The winner of the prestigious Fernando Award won’t be the only one honored at the black-tie ceremony on Oct. 6. Three other awards will be given out, thanks to the addition this year of a new category.
Called the Impact Awards, they will recognize outstanding individuals, teams of people or local businesses that engender positive change through local community work.
For 60 years, the Fernando Award has been given to a local leader for significant and longstanding volunteer work. It is widely considered the most prestigious local award.
The Fernando Award will be given to one person as usual this year. In addition, said David Honda, the longtime chairman of the Fernando Award Foundation, the new Impact Awards will be given to three people who do notable and good work for the community. He said the proposal to create the new award category gestated for a few years before being endorsed by Wayne Adelstein and Dale Surowitz, other community leaders who serve on the foundation board; Surowitz wrote the qualifications for the new award.
While there was some concern that the new awards would detract from the main one, the notion that the new awards will widen the tent eventually won out, Honda said.
The three individuals who will receive Impact Awards this year are Don Larsen, chief of the Northridge Beautification Foundation; Gwyn Petrik, a State Farm Insurance agent who is an active member of the Rotary Club of Woodland Hills and president of Soroptimist International of the San Fernando Valley; and Sister Carmel Somers, a teacher and community organizer who is known for her work with the Valley Family Center.
There are five finalists for the Fernando Award. They are: Bill Allen, chief of the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp.; Steve Fazio, owner of Fazio Cleaners; Jeffrey Friedman, vice president of marketing at Dynamic Nursing; Scott Silverstein, a realtor; and Jane Skeeter, founder and chief executive of UltraGlas Inc.
The winner will be announced at the awards gala, which will be held at the Warner Center Marriott in Woodland Hills.