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Four community members were honored Thursday for their decades of service in the Santa Maria Valley by a crowd of friends and family during the 11th Celebrate Philanthropy luncheon.

The annual luncheon, held at the Santa Maria Country Club, is sponsored by the Santa Barbara Foundation and the Santa Maria Times. 

The year’s honorees were Judy and Eric Frost and Frank and Scottie Ortiz.

Santa Barbara County 5th District Supervisor Steve Lavagnino, who served as the event’s emcee, said the luncheon is about celebrating generosity and charitable giving. 

“Philanthropy describes any effort to advance human well-being through charitable gifts of time, treasure and/or talent,” he said. “As we all know, the Santa Maria Valley is very philanthropic and we’re here to honor two couples with a record of exceptional generosity.”  

Judy and Erik Frost were honored for their service and volunteer work with a number of organizations, particularly with Hancock College and PCPA. The two of them also have held leadership roles at the Santa Barbara Foundation, Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara County, Dignity Health Pacific Central Coast Health Centers and the Association of California School Administrators.

Judy Frost said she and her husband were following the example set by previous Celebrate Philanthropy honorees, who include Ed and Lisa Murray, Jim Bray and Edwin and Jeanne Woods.

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“What we know about giving time, talent and treasure, we learned from many of the former Celebrate Philanthropy honorees,” she said. 

Frank and Scottie Ortiz, who moved to the Central Coast in 1997, when Frank became Santa Maria fire chief, were honored for their service to a number of local nonprofits.  

Frank Ortiz has held leadership roles with the Rotary Club, Toys for Tots Central Coast, Good Samaritan Shelter Services and the American Red Cross. 

Scottie Ortiz is primarily known for her work with Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Santa Barbara County, where she became a volunteer advocate for neglected and abused children in 2003. Three years later, she joined the organization’s board of directors. 

“Whatever we’ve done, whether local or global, we’ve done with all our hearts,” Scottie Ortiz said. “It has always been my mantra that, ‘Healthy children make healthy adults.’ And I feel that I have worked toward that goal.”

 "Scottie and I both feel that volunteerism is something that anyone can do every day that can make a difference in someone else's life," Frank Ortiz said. "This is a choice we made." 

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Razi Syed covers Santa Maria City Government for Lee Central Coast Newspapers.  Follow him on Twitter @razisyed

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City Government

Razi Syed covers city government for the Santa Maria Times. He is a graduate of Fresno State University and New York University.