Submitted by the City of Beaumont
“Hometown Heroes” create a caring community for all of us.
They feed the hungry, work with young people, send care packages to our troops and spend countless hours volunteering for worthy causes.
“Our ‘hometown heroes’ just go about serving others never expecting any recognition,” said Lynn Bogh Baldi, a board member for the Beaumont Chamber of Commerce.
For the last year, the Chamber has picked a local hero each month.
Now, the Chamber is asking the public to nominate “Hometown Heroes.”
“We don’t want to overlook anyone, so please send us your nominations, Baldi said.
Those selected receive special recognition from the Beaumont City Council.
A “Hometown Hero” could be any person, community group, or even animal deserving of special recognition in Beaumont or Cherry Valley. For example, a fearless police dog injured in the line of duty has been honored. Nomination forms can be picked up at the Beaumont Chamber of Commerce, 726 Beaumont Avenue, or downloaded from the Chamber’s website.
“Hometown Heroes” go back a long way in our community, so let’s pause to salute them.
Some examples quickly come to mind.
Hearty farmers channeling water down from Edgar Canyon to their crops at the dawn of the 20th Century. Beaumont Woman’s Club volunteers making socks for Doughboys in World War I. The city of Beaumont finding jobs for its citizens during the Great Depression.
We can be very proud when we look around at many of our neighbors. They give selflessly of their time and talents to others. And this proud tradition of serving your community has been passed down from generation to generation.
Let’s meet some of our latest “Hometown Heroes.”
Jim and Linda Andersen: For 30 years, the couple that owns Cherry Valley Nursery has generously donated plants and trees for landscaping to help the Pass Resource Center, Eagle Scouts and many other community organizations. The couple provides flowers to every cancer survivor at local Relay for Life events.
Beaumont Interact Club: Rotarians Lyle Millage, Jan Leja, and Bruce Murrill created the Interact Club, a youth service organization, in 1994. The club, which provides positive activities for Pass-area teens, logs up to 8,000 hours of community service each year involving up to 50 projects.
Andrew Bennett: Our hometown fire chief served from 2003 to July, 2012 protecting life and property in Beaumont. He also dedicated many hours to community events and fundraisers for worthy causes.
Joanne Brooks: For five years, she has been a mentor for children at Childhelp through its Special Friends Program. For a child’s birthday, Joanne decorates a youngster’s cottage at Childhelp and buys a present for every youngster at the party.
Jesse Donardt: For more than five years, he has served as project coordinator for Support Our Troops. The group, which operates out of Jesse’s garage, has sent more than 1,700 packages overseas with help from neighbors at Solera Oak Valley Greens and donations from the community.
Casey Gnadt: In 2005, the golf course superintendent for the East Valley Golf Club, Home of the Southern California PGA, learned that the putting green for Beaumont Fire Station 20 needed sprucing up. Casey helped repair the green, signed up and trained to become a volunteer reserve firefighter, and now holds the title Lieutenant Volunteer Reserve Firefighter.
Vicki and Bernie Grunewald: Every year, this happy couple dresses up as Santa and Mrs. Claus to spread joy and keep the Christmas spirit alive with their appearances at many community events. The Grunewald’s fill any room with joy, and their contagious laughter brings good cheer during the holidays.
Matthew Huizenga: Since November, 2011, Matthew has donated more than 450 hours as a volunteer for the Beaumont Police Department. He has worked in the Records Division, on patrol, and in Code Compliance, in addition to helping create the VIBE Program (Volunteering in Beaumont is Excellent.)
Steve Leach: Since 2010, Steve has been the driving force behind the Beaumont Spirit Run, which raises money for every school and PTA in the Beaumont Unified School District. Steve also volunteers at the city’s annual Breezin’ Through Beaumont 5K/10K race.
Chris Maldonado: Chris’ Plumbing, a family owned business since 2004, handles plumbing repairs for the non-profit group, Carol’s Kitchen. The generosity means Carol’s Kitchen can feed many more hungry people in the Pass. “I choose to live life as a blessing, and I try to be a blessing to others in any way that I can,” Chris says.
John and Rhea McLaughlin: John, a retired Division Chief for CAL FIRE/ Riverside County Fire Department, and Rhea, a retired director for the Beaumont Library, believe in serving their hometown. John belongs to the Beaumont Kiwanis Club and is a volunteer for Habitat for Humanity; Rhea hosts a Friendship Group of Quilters each month. Last November, the couple appeared in a city video about Beaumont’s 100th anniversary.
Ranger: The 2 ½ year-old Dutch Shepherd and member of the California Highway Patrol’s K-9 Narcotic Detection and Suspect Apprehension Unit, was wounded last December in Beaumont trying to apprehend a man with a gun. The police dog, who is recovering, was commended by the Beaumont City Council for his “extraordinary service” and “courageous act.”
Chris Remund: Since 2005, Chris has coached soccer teams and played a leadership role in the American Youth Soccer Organization. Chris is also a board member for the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life program.
Bruce Wolfe: In 2011, Bruce was named Volunteer of the Year for the Beaumont Police Department’s Citizen Volunteer Patrol Program. The retired Alabama sheriff’s deputy showed extraordinary dedication in 2011 by logging 681 hours of volunteer work.
“Hometown Heroes” can be found all over Beaumont and Cherry Valley. They might be a neighbor, someone at work, a community group serving in your area, a member at your place of worship, or a volunteer in a local club. Now it’s your turn to nominate `Hometown Heroes” for recognition.