Dolphin Awards give recognition, inspire

What does the “Dolphin Award” mean to Malibuites? It is the unique recognition of those individuals in our community who have demonstrated fresh ideas, taken action and become involved citizens. It is the pride and happiness of belonging to the “team” of outstanding citizens who care for others, donate time to those in need and who take the steps to improve our community.

The symbol of the “Dolphin” in itself is inspiring. A creature that is ever moving, working and protecting its family to build a stronger community for lasting survival. Our community of “Dolphins” does the same. They continue to develop new ideas, remain involved in the community and spread kindness and generosity to many others.

If we are able to touch the hearts of our friends and neighbors, we could inspire their spirits to create positive energy with fresh power, which will go to farther horizons of our infinite universe.

Many of us remember the countless years of volunteer work our friend the late Ben Kennedy contributed to our community. Ben received the “Dolphin Award” in 1995 for his tireless community service. Tragically, Ben lost his home in the 2007 Corral fire, along with it went many years of collectable memories including his prize possession … the Dolphin Award.

Thank you to Nidra Maus (Malibu Senior Center) who recognized Ben’s loss and arranged for the Dolphin Award to be replaced at the 2007 Dolphin Award ceremony. When Ben received the invitation he was as happy as a child. He kept the newspaper with this information at his bedside in the hospital. He would show it to the doctors and nurses, and planned a fast recovery. But the huge stress of losing his home from the fire was too strong and Ben could not recover enough to attend the ceremony.

Later, I received the Dolphin statuette after Ben passed away and unfortunately the pin was not available at that moment.


It was upsetting because Ben was so proud of this Dolphin pin. He use to move the pin from jacket to jacket depending on what he was wearing out for the evening. Ben never left home without it on his jacket lapel. It was my desire to see Ben wearing his Dolphin pin on his last and long journey home. I shared my concern with Matt Haines and Mona Loo, both of whom were willing to give their pins to Ben. Matt lived next door to Ben and I received his pin, but thank you Mona for your wonderful, giving heart. I am sure that Ben’s spirit was dancing and singing because he left this world wearing a sparkling new Dolphin pin on his favorite jacket!

This year Matt Haines will receive a new Dolphin pin at the annual Dolphin Award ceremony. The symbol of this annual Malibu Times Citizens of the Year Dolphin Award makes all of us proud. Every day I look at Ben’s statuette and I see his famous Irish smile and remember what a great man and friend he was to the Malibu community.

Thank you, Arnold and Karen York for your inspiration and recognition of those who have improved our souls and helped to build a better community life, here in Malibu.

Irina Svistelina

The Malibu Times is the first newspaper in Malibu, serving the community since 1946.

Related Articles


Latest Articles

%d bloggers like this: