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Community & Clubs: American Legion honors community service

Jim de Boom Community Service Hall of Fame Luncheon

Honorees at the eighth annual Jim de Boom Community Service Hall of Fame Luncheon, which honored nine community club members.

(Courtesy of Diane Daruty)

American Legion Post 291 in Newport Beach hosted the eighth annual Jim De Boom Community Service Hall of Fame Luncheon on June 10.

The event honored nine community club members for exceptional community service. It also brought awareness and benefited Learning for Life’s Exploring, a program that provides young adults career experiences in the police, firefighting and medical fields.

State Sen. John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa) acted as master of ceremonies. Exploring Chairman Helen Stainer welcomed the attendees, and Orange County Sheriff’s Deputy Nawar Alkawadri and Lt. Matthew Leading of Explorer Post 449 spoke about exploring and its benefits. Lane Culvert and Stacy De Boom gave a tribute to Jim De Boom, the event’s late founder and a former Daily Pilot columnist.

American Legion’s Al Rasch, Exploring’s Tom Gray and Daily Pilot Executive Editor John Canalis presented awards to the Hall of Fame honorees. The following are the clubs that attended and their honorees:


American Legion Auxiliary Unit 291 Newport Harbor: Maria Young

American Legion Auxiliary member Maria Young is dedicated to helping people in need. Young’s project, Cucumel’s Compassionate Carpets, recycles used plastic bags to create sleeping mats. Her work has twice been featured in American Legion Auxiliary’s magazine.

Young is working with the city of Huntington Beach to erect a memorial for casualties of World War II. Maria is also active with Huntington Beach’s Community Emergency Response Team (CERT).

American Legion Yacht Club – Joany Berdine


American Legion Yacht Club member Joany Berdine is admired for her infectious, can-do attitude. Berdine chairs Seagals, a group of women who assist at major club events, including the Commodore’s Ball, Opening Day and the Easter Egg Hunt. Seagals also provide food service for general membership meetings and the Sundowner Monday Night Race Series.

Berdine serves as the American Legion Yacht Club’s quartermaster. As quartermaster, she displays hats, shirts, jackets and other American Legion Yacht Club-branded items at all general membership meetings and several club events.

Costa Mesa Kiwanis Club: Richard T. Pagel

Costa Mesa Kiwanis member Rich Pagel is best known for his commitment to education. As vice president of administrative services at Orange Coast College, he is responsible for the college’s budget, physical plant and new construction projects.

Pagel is committed to promoting a philosophy of community service and leadership to OCC students. He is also a part-time instructor at Cal State Long Beach and active in Kiwanis International’s Costa Mesa Club.

Exchange Club of Newport Harbor: Bob Washer

Bob Washer has been a Newport Exchange Club member for 36 years. A retired Methodist pastor, he is best known for his positive attitude, pleasant smile and service to others.

Washer has played a key role in Exchange Club events that have raised over $100 million for child-abuse prevention and scholarships for local students. He was instrumental in obtaining first-run movies for the Annual Movie Event, probably the club’s most lucrative fundraiser. Washer has been honored with the Book of Golden Deeds Award and as Exchange Club Member of the Year.


Harbor Mesa Lions Club – Cathy Waters

Harbor Mesa Lions’ Cathy Waters is loved and admired for exceptional service to Lions and numerous other causes. During her 12-year tenure at Harbor Mesa Lions, she has served as president, vice president, treasurer, editor and committee chairwoman of fundraisers and service projects.

Waters has chaired the club’s largest fundraiser, Casino Night. Her service projects have included School Box Project, providing school supplies to underprivileged first-graders; and Veterans Stand Down, vision and hearing exams to homeless veterans. Cathy also volunteers for other local events, including Huntington Beach Lions Club’s Crab Fest, Costa Mesa-Newport Harbor Lion Club’s Fish Fry, Ronald McDonald House’s Trunk or Treat and the Orange County Special Olympics.

Newport Beach Sunrise Rotary Club – Berkeley Green

Berkeley Green, a Newport Beach Sunrise Rotary Club Board Member, has devoted his career and community service work to sailing. Berkeley began sailing at 8 years old and sailed to Tahiti the first time in 2011.

Berkeley is a dealer for the boat manufacturer RS Sailing and teaches sailing at Bahia Corinthian Yacht Club. He served as program director at Newport Sea Base from 2005-11 and organizes numerous sailing events for local youth. Berkeley is the co-founder of California Inclusive Sailing, which provides the disabled access to sailing.

Newport-Irvine Rotary Club: Cecil Hess

Cecil Hess has been a Newport-Irvine Rotarian for more than 10 years, twice serving as president. Hess has been director for youth services, instilling his passion to end child abuse.


Hess has worked with Olive Crest Children, a non-profit providing services and homes for abused children and young adults age 18 and younger.

Rotary Club Newport Balboa – Marc Aarons

Marc Aarons has been a Rotarian for 12 years. Aarons is best known for his jovial, fun-loving spirit and helpful heart. Aarons has served as Rotary’s assistant district governor. He currently serves as Newport Balboa Rotary’s treasurer and has been President, a board member since 2007 and chairman of the Okazaki Student Exchange.

Aarons is passionate about the Boy Scouts of America, earning his Eagle Scout in 1987. He has received several Scouting honors, including the Silver Beaver Award for outstanding volunteerism as an adult, the Cliff Dochterman Award as a Rotarian with distinguished service to Scouting, the Vigil Honor for exceptional contributions to Scouting and the Baden-Powell Fellowship Award for financial contributions supporting Scouting around the world. He served on the National and International Jewish Committees of Scouting and taught Scouting principles in Cape Town, South Africa.

Aarons has also served American Cancer Society, Orange County AIDS Foundation and numerous other causes.

Soroptimist International of the Newport Harbor Area: Dalia Badajos Lugo

Dalia Badajos Lugo has been a member of Sororptimist International Newport Harbor for over 30 years, serving the last three as president. Although Badajos has also served as vice president, secretary and director of fundraising, she is most admired for her project leadership.

As president, Badajos helped establish Mosaic Teen Network, a program where mothers introduce their pre-teen and teen daughters to community service. As a working mother, Badajos sought a way for her and other working mothers to spend their limited free time with their children while also serving the community. Her other program goal was to educate and inspire girls to become leaders in community service and in their careers.

The girls’ service has benefited women and girls locally and globally. Their work has furthered the education of girls in Nepal and helped orphans in Mexico. Badajos also served other important projects including the Corazon de Vida Foundation that supports Baja orphanages. She has served on the boards for St. Joachim School and the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.


The Daily Pilot wants to hear about your club’s or organization’s events so we can inform our readers. Contact DIANE DARUTY at or (949) 322-7949 or DUNCAN FORGEY at or (949) 548-4800.