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Making Happier Places on Earth : The Volunteer Center honors Disneyland president Jack Lindquist for community service, part of its effort to raise awareness and get more people involved.

June 02, 1993|KATHRYN BOLD

The Volunteer Center of Greater Orange County staged a lavish tribute to Jack Lindquist last week that left the president of Disneyland feeling "like Cinderella," he said.

The center's Giving is Living Award, presented annually to an outstanding community volunteer, was presented to Lindquist before a crowd of 240 guests at--where else?--the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim. The $200-per-person gala raised about $45,000 for the volunteer center in Santa Ana.

Talking Turkey

"Most black-tie events are stuffy," said Carla Colburn, the dinner's events coordinator. "This one is not going to be dull."

One of the first clues that this was a black-tie affair like no other came at dinner. Because Lindquist likes turkey, waiters wheeled in trays of whole roasted turkeys to the tune of "Be Our Guest" from "Beauty and the Beast." One guest from each table was nominated to do the carving, then each table was served a complete turkey dinner with all of the trimmings.

In honor of Lindquist, Disney characters such as Goofy, Beauty, the Beast and Mickey Mouse sang and danced on a stage that featured a sparkling storybook castle.

Don Andersen, dinner committee member and executive director of the Orange County Sports Assn., then delivered a roast of his own. Knowing Lindquist is a great sports fan, he made fun of his various athletic mishaps.

"Here's Jack Lindquist, the great athlete. He dreamed of being a great football star at USC but broke both his ankles on the first day of practice," he said.

Lindquist's golf game wasn't spared either.

"He made a hole in one but never saw it. He topped the ball and had turned away in disgust before the ball went in the hole," Andersen said. Lindquist was so excited after his hole in one that on the next hole he hit himself in the foot with his putter.

Summed up Andersen: "Jack Lindquist is the sports Goofy of his time."

Help Wanted

Throughout the night Lindquist was lauded for his many volunteer contributions. He's chairman of the Orange County Volunteer Connection Leadership Council, a center project designed to increase local volunteerism. He was portrayed as a hands-on volunteer.

"When they're out there painting houses or planting trees, Jack's out there with them," said Bill Furniss, event chairman. "He finds time to volunteer all over Orange County."

Lindquist said he was surprised and honored by the award.

"They do all the work and I take all the credit," he joked.

At present, only 29% of Orange County residents are volunteers; the national average is 54%.

"We're trying to double the number of volunteers in Orange County to address serious social problems," said Carol Stone, president and chief executive officer of the center.

Stone said people here are slow to volunteer because they're often unaware of the needs.

"They don't see the problems and issues. They're in their suburban homes; they jump on the freeway to go to work, and they go back home. It's hard to get connected."

To encourage volunteers, the center has instituted a 24-hour Volunteer Connection Infoline that matches callers with charities ((714) 647-2600). The center is also trying to promote the need for volunteers through events such as the awards dinner.

"We want to give visibility to those who volunteer so others who read about it can say, 'I can do that,' " Stone said.

Faces in the crowd included Ed Arnold, master of ceremonies; Dennis Brown, volunteer center board chairman; Robert Goodwin of the Points of Light Foundation; Carl Karcher, 1992 award recipient; Stephen Clark, Ron Dominguez, Werner Escher, Allan Hughes, Andrea Manes, Mary Anne Mang, Ron Merriman, Heidi Miller, Stan Pawlowski, Bill Snyder, Jim Stovall and Orange County Supervisor Gaddi Vasquez.

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