Sometimes really good things happen to really good people and mountain resident Dave Stuart was one of those people who was honored at a special event on Friday, Feb. 13. Instead of being “Friday the 13th” and its connotation of terrifying things it was great day as he was one of several honorees at a special event at the beautifully remodeled Fox Theater in historic Redlands. The old theater has been restored and it is a wonderful venue for special events. The special event was held on Friday, February 13 and it was filled with joy, excited honorees, family and friends as well as State Senator Mike Morrell who was on hand to congratulate the honorees. No “Friday the thirteenth” craziness there…it was a very exciting event that honored about 100 people and the organizations they support.
Each of the recipients was honored for going beyond the call of duty to help their individual communities.
This event honored residents who have gone above and beyond the call of duty to help their communities in many different ways. The event was entitled “The 4th Annual Unforgettable Heart Awards” and the decorations that overflowed in the beautiful old building were, not surprisingly, red hearts. Families, friend, co-workers and others filled all the seats at the beautifully decorated tables and enjoy the entire event; from the delicious lunch to the honors bestowed on the recipients of this award.
Dave Stuart, one of the original founders of Hearts and Lives, was one of the honorees. He was accompanied to the event by his wife Susan as well as several other mountain residents and staff from Hearts and Lives who were happy and proud to attend and several mountain reporters. He congratulated all the organizations and especially the individuals who were honored during the presentation. Many of the award winners had raised money, in some way, to support organizations, foundations or individuals with financial help or other means of assistance. It was truly thrilling to see the amount of money several of the honorees raised or help raise for their individual agency or organization.
State Senator Mike Morrell was on hand to congratulate all the honorees who came from large and small areas within his district. He told the appreciative audience that friends are like stars…..”you may not always see them but you are always they’re there”. As a speaker at this event the local Assemblyman made quite an impression with his down to earth manner and dedication to being part of the “Unforgettable Heart Awards” ceremony.
A huge “congratulatory” round of applause ravaged several communities in the local Crestline, Lake Arrowhead and Running Springs areas. When Hearts and Lives began after the Old Fire he was familiar with ways to get immediate help to fire victims as well as how to work with other agencies and organization over and over again to help all those who were affected by the heart-breaking fire
Most fire victims, at that time, didn’t know where to turn or where to even begin to know how to get help for their damaged or ruined homes and their everyday lives. At that time there was little or no “structure” in place to help victims who had lost their homes, who needed help and support or just “practical advice. To say it was a disastrous time for those who lost their homes, pets, vehicles and other valuables they barely knew where to start. Dave was instrumental in using his organization skills to set up a huge event at Rim of the World High School where several of the classrooms were set aside for “break out” sessions where insurance carriers and others involved with helping fire victims could, and did, meet with them and offer support and advice. Several of the classrooms and the large auditorium were used for most of the meetings between fire victims and county, state or federal agency representatives.
Dave and another mountain resident, Ira Maser, were instrumental in forming the organization that ultimately became Mountain Hearts and Lives. Dave was able to help so many people by using his contacts, common sense, the relationships he developed with local, county, state and federal agencies as well as his unfailing devotion to the communities he loved. It would be impossible to explain what he and his small staff were able to give to fire victims who were literally shell-shocked at the loss of everything they owned including their homes, their vehicles, their jobs (if they burned along with everything else), pets, their sense of safety, treasured momentous of their lives and on and on.
Today, Hearts and Lives helps local families and individuals connect with agencies for help as well as providing an enormous number of programs for people in need in the communities from Green Valley Lake to Crestline where Hearts and Lives is located. Ever since the Old Fire, Hearts and Lives has been an integral part of the local mountain neighborhoods and through their varied programs they have been able to help thousands of mountain residents in a million different ways!
Since those early years Hearts and Lives has been able to help thousands of mountain individuals and families with many different kinds of problems or challenges. Congratulations, Dave. You deserve it………………..and more!
In reminiscing about the late, great singer, Nat King Cole, I can’t help but think that he would have loved this event and the Unforgettables Foundation. After all, one of his biggest hits, and one that is still often played today was “Unforgettable.” He was, and so is, the incredible Unforgettables Foundation.
Congratulations to all!