CCHS is excited to announce the 2015-2016 Awards of Merit Recipients. These awards are CCHS's way of thanking those whose contributions to California history add luster and significance to the lives around them. They honor the outstanding accomplishments of individuals and organizations serving the interests of CCHS. We also want to thank those who took the time to recognize their colleagues and nominate them for their service.

Register for the conference or attend the Awards Dinner to honor those whose dedication has made a difference to California history!


Betty R. Samson

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Nominated by: Placer County Historical Society

Biography

Betty Ruth Mosher was born in a small house under a large oak tree in North Sacramento in 1925. In high school, she enjoyed art and pottery and hoped to go to work for Gladding McBean Pottery in Lincoln, but World War II changed everything. A couple days after graduating from Grant Union High School, where she had taken a special course in aircraft engine repair, Betty went to work as an aircraft mechanic at McClellan Air Force Base. Over the course of the two years she worked at McClellan, Betty's career progressed from mechanic learner to junior aircraft line assembler grade 9, since women were not allowed to be full mechanics at the time.

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Naomi Hirahara

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Nominated by:

Biography

Naomi was born and raised in Pasadena, California.  She received her bachelor's degree in international relations from Stanford University and studied at the Inter-University Center for Advanced Japanese Language Studies in Tokyo.  She was a reporter and editor of The Rafu Shimpo during the culmination of the redress and reparations movement for Japanese Americans who were forcibly removed from their homes during World War II.  During her tenure as editor, the newspaper published a highly-acclaimed inter-ethnic relations series after the L.A. riots.

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Geraldine Knatz

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Nominated by:

Biography

Geraldine is co-author with Japanese author Naomi Hirahara of Terminal Island, Lost Communities of Los Angeles Harbor. She retired as the Executive Director of the Port of Los Angeles on February 1, 2014 after 8 years as its CEO. Prior to that, she was Managing Director at the Port of Long Beach. Despite the commitment of a 37-year career in the maritime industry, Geraldine found time for historical pursuits. She published Long Beach's Los Cerritos in 2014. She is a Board member of the Banning Residence Museum and the Los Angeles City Historical Society.

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Paul Spitzzeri

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Nominated by: Victoria Torres

Biography

Paul is the Assistant Director of the Workman & Temple Family Homestead Museum in the City of Industry, where he has built a growing collection of greater Los Angeles historical artifacts and helps to arrange an extraordinary array of programs and activities for members of the community.  

For over 10 years, Paul has served as an Advisory Board Member of the Boyle Heights Historical Society, making time to participate in their events when requested, offering expertise and guidance in their endeavors, and supporting their mission with exuberance. In 2011, he worked with BHHS to assist with their Images and Essays Exhibit at the Heritage Square Museum and at Occidental College.  Paul continues to help maintain BHHS's blog spot, writes numerous articles relevant to the history of Boyle Heights, and works with the Board to provide stellar guidance to them all.

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Scott Sedgley

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Nominated by: Napa County Historical Society

Biography

Raised in Napa, Scott graduated from Napa High School in 1970.  He completed a 4-year apprenticeship in carpentry, spending 13 years working as a union carpenter.  He then began a long career in public service that has continued into retirement.  He began working for the Napa Fire Department, starting as a Reserve Firefighter.  Scott worked 32 years with the department, retiring as a Truck Captain in 2011.

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Anna Sklar

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Nominated by: Diane Kanner

Biography

Anna Sklar has been a professional dancer, a college instructor, and a public information director for the Los Angeles Public Library, Cultural Affairs Department, and Department of Public Works.  As a broadcaster, she was the west coast reporter for NPR's "All Things Considered," reporter for KCET-TVEarth News Radio, and a contributor to CBC News.  She has been a contributor to the Los Angeles Times, The Nation, Nation's Cities Weekly, Learning Magazine, and a variety of other publications.  She is the author of Runaway Wives and Brown Acres, currently curates the LACHS photo website lacityhistory.pastperfect-online.com, and is the editor of the quarterly LACHS newsletter.

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