Crescenta Valley resident Charles Bausback, 86, made his way slowly to the podium last Saturday morning at Two Strike Park after being honored as a Crescenta Valley pioneer at the annual Arbor Day ceremony.
“I’m not sure if I’m deserving of this honor,” he told the crowd of more than 250 people who came out for the morning festivities, “but we’ll make the best of it.”
Bausback’s recognition was a highlight of a busy morning that celebrated not only tree-planting — the reason why Arbor Day was first enacted over 135 years ago — but the chance for the community to gather.
“It’s very important to have Arbor Day celebrations to bring the community together and stop and appreciate what we have in life — the trees and wonderful members of our community, our pioneers, such as Charles Bausback,” Crescenta Valley Town Council member Danette Erickson said previously.
And the community did come together in a big way last Saturday morning.
More than 20 vendors, such as SoCalGas, Southern California Edison, the Crescenta Valley Water District, CV DOGS and the Crescenta Valley Chamber of Commerce, stood under blue easy-ups to distribute information about their organizations.
Orchard Supply Hardware — OSH — also gave away various seedlings and succulents so folks could go home and enhance their own surroundings.
“This was an exciting event and we had an enormous turnout,” said CV Town Council President Steve Pierce. “Everyone had a great time; even the vendors said that they had a good time.”
Bausback was one of three longtime residents recognized at Two Strike Park. Norma Quinn, 85, and 87-year-old Eloise Benson-Nicholl were also noted as having sunk roots in the community early. The three also share a legacy of surviving the devastating flood of 1934, a flood that washed away local residents and homes and buried buildings under mountains of mud.
A retired chemist, Bausback’s love of California history attracted the attention of KCET’s Huell Howser who does a television program, “California Gold.” For the past several years, Bausback has provided history for Howser’s program. Howser was expected to attend Saturday morning’s Arbor Day celebration but was unable to do so due to surgery, said Erickson.
From the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, Supervisor Michael Antonovich was able to attend though, and he congratulated Bausback while offering support to local residents and the town council, an entity that he works closely with on matters regarding the Los Angeles county’s unincorporated area of Crescenta Valley.
It was just a few years ago that an annual Arbor Day celebration returned to Crescenta Valley, however, with the vendors, the special guests and music provided by the Crescenta Valley High School Jazz Band, there’s little doubt the event will be repeated next year.
“It was fabulous from weather to attendance,” said Erickson. “Having the whole community come together with more than 22 groups, from fire to police agencies, from a most generous OSH to the wonderful students of St James and CVHS Jazz Band. To think the ROTC had their formal the night before and were there in uniform ready to rehearse so early.”
“It was just a very, very good day all the way around,” agreed Pierce. “Everything came together and it felt good from start to finish.”
For more Arbor Day photos, visit www.crescentavalleyonline.com. Ongoing screenings of the Arbor Day event can be seen 24/7 on Charter cable channel 980 as can the CV Town Council monthly meetings. There is no fee but you have to have Charter cable.