Community members to be honored at gala


A behind the scenes volunteer, a club president and columnist at The Friday Flyer, a youth who gives back to the community through service, a high school senior who aspires to serve in the U.S. Military, a club dedicated to the enrichment of Canyon Lake and helping others less fortunate and a family owned business whose owners are quietly in the background making a difference in the community are this year’s honorees.

One of the ways the Canyon Lake Chamber of Commerce serves the community is by providing an opportunity to recognize leading citizens, groups and businesses with annual awards. The Chamber begins accepting nominations from community members at the end of the year. A committee of chamber members selects the honorees from the nominations submitted and honors them at its annual Awards Gala and Installation Dinner. This year’s 22nd annual Awards Gala and Installation Dinner will be held on Saturday at 6 p.m. in the Holiday Bay Room at the lodge. This year’s honorees are as follows:

Volunteer of the Year: Steve Libring

Steve Libring – Volunteer of the Year Photo by Jill Torkelson.

The Volunteer of the Year is awarded to an individual who has made a significant difference to the community through volunteerism.

Steve Libring is a “behind the scenes” volunteer whose service in the community began when he moved to Canyon Lake in 1983. Steve is a 34-year member of the Facilities Review Committee and a member of the Security Advisory Committee. He served on the Master Survey Plan Committee and as the chairman of the Lake Lease Advisory Committee. He is active in the Pickleball Club where he serves as the vice-president. Steve, along with his wife Diane, recently organized a fundraiser to benefit Animal Friends of the Valleys. More than $1,000 and 200 pounds of donations were collected.

Citizen of the Year: Ron Martel

Ron Martel – Citizen of the Year. Photo provided by Ron Martel.

The Citizen of the Year is awarded to an individual who has enhanced the quality of life in Canyon Lake through outstanding community involvement.

Ron Martel is the president of the Canyon Lake Fine Arts Guild, has written a weekly movie review column for The Friday Flyer for the past 14 years, serves on an inter-agency Roundtable and served on the POA Quality Assurance Committee. He is an advocate for Canyon Lake and his time, organizational skills and advice are regularly sought out and freely given.

Youth of the Year: Jake Hosking and Cooper Smith

Jake Hosking – Youth of the Year. Photo by Jill Torkelson.

The Youth of the Year is awarded to a Canyon Lake student who has exhibited academic excellence while being involved in the community and participating in school activities. This year, two youths were chosen to be honored.

Fourteen-year-old Jake Hosking is an Eagle Scout who gives back to the community through community service. He began as a first grade Tiger in Canyon Lake Cub Scout Pack 346 and rose among the ranks, graduating to Boy Scout Troop 444 in Menifee. He holds an Order of the Arrow Office of Second Vice for the Tahquitz Chapter in Cahuilla Lodge #127. The Order of the Arrow is the National Honor Society of the Boy Scouts of America.

Jake has a 4.1 GPA and is involved in school activities that include water polo, NJROTC, mountain biking and Cyber Patriots. He is the platoon commander for 7th Platoon in his NJROTC unit at Murrieta Mesa High School.

Jake recently purchased a new flagpole for Happy Camp with his own money he raised through recycling. He also created a Campership Scholarship fund to benefit Cub Scouts of Pack 346 and donated $100 of his own money.

Cooper Smith is one of two teens chosen as Youth of the Year.. Photo provided by Mindy Smith.

Seventeen-year-old Cooper Smith is an exceptional Temescal Canyon High senior who hopes to attend West Point. He desires to serve in the U.S. Military. Cooper has a 4.2 GPA and is involved in several school clubs that include the Photography/Videography Club, Interact Club and HOSA. He also serves on the executive board of the Health and Medical Careers Academy, a program designed for students who have an interest in a career in the medical field after high school. Cooper has been a member of the varsity water polo team and the varsity swim team for the past four years. He has served as the team captain on both teams for the past two years. He holds school records in the 200 Free Relay and 400 Free Relay. In addition to his school studies, Cooper interns with the City Manager’s Office in Lake Elsinore.

Organization of the Year: Canyon Lake Woman’s Club

The Organization of the Year is awarded to a nonprofit organization or association whose programs of work have made a positive impact on the community.

The Woman’s Club, founded in 1972, is a non-profit, non-partisan philanthropic service organization dedicated to the enrichment of Canyon Lake and helping others less fortunate. In 2017, the club awarded $16,000 to local charities and $15,000 to 10 Canyon Lake students. The club has donated more than $400,000 over the past 10 years, some of which was donated to the POA for enhancements within the community.

The majority of the money the Woman’s Club raises is through three annual events: Fashion Show, Mermaid Festival and Holiday Home Tour. To put on these events is a major production that involves months of intense planning and preparation, hours of meetings and help from numerous volunteers. The money raised at these events allows the club to give back to the community and to help those in need. The Woman’s  Club has more than 200 members ranging from ages 18 to 95.

Business of the Year: Platinum Plumbing

This family-owned business of 30 years has been part of the Canyon Lake business and chamber community for eight years, participating and volunteering for many chamber events that include the Awards Gala and Installation Dinner, Chamber Golf Tournament, Oktoberfest and Parade of Frights. There has never been a hesitation when a volunteer or sponsorship was needed. While many may not know them, they are quietly in the background making a difference.

Platinum Plumbing is owned by Jack Gray and his wife Wanda Hanson. The office staff consists of Kelly Smith and Melina Carter. Four generations of Grays reside in Canyon Lake.