2012 Community and Clubs Hall of Fame

Editor's note: The following is part of Daily Pilot columnist Jim de Boom's introductions for the Community and Clubs Hall of Fame Class of 2012 inductees.


Irvina Kanarek

Nominated by: Costa Mesa resident Charlene Ashendorf.

Irvina, who grew up in Newport Beach, is an alumna of Newport Elementary School, Ensign Intermediate School and Newport Harbor High School and lives in Costa Mesa.

Rewrite Beautiful started when Irvina found herself with three very different jobs: a nanny, art teacher and counselor in an eating disorder rehab clinic in Newport Beach. All the girls she came into contact with had one thing in common: They were all jeopardizing their lives to make themselves "beautiful."

Irvina is best known for being an eating disorder prevention activist. Being a young woman who is an eating disorder survivor, Irvina is able to connect to people on a personal level. Her story of starting a nonprofit and gathering people to help her to Rewrite Beautiful in our world instantly inspires men and women alike. For these reasons, people listen and relate to her.


Sanjay Dalal

Nominated by: Uzo Okereke, Newport Irvine Rotary Club president

Sanjay is married to Mamta and they have one son and daughter.

A member of Rotary for about four years, Sanjay has made an impression on his fellow Rotarians as he stepped forward to become New Generations and Youth director. He mentors and nurtures the Rotaract Service Club at UC Irvine in leadership and professional development. He has assisted the club with fundraising efforts and helped increase club membership by more than 50%.

Sanjay chaired and provided project leadership to the Small Business Development Day for the Asian Business Assn. of Orange County. He inspired and trained more than 250 small-business owners, young entrepreneurs and startups on how to boost their business.

He is best known for technology savyness. Sanjay is the proprietor of the small business social network known as O-Going.


Cynthia Culp

Nominated by: American Legion Post 291

Cynthia is married to Jerry, and they have one son, Jeremy, an assistant United States attorney, and daughter-in-law Elizabeth, a special-needs teacher who is expecting their first grandchild.

Cynthia has been involved with the Girls State program at the American Legion Auxiliary Newport Harbor Unit 291 for more than 20 years, starting as a committee member and then becoming the chairwoman in 1992.

She has interviewed, along with her committee members, more than 500 young women to find the perfect ones to attend the one-week conference on government. Unit 291 has sponsored more than 118 young women to attend Girls State during her tenure.

She has also been active in other areas of the auxiliary, such as troop shipping, the wine tasting fundraiser, the Fourth of July pancake breakfast and envelope stuffing, to name a few. When she is not volunteering at the American Legion, she substitute teaches for special-needs children in the Newport-Mesa Unified and Huntington Beach City school districts.


Carol Proctor

Nominated by: Carol Van Holt, public relations chairwoman of the Harbor Mesa Lions Club

Carol joined the Harbor Mesa Lions Club in 2005. She embraces the Lions' mission, the camaraderie at Harbor Mesa and service above self. Carol is a very active Lion. She initiated her service as the tail twister. She quickly became a Proud Lion. From there, Carol went on to become the lion tamer, on the board of directors, Spaghetti Splash chairwoman and luau host, Casino Night contracts chairwoman, Ronald McDonald House Charities chairwoman, Sight & Hearing Van assistant, club retreat chairwoman, Fish Fry co-chairwoman, Working Wardrobes chairwoman, Pajama Party Project contact, Peace Poster co-chairwoman and first vice president.

Carol is currently the club's president. Her club recognized her with several honors: Sight & Hearing Foundation Life Member, Club Lion of the Year and most recently, Melvin Jones Fellow Recipient — the highest award given to a Lion. Carol will be the Zone A chairwoman, Casino Night co-chairwoman, Annual Fashion Show co-chairwoman, Peace Poster chairwoman, board member and past president upon completion of her presidency.

Upon retiring, Carol began a side business providing landscape consulting services. She was program chairwoman and board member for Leadership Tomorrow's Class of 2011. Carol is active in a senior bowling league, earning Most Improved Female Bowler this year. She coordinates the annual Costa Mesa Retirees & Friends Lunch. Carol is a Fountain Valley planning commissioner and serves as vice chairwoman.


John W. Kruse

Nominated by: Dick Freeman, Exchange Club of Newport Harbor past president

John is married to Paula and together they have three grown children and five grandchildren.

An Exchange Club member since 1998, John served as president in 2003. He received the National Exchange Club Best Bulletin Editor Award in 2001 and received Newport Harbor Exchangite of the Year Award in 2005. He continues to lead as editor of Spindrift, the club's bulletin.

John and Paula are traveling people. They have visited more than 115 countries and all 50 states since retirement.

He was commissioned in the U.S. Navy and served as operations officer on board the USS Mansfield DD-728.


Carol Cowden

Nominated by: Assistance League Newport-Mesa board of directors

Carol is married to Norman and they have two grown children. She has been a member of the Assistance League for 31 years, during which time she has served as president, vice president for Kids on the Block and vice president for the Consignment Store several times.

Carol, along with two other women, co-founded the Assistance League Consignment Store.

At St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church in Newport Beach she has been a very active participant, being deacon for two terms, selling donuts on Sunday and being very instrumental in the annual rummage sale

Her loyalty and efforts to support the Assistance League have gone above and beyond being the average volunteer. She dedicates time on weekends to shopping at garage sales. She buys items with her personal money and sells them at the Consignment Shop, with all profits going to charity.


Joseph Panarisi

Nominated by: Charlie Markel, Kiwanis Club of Costa Mesa president

Joe is married to Adranian. They have two grown children and four grandchildren.

Joe has been a member of the Kiwanis Club of Costa Mesa for 20 years. During that time he has served as president, vice president, social chairman, InterClub chairman and on the Membership Committee.

Active in his homeowners association, Joe is found working with the city of Costa Mesa on issues. Joe works with at-risk students at Estancia High School.

Markel says Joe is the first to volunteer club community service projects and a most valued member of the club.


Laura Dietz

Nominated by: Cynthia Cowell, Newport Beach Sunrise Rotary Club president

A San Francisco native, with one son, Philip, Laura attended Mills College, worked at the Hoover Institute at Stanford University and served as a legislative aide to the late Rep. Don Clausen. Her résumé includes the Republican National Committee, the Glass Packaging Institute and Associated Industries of Massachusetts.

Laura has been a Rotary member for 10 years. She has served on the board of directors, as public relations chairwoman, military chairwoman and Annual Fundraising Committee member.

More recently she has led the club and the community to support the Wounded Warrior Battalion at Pendleton and one at Kaneohe Bay Detachment in Hawaii, securing everything from used guitars to memory foam mattresses, and pushing legislation to secure waivers for fishing and hunting licenses.


Rick Kapko

Nominated by: Gordon Bowley, Costa Mesa United president

Since the inception of Costa Mesa United, Rick has served as treasurer, coordinated investments, files the tax returns, has served on the Golf Committee, Poker Tournament Committee and as an executive board member.

His community involvement includes Brian Kapko Foundation president, Estancia/TeWinkle Education Foundation board member, CM9000, Estancia Sports Booster treasurer, various Newport-Mesa Unified School District oversight committees, various city oversight committees, Little League coach, manager and president, AYSO soccer coach and board member, and Boy Scoutmaster.

"If we had 25 Rick Kapkos in our community, we would never have to look for volunteers," said Robin Mensinger, a member of the Costa Mesa Pop Warner board of directors


Roger Gilbert

Nominated by: Bill Hossfeld, Rotary Club of Newport-Balboa president

Roger has been married to Jocelyn for 62 years. They have three grown children and seven grandchildren. Roger was born in Los Angeles, graduated from UC Berkeley, served as an U.S. Army artillery officer from 1953 to '55, and served in the reserves until 1961.

A Rotarian for 28 years, Roger has served as club president, community service director, special events director (including chairing four very successful fundraisers), club service director, new members mentor and as director of our club's support of the Rotary International Foundation.

He has been honored as Rotarian of the Year and has received the Bob Callis Award for service to club presidents.

Roger's community involvement started in Hawthorne by being Little League president of two different leagues, YMCA Indian Guides with his sons and chief of the Hawthorne nation.

Roger has been involved with Hoag Hospital as a major donor and member of the 552 Club. He was one of two leaders to put together the fundraising and foundation grants for the Newport Beach Assistance League's expansion.

Roger's major achievement would have to be his involvement with the City of Hope, where he has served on the Insurance Council since 1983. In 1992 received the Spirit of Life Award from the City of Hope.

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