RB Hall of Fame Archives - 2018 Induction Ceremony
New members Michael Ferrell, Eldon Jennings, and Karen Stelman
ELIZABETH MARIE HIMCHAK
Michael Farrell, Eldon Jennings and Karen Stelman were welcomed among the ranks of a select group of dedicated volunteers who have all been honored for their efforts that benefited the Rancho Bernardo community.
“You have joined a really remarkable group of people,” said Assemblyman Brian Maienschein during the Rancho Bernardo Hall of Fame’s annual dinner and induction ceremony on Saturday night at the Bernardo Heights Country Club.
The new trio of inductees have each been dedicated members of the community for over three decades. They were unanimously selected on Jan. 31 and are the 116th, 117th and 118th honorees since the RB Hall of Fame was established in 1974.
“This is an extremely unique (event) .... the history and legacy ... is phenomenal,” said City Councilman Mark Kersey while honoring the trio.
RB Hall of Fame President Valerie Brown, a 2012 inductee, commented on how for many of the members there has been an overlap in their volunteer efforts that many do not realize, but the ripples are felt throughout the community in countless ways via the lives they have touched.
For example, Brown said upon reviewing the decades of work of this year’s honorees, she realized that her path crossed with each of theirs all within a week during 2008 due to the Healing Field, created in Rancho Bernardo Community Park to commemorate the first anniversary of the 2007 wildfires. At the time, Brown was leading recovery efforts for the impacted families, Stelman led the field’s creation efforts, while Jennings and Farrell were involved with the field due to their volunteerism in Boy Scouts.
Farrell has been an active business member and volunteer in Rancho Bernardo since 1983. Now first vice president at Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Inc. in Rancho Bernardo, Farrell said it was through his job that he was introduced to the Los Rancheros Kiwanis Club (also known as the Rancho Bernardo Kiwanis Club). He became a Kiwanian in 1984 and at 33-plus years is now its longest tenured member in the club’s 51-year history. Over the decades he has held several leadership positions within the club.
He was also nominated for his 31 years with Rancho Bernardo’s Boy Scout Troop 681, including his work on its board of review. Farrell is also a founding member of the 4S Ranch Friends of the Library, served as its president for five years and been a board member since 2008. He was also instrumental in the transition of the Joslyn Center into the Ed Brown Center for Active Adults in Rancho Bernardo Community Park (2009-11).
Jennings was selected for his 30-plus years of leadership in Rancho Bernardo’s Boy Scout Troop 681 and efforts in starting two more troops in the community. Since moving to Rancho Bernardo in 1974, Jennings has mentored close to 90 of the troop’s members as they worked toward becoming Eagle Scouts.
The retired aerospace engineer at Boeing, who was the troop’s scoutmaster from 1980 to 2011, has continued his involvement now as its assistant scoutmaster. Jennings is also credited with saving Westwood’s Christmas Eve luminaria tradition
Stelman, a Rancho Bernardan since 1966 and retired mortgage broker at Rancho Financial in RB, was the Rotary Club of Rancho Bernardo’s first woman president (1994-95), a few years after women were accepted as members. She was also the Rancho Bernardo Rotary Club Foundation president (1996-98) and has taken on many leadership roles during her almost 29 years as a Rotarian.
Stelman co-chaired the committee that coordinated the Healing Field event, during which hundreds of American flags were placed in Rancho Bernardo Community Park, each representing a home destroyed or damaged in 2007. For 29 years Stelman has also been a leader with Let’s Light the Cross, the non-profit that maintains the cross atop Battle Mountain, and she has served in various leadership roles on the Spirit of the Fourth Committee.
Rancho Bernardo Longtime volunteers picked for RB Hall of Fame
By ELIZABETH MARIE HIMCHAK A trio of longtime Rancho Bernardo volunteers have been selected for membership in the RB Hall of Fame.
Michael Farrell, Eldon Jennings and Karen Stelman each have been dedicated members of the community for over three decades.
They were unanimously selected on Jan. 31 and will be installed at an invitation-only dinner on March 10 in the Bernardo Heights Country Club.
The Rancho Bernardo Hall of Fame, established in 1974, honors longtime community volunteers who have provided years of significant leadership. Farrell, Jennings and Stelman are the 116th, 117th and 118th honorees.
“It’s a big deal to me, since I’ve been here a long time and know other (inductees),” Farrell said about his selection.
While moving with his wife, Nancy, and sons Jay and Jason, to Rancho Bernardo two years ago (they previously lived in 4S Ranch and Rancho Peñasquitos) — he has been an active business member and volunteer in Rancho Bernardo since 1983.
Farrell, now first vice president at Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Inc. in Rancho Bernardo, said it was through his job that he was introduced to the Los Rancheros Kiwanis Club (also known as the RB Kiwanis Club). He became a Kiwanian in 1984 and at 33-plus years is now its longest tenured member in the club’s 51-year history.
“I was so impressed by the men’s commitment to the community that I was hooked from day one,” Farrell said, adding that at the time women were not yet admitted for membership. Farrell said his favorite aspect has been the Kiwanians’ “enthusiasm for the community and altruistic service.
His leadership positions included president (1988-89), during which club membership peaked at 120. For seven years he was chairman of its Right Start in the Community recognition program to honor fifth graders in their schools’ crossing guard programs. He has also provided leadership for many club activities including its annual pancake breakfast, work with the Salvation Army and the Ronald McDonald House.
Other volunteer leadership has included his 31 years with Rancho Bernardo’s Boy Scout Troop 681, including his work on its board of review. Farrell said he was a Boy Scout and got involved prior to his sons joining.
He is a founding member of the 4S Ranch Friends of the Library, served as president for five years and remains on its board (2008-present). He was also instrumental in the transition of the Joslyn Center into the Ed Brown Center for Active Adults in Rancho Bernardo Community Park (2009-11).
“From the moment he arrived in Rancho Bernardo 34 years ago, Mr. Farrell has been one of Rancho Bernardo’s most active, enthusiastic, prominent volunteers and a man who has been instrumental in the development of a number of volunteer organizations throughout this special city,” wrote nominator John O’Rourke. “He is a born leader who lives his life with the mission of improving the lives of others.
“While he has succeeded beyond imagination, he never looks for personal recognition or accolades,” O’Rourke added.
“It was a surprise,” Jennings said. “I did not know I was nominated.”
He was selected for his 30-plus years of leadership in Rancho Bernardo’s Boy Scout Troop 681, and efforts in starting two more troops in the community.
“Eldon mentored close to 90 scouts in his troop in their becoming Eagle Scouts,” wrote nominator Ross Simmons, adding another 100 boys during Jennings tenure also achieved the rank of Eagle. “This is an extraordinary achievement in our community.”
Simmons added, “The Boy Scout tradition is part of the fabric of Rancho Bernardo. It is part of what makes RB a great place to live and to raise a family. We owe this largely to Eldon Jennings.”
Jennings said he and his late wife, Anna, moved to Rancho Bernardo from St. Louis in 1974. A Boy Scout in his youth, Jennings said he was a scoutmaster in Missouri and decided to continue his involvement in RB even though the couple had only daughters — Julie and Jennifer.
The retired aerospace engineer at Boeing who was the troop’s scoutmaster from 1980 to 2011 has continued his involvement now as its assistant scoutmaster. He said he likes the life lessons they teach the teenage boys as they become young men.
“Basically, we’re preparing these boys for life,” Jennings said. “I think it is better than sports ... since the boys can fail safely and we let them if there is no danger or risk. If they ruin a meal, we let them mess up. We teach them how to fail (and get back up).”
He added, “the life lesson (of overcoming failure) to me, that’s very important.”
Jennings is also credited with saving the Westwood luminaria tradition on Christmas Eve. When the Westwood Men’s Club no longer wanted to organize it, Jennings said he got the troop to take it on, largely because his wife was so fond of the tradition. “She fell in love with it.”
While he has received many honors through Boy Scouts, Jennings said, “I was not looking for awards. ... Recognition is not my goal, but I’m pleased (to be selected for the RB Hall of Fame).”
“I was totally surprised and humbled and didn’t feel worthy,” Stelman said about her selection, adding, “It is such an honor.”
The Rancho Bernardan since 1966 and retired mortgage broker at Rancho Financial in RB was the Rotary Club of Rancho Bernardo’s first woman president (1994-95), a few years after women were accepted as members. She was also the Rancho Bernardo Rotary Club Foundation president (1996-98) and has taken on many leadership roles during her almost 29 years as a Rotarian.
“I have known her for many years as she has quietly led, supported and been involved with so many community activities,” wrote nominator Craig Brown. He added, “Karen is partly a leader because she eschews the spotlight, the microphone or the recognition. She inspires others in this quiet way and for that reason deserves the recognition.”
Stelman said she enjoys the many opportunities Rotary provides locally and around the world to help others. These include trips that she and her husband, Michael (also a Rotarian and 1984 RB Hall of Fame inductee), have taken to Africa to give polio vaccines and to Ecuador to get the people clean drinkable water.
To commemorate the first anniversary of the wildfires in Rancho Bernardo, Stelman co-chaired the committee that coordinated the event. It included placing hundreds of American flags in Rancho Bernardo Community Park, each representing a home destroyed or damaged in the 2007 blaze. The more than $42,000 raised went toward helping the affected, including providing counseling to children and transportation to their schools while displaced and upgrading Fire Station No. 33.
For 29 years she has also been a leader with Let’s Light the Cross, the non-profit that maintains the cross atop Battle Mountain and is known as a Rancho Bernardo landmark.
“Karen has made it personal to many in our community as a place for reflection, contemplation and honor in a non-denominational way,” according to her nomination.
She has also served in various leadership roles on the Spirit of the Fourth Committee.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Copyright © 2019, Rancho Bernardo News Journal
Copyright © 2018, Rancho Bernardo News Journal
Images below courtesy of Elizabeth Marie Himchak and Rancho Bernardo News Journal
The 2018 Rancho Bernardo Hall of Fame inductees, Eldon Jennings, Karen Stelman and Michael Farrell.
Scott Lawn (2016 inductee), Cindy Pearson, Alex Lawn and George Cooke (2003 inductee).
Linda Gannon (2017 inductee), Dan Gannon, Valerie Brown (2012 inductee) and Nancy Canfield (2015 inductee).
Kay Lettington and Tom Lettington (2012 inductee).
New RB Hall of Fame member Karen Stelman, center, with her husband and 1984 inductee, Michael Stelman (back row, center), and family members.
New RB Hall of Fame member Eldon Jennings, center, with his daughter, Julie Stenzel, and son-in-law, Kevin Stenzel.
New RB Hall of Fame member Michael Farrell with his sons, Jay (left) and Jason, and wife, Nancy.
George Harris and Barbara Warden.
Rupinder Battoo, Michael Fickel and Kathy Frederick.
Dick Warden with Diane and Terry Anderson.