Canyon Laker throws out first pitch for birthday

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Canyon Lake resident Sam Theodora celebrated his 80th birthday throwing out the ceremonial first pitch at a Los Angeles Angels baseball game on Aug. 7. The pitch was caught by Angels pitcher Justin Anderson, who later autographed the ball for Sam.

When the Angels organization held a contest seeking individuals who served their community, Sam’s son Todd entered him in the contest. “My 80th birthday was coming up and my son didn’t know what to get me, so he entered me in the contest,” said Sam.

Sam said he wasn’t nervous about throwing out the first pitch in front of thousands of Angels fans. “The old police mentality kicked in,” said Sam. He threw a perfect strike and all the fans cheered. “It was deafening,” he said.

Sam also was treated to a suite, where he and his family watched the Angels beat the Detroit Tigers 11 to 5.

“It was a once in a lifetime experience,” said Sam. “It was both exhilarating and humbling at the same time.”

When Sam was asked what he plans to do for his 81st birthday he replied, “Look back on my 80th birthday.”

Sam’s community service includes serving two years in the U.S Coast Guard, six years in the U.S. Army, five years as a police officer with the Paterson Police Department in New Jersey and 25 years as a police officer with the Los Angeles Police Department.

Sam is a 14-year member of the Canyon Lake Men’s Golf Club where he served four years as a director and one year as the president. He is a 12-year member of the Tuesday Work Group, an all-volunteer group of men who come together each week to enhance the community by taking on projects on the golf course and around the community. He served four years as the group’s major project manager and currently serves as the treasurer.

Sam also served on the Greens Committee for three years and the Appeals Committee for eight years. The car enthusiast is a member of the Canyon Lake Car Club and the Fine Arts Guild.

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Donna Ritchie