CV Chamber of Commerce Announces Annual Awards

First published in the Dec. 18 print issue of the Glendale News Press.

The Crescenta Valley Chamber of Commerce recently honored individuals and organizations at its annual awards ceremony, held in-person this year after being presented via Zoom last year.
The program was held Thursday, Dec. 9, at the Glendale Elks Lodge. Chamber President Michael Riley highlighted the milestones and achievements that the organization made this year, while “honorary mayor” J.D. Speas hailed the award recipients this year for the positive and inspiring impact they had on the Crescenta Valley community.
“We really had a good time and a good turnout,” Steve Pierce, executive director of the chamber, said in an interview. “It represents the finest in our community. There are so many people who are deserving of these awards that it’s always tough to narrow it down to one in each category. They just want to serve and that’s what makes it great to honor these fine people.”

Photos courtesy Crescenta Valley Chamber of Commerce
Monica Ordubegian

Mike Shaar, president of both the Glendale Sunrise Rotary Club and the Crescenta Valley Fireworks Association, was named Man of the Year by the chamber. In addition to his work to ensure a fireworks show happened on the Fourth of July, Shaar also co-chaired the Foothills Relay for Life this year.
Monica Ordubegian was honored as the chamber’s Woman of the Year. The 2021 president of the Glendale Area Chapter of National Charity League, Ordubegian is also a member of the Rosemont Middle School Armenian Parents Club, Prom Plus and the Crescenta Valley Town Council Sagebrush Committee.
J’s Maids won the Business of the Year award for its efforts in running advertisements in the Crescenta Valley Weekly that highlighted restaurants that remained open for pickup and delivery service throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. As eateries began having in-person dining again, J’s Maids’ ads then urged readers to shop at mom-and-pop stores.
Vivian Ekchian, superintendent of the Glendale Unified School District, was named Educator of the Year. The chamber recognized the district’s work in initially responding to the pandemic. In early spring, GUSD implemented a hybrid schedule of mixed in-person and remote instruction and pivoted to a full return by the start of this school year.
Rebecca Johnson, the president of the Glendale Council PTA, won Volunteer of the Year. In addition to her work assisting the 24 PTAs at GUSD schools, Johnson is also a board member with the Glendale Educational Foundation, a volunteer with the La Crescenta Scout Troop 288 and is a committee member with the Pasadena Jewish Temple and Center.

Photos courtesy Crescenta Valley Chamber of Commerce
Mike Shaar

The Early Rodders won the Organization of the Year Award. Celebrating 20 years of operation, the Early Rodders donated to a variety of other groups and were part of the annual motorcade observing the anniversary of 9/11.
Officer Jonathan Boyd with the California Highway Patrol, Deputy Wilson Schlamme with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and Officer Varooj Karibyan with the Glendale Police Department were honored as the Law Enforcement Officers of the Year. Boyd has been with the Altadena Station since 2018 and often works the unincorporated beat. Schlamme transferred to the Crescenta Valley Station in December 2020 and has distinguished himself for his DUI enforcement. Karibyan, a Glendale native and Glendale High School graduate, has been with GPD for 14 years and is on its Community Relations Team.
Firefighter-paramedic Marc Beddawi was recognized as the Firefighter of the Year. A 10-year member of the Los Angeles County Fire Department’s Station 19 in La Cañada Flintridge, Beddawi responds to La Crescenta emergencies and also lends his expertise to new department recruits, UCLA’s paramedic school and the EMT program at Pasadena City College.
Mary O’Keefe, the lead reporter at the Crescenta Valley Weekly, received the Don Carpenter Special Award for her work in covering Crescenta Valley. She is also involved in the CV Robotics team, the Crescenta Valley High School Prom Plus Club and the Crescenta Valley Fire Safe Council.
Catalina Paints, managed by David Cohn and located at the intersection of La Crescenta Avenue and Foothill Boulevard, won the Beautification Award for its array of native landscaping and seasonal flowers.