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Put Another Crawford on the Barbee

Posted: January 28, 2008 9:46 p.m.
Updated: March 31, 2008 2:01 a.m.

• Elks put the roast on Wayne Crawford to benefit the Samuel Dixon Family Health Centers.

Of course it was raining outside Saturday night, but it was also raining insults inside the Elks Lodge in Canyon Country. The order was not so benevolent or protective on this evening as it hosted the roast of the SCV's own "Concrete Cowboy," Wayne Crawford. This was the 10th annual Elks Charity Roast to benefit the Samuel Dixon Family Health Centers, and, for that good cause, Crawford bravely and good-naturedly held his place in the "seat of honor" as friends and family alternately jabbed him with jibes and peppered him with praise.

Crawford was tapped for the roasting honors by his good friend Mayor Bob Kellar, and 2008 Charity Roast Committee Chairman Mike Fisher, and with such friends, who needs enemies. Nothing about Crawford's life was too sacred or too personal to drag out and thump, and if anything was missing, it was made up. But then, when someone agrees to be "roasted," they know what they are in for, and it was rumored Crawford came prepared with a flak jacket and a tommygun.
Crawford and his wife Dianne have been residents of the SCV since 1969, and he is the head of Santa Clarita Concrete, which is a public works concrete contractor. He is also a co-owner of Valencia Acura, along with Don and Cheri Fleming. He is well known for his generous charitable contributions and his involvement with several local non-profits, including the Boys and Girls Club and Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital's Health Foundation. He has served on the board of Carousel Ranch since 2002, and was named Community Service Newsmaker of the Year for 2006 by the SCV Press Club. This year he has been named the recipient of the Silver Spur community service award by the College of the Canyons Foundation Board of Directors.
Cheryl Laymon, executive director of the Samuel Dixon Family Health Centers, expressed her great thanks for Crawford accepting the abuse on their behalf, and was also very grateful for the Elks hosting the event and naming the SDFHC the beneficiary again this year. "We are really appreciative of being chosen," she said. She noted that putting on the event was a lot of work. But, "They (the Elks) just start and everything gets done. They don't wait, things are taken care of," she said.
Ed Bolden, a member of the Elks Roast Committee and president of the Board of Directors of the SDFHC, also expressed his gratitude to the Elks Lodge. "It's a delightful event. We're very grateful for their selecting Samuel Dixon," he said. "They give all the funds from this function to Samuel Dixon to provide medical care for those who can't afford it. It's a blessing," he said.
As was noted by several speakers during the evening, the SDFHC isn't the only beneficiary of the Elks generosity. Nationally, the Elks give more scholarships than any other organization except the U.S. government. They give millions of dollars to handicapped children in California. They support the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, drug awareness programs and other local organizations through scholarships and monetary donations for needed materials and equipment.
"That's why we're here, to support the community," Mike Fisher said. Fisher has been the Charity Roast Committee chairman for eight years and is a trustee at the lodge. He said the process of hosting the roast takes about six months, and he lauded Laymon for doing "about three-quarters" of the work.
Gail Dewhurst, the lodge's exalted ruler, was very gratified by the evening's turnout. "It's awesome how the community gets together to benefit the Samuel Dixon Family Health Centers," she said. She was glad that the Elks could do their part and made a point to note that the evening came together through "teamwork."

Good Food, Good Fun
With mingling and cocktails well underway, the evening's guests were urged to their tables at 7 p.m. After an invocation by Chaplain Tom Schmidt, and a Pledge of Allegiance led by past exalted ruler Jay Larkins, and a thank you by Ed Bolden, the folks were treated to a delicious dinner of tri-tip or chicken, cooked by the lodge's barbecue committee - who bravely persevered during their afternoon of cooking, despite the rain. The dinner included potatoes au gratin, vegetables and, for those who desired, a zesty bowl of chili beans. The "seasonal salad" was an artful creation by Chef Taylor Lloyd, with glazed walnuts, blueberries, gorgonzola cheese and a champagne vinaigrette dressing. His creme-brulee-in-a-chocolate-cup dessert was a smash hit. The meal was served by the HITE and Honors students from College of the Canyons.
With dinner under the belt, it was time for the festivities. The live auction was brief, but with emcee Kellar's guidance (assisted by Ed Masterson), fruitful. Among the items sold was a stay at La Costa resort, which gathered $1,000. The Elks barbecue for 30 people sold twice for $2,200. A lake Nacimiento get-away also sold twice, for $3,000. A train trip to Copper Canyon in Mexico went for $4,200.
With the auction wrapped up, the roasting began. Kellar called Crawford to his chair on stage. The barbs started with comments on how long it took him to get there - and didn't cease for over an hour. Printable jabs were few and far between, but here are a few highlights.
First up was Ken Pulskamp, city manager. In general, he tore Crawford up, and got some big laughs doing it.
Ed Masterson followed with a "live" man on the street report projected on a large screen. The laughs began as everyone noticed that it wasn't raining during the segment, when it was currently pouring outside. Masterson queried several "random" passers-by on what Wayne Crawford meant to them, with their glowing comments always followed by the realization that they were talking about some other Wayne or other Crawford and them asking "Who is Wayne Crawford?"
When Don Fleming took the podium, those in the know cringed in anticipation of what the several nuns present would hear. Let's just say they weren't disappointed. A couple printables: "Few people stand as tall as Wayne Crawford, and few stoop so low." "He thought by spending so much money on highways, he'd be nominated for a 'Roads' Scholarship." "He refuses to go to AA because it's for quitters."
Last up was Eric Stroh, Crawford's son-in-law. He offered a narrated slide show of Crawford's foibles, which included words he often uses, such as "oing" for orange, "Mundee" for Monday and "ninee" for ninety. Some of Crawford's favorite sayings were exposed, too - "Everyone needs a forklift," and "I wouldn't stay there, they have lousy water pressure." In fact, he revealed water pressure is a big issue with Crawford.
Some video clips Stroh offered included highlights from Christmases a few years ago. In one, Crawford is given a chef's hat (he's noted for his cooking). The next year he is given a chef's shirt to go with it - but can't find his hat. When Stroh was done, he presented the hat to Crawford, who was good-spirited enough to wear it for the remainder of his time on stage.
Of course, in between the scheduled speakers, Kellar took his shots at Crawford, as well.
Finally, Crawford had his turn. He paired with his son, Kyle Crawford, and in a one-two beat, highlighted by alternating spotlights, they lambasted the roasters. Again, all the news that's fit to print includes a shot at Puslkamp for the aborted back-in parking in Newhall.
After Crawford thanked everyone for coming out, Kellar and Masterson called for special donations for the SDFHC, for the No Child Turned Away campaign. Cash donations of $1,000, $500, $250 and $100 were volunteered from the audience and the total here came to $5,300.
With the official program done, more mingling and partying began. When the well-wishers parted enough Crawford offered his thoughts on the evening. "It's kind of an honor to be roasted. I thought it went to a new level this year. It was a pretty classy event," he said.
Classy, fun and profitable - at this writing the total raised by the Crawford roast for the SDFHC stands at $65,000 and more may be coming. "Mike Fisher said he still has a couple checks in his pocket," Laymon said on Monday.


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