Woolsey recovery heroes
Malibu Foundation block captains Kris Jennings, Melissa Bermeo and Sash Rondell, together with Seminole Springs recovery leader Cynthia Novak, are being honored with Dolphin Awards for their work going “above the call of duty to help the community” in the 16 months following the devastation of the Woolsey Fire. The four women were nominated by the Malibu Foundation in recognition of their exceptional commitment to the Malibu community.
Geraldine “Gerry” Gilliland
Geraldine “Gerry” Gilliland, a schoolteacher who immigrated to the United States from Northern Ireland during the “troubles” decades ago, receives a Dolphin Award for her humanitarian efforts including founding animal rescue nonprofit Chiquita’s Friends and donating to many charities. From experiencing homelessness to operating two successful restaurants, Gilliland’s success story has only been outmatched by her generosity.
Lenny Goldsmith, a household name in Malibu after his decades creating music, has performed at innumerable charitable functions, fundraiser concerts and nonprofit galas. He earns a 2019 Dolphin Award in recognition of the many hours of music he and his group, “The New Old,” have provided, bringing the “heart and soul of Malibu” (according to his nominator) to every performance.
Youth Dolphins—Andrew Springer and Angel Diaz
Malibu High School juniors Andrew Springer and Angel Diaz receive this year’s Youth Dolphin Awards. Springer, a longtime member of the Boys and Girls Club of Malibu, has donated “countless” hours volunteering, in addition to his work advocating for victims of cyberbullying. Diaz, who restarted a chapter of Best Buddies at MHS, also uses his spare time to referee soccer games here in Malibu, despite living far outside the city in Hawthorne.
Dedicated and passionate school volunteer Soniya Perl—who has held leadership positions including as PTA president at Webster Elementary and president of the PTSA at Malibu Middle School—is awarded a Dolphin for her efforts to improve education for Malibu school kids. Perl helped push for PCB cleanup, advocating for the health and safety for Malibu’s children over the five-year conflict with the Santa Monica school district.
Harvey Baskin Business Award—Robert Moreno
Point Dume Post Office clerk Rober Moreno is a friendly face generations of Malibu residents have grown to love during his 30-year career working in post offices around the city. In addition to his public service with the U.S. Postal Service, Moreno spent time working for the Orange County Fire Department air reserve beginning in the ‘90s, and even helped fight the Malibu fires in 2007. It is for this service and his dedication to Malibu—driving sometimes three hours in each direction to work every day from his home in Orange County—that Moreno earns a 2019 Dolphin Award.
Malibu Film Society
Malibu Film Society, led by president Scott Hillman, receives a 2019 Dolphin Award for its ongoing efforts creating a vibrant community centered around cinema and film here in Malibu. The society hosts countless screenings, meet-and-greets, Q&As with industry notables and other events, bringing thousands of residents the joy of movies in a town with no real movie theaters.
The Town & Gown Dolphin Award, each year bestowed on a member of the Pepperdine community, this year is presented to Jeff Baker, a passionate and active member of the Malibu community. Baker, the associate clinical professor of law and assistant dean of clinical education and global programs at the Pepperdine Caruso School of Law, “used his position and resources … to mobilize volunteer lawyers in the immediate aftermath of the fires,” according to his nominator. “His efforts have been tireless.”
Editor’s note: A previous version of this story stated Dolphin winner Angel Diaz resided in the city of Lynwood. The story has been updated to correctly state Diaz lives in Hawthorne.