Big Bear Lake, CA — Soroptimists International of Big Bear Valley yesterday announced their three candidates for the annual Man About Town campaign, one of whom will join a distinguished list of fundraisers that includes Dr. Bob Leiske (the first Man About Town in 1994), as well as Steve Hirschler, Pat Sevedge, Vic Oberneder, Loren Hafen, Jayme Nordine, Jim Bollingmo, Rick Rey, Rich Lambert, Ron Peavy, Tyler Wood/Reno Holler/Michael Perry (tied in 2004), Simeon Prophet, Jay Obernolte, the team of Scott Towsley and George Crezee, the band Mad Mad Marcae and His Lost Roll of Pennies Blues Band and, in 2009, Paul Ortuno as the Man About Town. This year’s candidates, who will continue last year’s effort to fund Soroptimists’ campaign to stop teen violence in the Big Bear Valley, include “Burger King” Eric Schwartz (owner of Get the Burger with Lynn, his wife of 30 years—this week), Gabriel Rojas (a father of three girls and owner of Sonora Cantina and Old County Inn with wife Maria), and David Leach, president of the Arts Council and the MARTA Board and past president of the Rotary Club. In addressing those in attendance at Thursday’s announcement luncheon at Northwoods, Soroptimist Deanne Johanson said, “This year, we’re still asking you to stop teen violence—in the name of love.” The three-year effort, which was launched in 2009 with funds generated by Paul Ortuno and fellow Man About Town candidates Phil Hamilton and Ace Evers, includes the Camp Girl Power program, the establishment of the Peace Builders program at Big Bear Middle School, and the hiring of a Student Assistance Program facilitator, to provide intervention and referral programs in conjunction with Bear Valley Unified School District and the Healthy Start program. In his opening remarks, candidate Gabe Rojas noted, “As a parent, I can understand and appreciate the need to stop teen violence.” And, as Leach pointed out, “We want to build self-esteem in our children. I am honored to be asked to volunteer—though that’s the story of my life.” The three candidates, each of whom is volunteering their time to participate in the Soroptimists’ effort, will be holding fundraising activities in the coming months and, on April 25, one of them will be named this year’s Man About Town.
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