The 2022 Rancho Bernardo Hall of Fame inductees are Mike Fuqua and Jim Hyldahl.
“The article below appeared in the Rancho Bernardo News Journal and was written by Elizabeth Himchak.
Michael Fuqua and Jim Hyldahl will be joining the Rancho Bernardo Hall of Fame.
Fuqua and Hyldahl are longtime members of the Rotary Club of Rancho Bernardo. Both were nominated by fellow Rotarian Don Glover, a 2019 RB Hall of Fame inductee.
Glover cited Fuqua’s leadership in creating the Vines & Vittles fundraiser in 2019, which raised $20,000 for the Rancho Bernardo Historical Society and $70,000 for community grants distributed by Rotary. Under Fuqua, in 2020-21 the RB Rotary Club Foundation distributed nearly $262,000 to various causes, with over $180,000 of that going to RB projects, Glover said.
As for Hyldahl, Glover mentioned his leadership in starting community clean-up events, with six held over the last few years. He also mentioned Hyldahl’s other community work, including Spirit of the Fourth.
“We are very excited about our new inductees becoming members, even more so, since we have had to postpone any celebration for over two years due to COVID,” said RB Hall of Fame President Debbie Kurth, a 2019 inductee.
Kurth said the celebratory dinner and program will likely be held in June or July.
“I was shocked and speechless when Debbie told me,” said Fugua, who lives in The Lakes neighborhood west of 4S Ranch. “I immediately was thinking of the people I know who are in and so dedicated to the community. To be among them is quite an honor.”
“I am pleased and honored as it’s an elite group of people in the area,” said Hyldahl, of Poway.
Also honored will be 2020 selectee Bill Chaffin. His induction was scheduled for March 13, 2020, the same day everything started closing due to the pandemic.
Kurth said the organization voted to accept Fuqua and Hyldahl on Feb. 16. They will become the 123rd and 124th inductees since the organization formed in 1974. The Hall of Fame recognizes those who have contributed significant volunteer leadership in the community.
Fuqua, 71, said he became a Rotarian six years ago after retiring from Northrop Grumman where he was director of business development at its unmanned aerial vehicle center in Rancho Bernardo. He learned about Rotary when golfing with Glover.
“I liked the international aspect of 1.2 million Rotarians around the world,” he said. “I found out it does great things through its work in community service. ... It’s just a great group of people ... it fit me very well.
The idea to create the family-oriented Vines & Vittles came after a conversation with Nancy Canfield of the RB Historical Society and 2015 RB Hall of Fame inductee.
With the RB Historical Society needing to raise money, but not having enough volunteers to organize a large-scale event, and Rotary having people available, Fuqua said he thought a partnership could be formed between the two groups.
The historical society previously held a tasting event and Fuqua said he thought a family-oriented aspect would be a nice addition for the community.
“We had no idea more than 1,000 would attend,” he said. “It was beyond anybody’s wildest imaginations.”
The western-themed event has been on hiatus for two years, but is scheduled to return in August, he said.
Besides being club president in 2017-18, he is now RB Rotary Foundation chair and an assistant district governor for Rotary District 5340. He said taking on leadership positions is “in my DNA. I was a Naval officer for 25 years, rose to the rank of captain and like leadership roles. I give it my all.”
Due to his Navy career, Fuqua is also a volunteer docent at the USS Midway Museum, where the former helicopter pilot talks about naval aviation aboard aircraft carriers. He is also on the Guide Dogs for America board.
Fuqua, a San Diego native, said he and his wife, Patty, moved to The Lakes neighborhood eight years ago after living in Carmel Mountain Ranch for 14 years. The couple has been married 50 years and has two grown children, son Chris and daughter Tara. During his military career they mostly lived in San Diego and Norfolk, Virginia since he flew helicopters, he said.
“We were based here for most of my career, but I frequently deployed,” he said.
With both having parents in California, Fuqua said San Diego “was home for us.”
Hyldahl, 80, has been a Rotarian for 25 years.
“I decided it was the time for me to find a venue to give back,” he said. “I looked at a number of organizations. A good friend, Larry Valente, invited me to lunch to talk about Rotary. I said this is for me.”
Hyldahl said he was attracted due to Rotary being the world’s largest service club and its broad reach.
“There was a well-defined plan on how it intended to serve the world,” Hyldahl said. “I loved its motto — ‘Service above self’ — and it was a great networking opportunity.
“I had been very much involved in my work for a number of years and had not taken the time to build a network in the community,” he said, adding, “Through Rotary I would meet more people and find a way to serve.”
Hyldahl, a Chicago native, said his work brought him and his wife, Joanne, to California. Seven moves later due to job transfers they came to San Diego and made their home in Poway in 1979, where they raised their two sons, Jeff and Brad. The couple has been married for 57 years.
After working in the health industry for 17 years, Hyldahl worked another 41 years in the investments field. He retired as vice president of investments at UBS in 2020.
Hyldahl was RB Rotary president in 2005-06 and for the past four years he has led the club’s community service efforts.
“We have always been a very active club; supporting young people ... I didn’t feel we were doing enough for seniors,” Hyldahl said about his idea to start free community clean-ups in Rancho Bernardo’s Seven Oaks and Oaks North senior neighborhoods.
“We are all natural hoarders, it is human nature to have our garages and closets full of stuff,” he said. “When it is no longer used, there is no easy way to get rid of it.”
According to Hyldahl, clean-ups not only help residents, but the environment and those in need. Many items went to landfills, but around 40 percent could be repurposed so it was donated to Interfaith Community Services and the North County Alliance to help their efforts to assist the homeless.
“I saw right away people really appreciated the effort and opportunity to get rid of stuff,” he said. Hyldahl added that he is working with the Swim & Tennis and Westwood neighborhoods to expand the project to more RB residents.
Hyldahl said it is through Rotary that he also got involved in other community service endeavors. He led the effort to get around 60 percent of the decades-old Neighborhood Watch signs replaced in the Seven Oaks and Mirador areas. He also has been on Rancho Bernardo’s Spirit of the Fourth Committee.
“Now that I’m retired it is important for me to stay active,” Hyldahl said. He also serves on two nonprofit boards — Poway Symphony Orchestra and Guide Dogs of America.
The photos below were taken the evening of the Program by Elizabeth Himchak of the Rancho Bernardo News Journal.