BUTOW is executive director of the Clean Water Now! Coalition.