College of the Canyons | 2019 Silver Spur Award Presented to Don & Cheri Fleming
In recognition of their unwavering support to College of the Canyons and the Santa Clarita Valley, the college’s Foundation has named Don and Cheri Fleming as the 2019 recipients of the prestigious “Silver Spur” Community Service Award.
The next Silver Spur Celebration took place Saturday, March 16, 2019 at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles.
As strong friends and supporters of the college since 1999, Don and Cheri have contributed to nearly every one of the Foundation’s significant initiatives.
Whether it has been Chancellor’s Circle, Silver Spur, Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook University Center Campaign, Golf Tournament or Cougar Club, they have been actively involved in the college’s commitment to higher education.
“Don and Cheri Fleming’s visionary leadership and entrepreneurial spirit have truly made a difference in the Santa Clarita Valley,” said COC Chancellor Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook.
“Cheri’s hands-on leadership and philanthropy are inspiring and Don’s involvement with the Santa Clarita Valley Economic Development Corporation has positioned Santa Clarita as a business-friendly city,” Van Hook said. “The college has been incredibly fortunate to count on them as friends and supporters over the years.”
Since purchasing Valencia Acura in 1997, Don and Cheri Fleming have become synonymous with the local auto industry. At the time, the dealership ranked last in sales and customer satisfaction at the national level.
Since then, the dealership ranks among the top Acura dealerships in the country in terms of sales penetration in their primary market area, customer loyalty and overall customer satisfaction.
True to Valencia Acura’s motto, which replaces the “dealer” in dealership with “friend,” the Flemings have proven to be true friends of the Santa Clarita Valley.
A member of Soroptimist International of Santa Clarita Valley since 1999, Cheri served as a Soroptimist International of the Americas board member from 2010 to 2014. In 2013-2014, Cheri was presiding officer of 36,000 SIA members in 20 countries. In that capacity, she was instrumental in shaping the organization’s future and overall impact.
In the SCV, Cheri’s philanthropic efforts have been extensive. Currently a board member and Vice Chair for the Child and Family Center and Director for the American Cancer Society Unit Council, Cheri has also served as a board member and past Chairman of the Henry Mayo Newhall Health Foundation and currently serves as a Director of the Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital.
Consistently named among “Santa Clarita’s 51 Most Influential” by The Signal, Cheri, an Ohio native, has also been named the 2017 Volunteer of the Year by the San Fernando Valley Business Journal and the 2012 Woman of the Year by the Los Angeles County 5th Supervisorial District and Commission for Women.
Born and raised in Texas, Don Fleming moved to Southern California after serving in the U.S. Marine Corps. Don has been president of the Santa Clarita Valley Auto Dealers Association for 18 years, during which time he has been instrumental in making local auto dealers the largest sales tax contributors to the city.
Don has served as a Director of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Foundation, and as co-chair and founding board member of the Santa Clarita Valley Economic Development Corporation, which has helped bring and retain thousands of jobs in the community. He currently serves as Chair-emeritus.
In 2015, Don was named Volunteer of the Year by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Foundation and has consistently been listed among “Santa Clarita’s Top 51 Most Influential Individuals” by The Signal. In 2013, he was honored with the Semper Fidelis Award by the Los Angeles County Chapter 1st Marine Division Family, U.S. Marine Corps.
The festivities began at 6:30 p.m. with guests able to enjoy cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and a display of unique vintage automobiles. The evening included dinner, a live auction and a personal video tribute created for the Flemings.
Previous Silver Spur recipients include: U.S. Rep. Howard P. “Buck” McKeon (Ret.); Jack and Doreen Shine; Jill Mellady; The Newhall Family; Remo and Ami Belli, Barry and Pati Gump, Richard and Marian Sandnes, Diana Cusumano, Myrna and Gary Condie, Harold and Jacquie Petersen, Wayne Crawford, Rita Garasi, Tom Veloz, Charlotte and Frank Kleeman, Gary Cusumano, Jay and Joyce Rodgers, Tom Lee, Lou Garasi, Michael Berger, Roberta Veloz, Dick Luechtefeld, Robert Ormsby, LaVerne Harris, John Hoskinson, Tom Dierckman, Scott and Ruth Newhall, Elisha “Aggie” Agajanian, and Cliffie Stone.
This year’s event was chaired by Diana Cusumano, a previous Silver Spur recipient and Foundation board member.(c) 2019 SCVTV