Big Bear News – KBHR933.com – Big Bear Lake – The Rotary Club of Big Bear Lake is recognizing its five distinguished 2023 Eagles of Excellence recipients on Thursday, June 8th at the Elk’s Lodge in Big Bear Lake. This year’s recipients include Kathy Portie, Vocational, Michael Beveridge, Rotarian, Shonda Szabo, Community, Peggy Blondiaux, Community, and Marcus Dietz, Rotarian in Memoriam.
Kathy Portie has been a Big Bear resident since 2003. As a long time employee of the Grizzly newspaper, Kathy is well known in town for her roles over the years as a Reporter, Sports Editor and Senior Editor for the newspaper. She won numerous California News Publishers Association Awards while at the Grizzly including blue ribbons for her feature articles including the Aspen Grove fire, two sports photographs and her team coverage of the Christopher Dorner incident. Having retired in March 2023, Kathy is an active member in the Big Bear cycling community and for over 15 years, has participated as a raider or volunteer for the annual Peak 2 Peak fundraiser for the US Adaptive Recreation Center.
Before Michael Beveridge moved to Big Bear, he practiced real estate in Orange County. He took that experience with him in moving to Big Bear to have a lasting impact on the community, where he would purchase and rebuild from the ground up the Old Honey Bear Lodge. After the five years spent on the lodge’s revitalization, Michael swiftly continued to support the community, by becoming one of the founding members of the Big Bear Lake Resort Association, now known as Visit Big Bear. A few years later, he was invited to join the Rotary Club of Big Bear Lake, and after several more years as a member, would become the Big Bear Lake Rotary’s President.
Shonda Szabo is the Student Services Liaison for Bear Valley Unified School District, and the coordinator of the schools’ Medi-Cal Billing Programs. As such, she provides grants and works with Foster and McKinney-Vento youth, fostering a welcoming environment that connects valuable resources to students and families. Because of these efforts, the BVUSD is able to supply youth with valuables, ranging from school supplies to clothing. In addition, her services makes her a valuable voting member for the Mountain Homeless Provider Network and Mountain Regional Steering Committee.
Peggy Blondiaux moved to Big Bear in 2003 and founded the Big Bear Pet Food Bank two years ago. Her mission is to help pet owners who are going through difficult times continue to feed their pets including cats and dogs. Her inspiration came to start a pet food bank during the COVID pandemic when resources provided food for humans but not for pets. Peggy wants people’s pets to stay in loving homes not in the shelters. Peggy distributes pet food the third Saturday of every month from 10am to 1pm at the parking lot at Big Bear High School on Maple Lane. Her program, Big Bear Pet Food Bank, runs solely on donations from the community and organizations. To learn more or to donate, contact Peggy at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 909-841-9313.
Marcus Dietz, Rotarian in Memoriam:
Long-time Big Bear Rotarian, Marcus Dietz, passed away on March 5th after a long battle with cancer. He was 63 years old. Marcus started Big Bear Today and, in fact, was the magazine’s writer, photographer and producer all rolled into one. He was a dedicated husband to his wife, Sandy, and father to his two sons, Michael and Mark, and daughter in law, Eliza. An avid skier, Marcus loved the sport, and he was a committed Rotarian.