Community & Clubs: Ten more faces for the Hall of Fame

Ten outstanding volunteers from Costa Mesa and Newport Beach were honored last Friday at the Daily Pilot Community & Clubs Hall of Fame luncheon.

American Legion Newport Harbor Post 291 Commander Jess Lawson was nominated by 3rd Vice Commander Ken George. A Legion member for five years, Jess has served as 3rd vice commander (three years), post commander (two years), District 29 Boys State chairman (two years), 5th Area Boys State chairman (two years) and Boys State counselor (two years).

He was recently re-elected to a third term as the post commander by the general membership and continues to oversee the Legion in its day-to-day operations and programs. Lawson, in conjunction with being the post commander, is the 5th Area Boys State chairman and a Boys State counselor, where he continues his passion for community service and the development of our youth.

Steve Grant was nominated by Charles Markel, past president of the Kiwanis Club of Costa Mesa.

Steve is a 45-year member of the Kiwanis club, a board member of the Costa Mesa Community Foundation and president of the Kiwanis Club of Costa Mesa Foundation. Steve is active in the Costa Mesa Chamber of Commerce and sits on the CM900 Club. You can find Steve on the third Sunday of the month flipping pancakes at the Isaiah House, a homeless shelter in Santa Ana.

Norm Witt Jr. was nominated by Robert Fish, president of the Newport-Irvine Rotary Club.

Norm has been a member of the Rotary Club for 34 years, serving as president in 1989-90 and over the years as Interact chairman at Irvine High School, Woodbridge High School and University High School, Rotaract chair at UC Irvine, district Interact/Rotaract chair and District 5320 matching grants chair.

He was the founding charter organization representative to Cub Scout Pack 645 for 13 years and Boy Scout Troop 645 for 12 years. Norm has been an AYSO referee, Boy Scout assistant scoutmaster and Rancho Del Mar District chairman for the Scouts. He has served on the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce board for four years, Commodores Club since 1996 and skipper of the Commodores in 2005-06. He served as chairman of the Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade in 2007.

Bill Simons was nominated by Bob Miller, president of the Kiwanis Club of Newport Beach/Corona del Mar.

Bill has been a member of the Kiwanis Club for 27 years, having served as president, community service chair, fundraising chair, membership chair and a member of the board of directors.

Bill has been the cornerstone of the club, which participates annually in the following community projects: Pacific Coast Triathlon, Boy Scouts Troop 90, Southwest Community Center (Santa Ana shelter), Key Clubs at University and Corona del Mar high schools, Circle K at UCI, Toshiba Classic, Orange Coast College Special Olympics and many other projects.

Joanne Johnston was nominated by Kathy Youngman, president of the Assistance League of Newport-Mesa.

Joanne has been a member of the Assistance League for 25 years, having served as president in 1995-96, vice president, Region II representative, vice president for education, parliamentarian, bylaws chair, Debutante Ball chair, La Marisa Auxiliary chair and treasurer.

In the offices and positions Joanne has held, she has provided leadership to Assistance League of Newport-Mesa programs, including low-cost dental care for children of low-income families, clothing for children through Operation School Bell, socially relevant puppet programs for children and adults through Kids on the Block, educational scholarships through Community Outreach Program and the League's Thrift Shop and Treasures on Consignment as fundraising sources for the programs.

Dick Dickson was nominated by AJ Thielen, president of the Rotary Club of Newport-Balboa.

Dick is the longest-serving member of his Rotary Club, having become a member in 1970 — 43 years. He was sponsored by past club president and Orange County Supervisor Tom Riley. Dick has held many positions in the club, including the presidency in 1989-90. Dick has been a member of the Commodores Club of the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce since 1969 and served as skipper in 1979-80. He served on the board of Big Brothers Big Sisters from 1970-88 and the Orange County Council of Boy Scouts. Dick has been a eucharistic minister for the past 33 years at St. John Vianney Chapel on Balboa Island.

Deane Bottorf was nominated by John Kruse, secretary of the Exchange Club of Newport Harbor.

Deane has been an Exchange Club member for 15 years, chairman of the club's Search for Talent committee for 15 years and leader of the club's five-piece band, the X-Men, which performs at fundraisers and other occasions.

For 15 years, Deane has organized and presented, as master of ceremonies, the club's Search for Talent for youngsters, ranging in age from six to 18 years. Trophies were awarded for the three different age classes, and winners moved up to area and district competitions. His community involvement includes providing music for many amateur and variety shows.

Don Oldis was nominated by Lawson, his fellow honoree this year.

Don has been a member of the post for 11 years, volunteering for numerous events sponsored by Post 291. With more than 3,000 members, organizational activities and operating details are vital, and Don provides important leadership and management. For the 2012 Air Force birthday event, Don personally raised more than $1,000 in donations.

Don is involved with several community outreach organizations, including Freedom Committee of Orange County and Living Veterans Program.

Sue Seager was nominated by Eileen Jensen, president of the Harbor Mesa Lions Club.

Sue has been a member of the Lions Club for nine years, serving as president, first vice president, secretary, visitation chair, Lion Tamer, Christmas families chair and advisor to the Leos, a Lions Club for high school students. Sue has been a Girl Scout leader for 25 years.

She serves as chair of the Newport Harbor High School men and women's basketball parent committee.

Jack Hammett was nominated by the Sons of the American Legion.

On Dec. 7, 1941, near Pearl Harbor, Jack had a day off from hospital duty. The landlord awoke Jack early in the morning and asked if he had heard on the radio that the Japanese were attacking Pearl Harbor. Jack worked the next three days at the hospital, triaging the wounded as they arrived.

Jack was transferred to the European theater, where he was assigned to Normandy, then to North Africa and the Atlantic anti-submarine duty. He served in Korea until he retired, in the Navy from 1937 to 1959 and in the Navy reserve fleet until June 1, 1967. Jack founded the Freedom Committee of Orange County.

We welcome all the honorees to the Daily Pilot Community & Clubs Hall of Fame!

COMMUNITY & CLUBS is published Wednesdays. Send your service club's meeting information to

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