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Outstanding contributors to Fallbrook honored

FALLBROOK – It was standing-room only at last week's Fallbrook Historical Society annual awards ceremony, during which time two members and a local business were honored for their outstanding contributions to the community. The event took place at the historic Reche Schoolhouse near Live Oak Park.

FHS founder and second-generation Fallbrook resident Lorena Harris was bestowed top honors as Pioneer of the Year.

"Lorena's entire life is a legacy of contributions to our community," said FHS President Roy Moosa. "She served as librarian for her alma mater Fallbrook High School for 32 years, mesmerizing thousands of students with her personal recollections of growing up in our town."

"And, as one of the founders of our organization, Lorena's personal contributions are visible throughout the main museum, including a beautiful pink dress made by Lorena's mother and grandmother for the 1935-36 California-Pacific International Exhibition in Balboa Park," Moosa added. "Few would argue that Lorena, whose material grandmother Mildred Geyer received the honor in 1992, is well-deserving of this very special honor."

Pat Saunders, often referred to as the "Face of the Fallbrook Historical Society," was honored as Member of the Year.

"Pat may be the hardest working volunteer at the historical society and she is definitely the nicest," said FHS Historian Tom Frew. "Her leadership keeps a team of volunteers meeting regularly to continuously improve the displays in our facilities. Everyone appreciates her cheerfulness, her energy, and the new ideas she brings to the group."

"As a longtime resident of Fallbrook, she brings valuable insight to the historical society on all things Fallbrook," Frew added. "She is also an artist. Her creative talents allowed her to image what our museum gift shop should look like, and she made it all happen through her inspiration."

Saunders joined the FHS in 2019, quickly becoming indispensable. She began as a member of the Asset Committee and shortly thereafter became the museum curator of the main museum and gift shop. Since then, she has become Membership Committee chair and one of the primary event organizers, adding her magic touch and endless energy to creating bigger, better and more profitable events.

The prestigious Business of the Year award was presented to Steve McGargill who, with his brother Scott, has owned and operated the historic Berry-Bell & Hall Mortuary since 2001.

"The McGargills not only ensure outstanding and compassionate end-of-life services for the departed and their loved one, but they are actively involved in supporting the community-at-large," said FHS Vice Present Jeff Duhachek.

Berry-Bell & Hall supports several organizations throughout the year, including donations to the Fallbrook Senior Center, the Foundation for Senior Care, as well as providing a bagpiper to play taps during the annual Chamber of Commerce 911 Remembrance Ceremony.

In addition, the business supports the local 4-H and Future Farmers of America organizations by purchasing animals at the Del Mar Fair to benefit local youth and every three years participates in the California Highway Patrol's Every 15-Minute Program. The program, directed at high juniors and seniors, brings them face-to-face with the tragic dangers of driving under the influence.

A special moment took place with the presentation of the 2019 Pioneer of the Year Award to Vince Ross, who was unable to attend the 2019 event. Ceremonies in 2020 and 2021 could not be held due to the COVID pandemic.

In addition, Certificates of Commendation from Fifth District Supervisor Jim Desmond were presented by Community Liaison Marisol Edrozo.

The awards ceremony was followed with a ribbon cutting for the new onsite walking trail and tours of the historic grounds upon which it sits. Attendees also got the chance to view an impressive collection of mint-condition vehicles brought by members of the Fallbrook Vintage Car Club – who also happen to be members of the Fallbrook Historical Society.

"For the past two years, we have been unable to publicly award these very special honors, due to the COVID pandemic,'" said Moosa. "We were excited to resume this event, which is one of the most important celebrations for the historical society."

Submitted by the Fallbrook Historical Society.


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