Stan Oftelie, head of the Orange County Business Council, considered himself in good company Saturday when Cypress College named him Americana Man of the Year.
After all, past winners include Ray Bolger, Gene Autry and Mickey Mouse--who shared the award in 1979 with Marion Knott of the berry-farm fame.
But Oftelie, 51, of Anaheim, is the first Cypress College graduate to receive the award in its 25-year history.
"I'm pleased to be the first person to get the award who has actually gone to Cypress College," said Oftelie, who attended when the school opened in September of 1966.
After earning his associate of arts degree, Oftelie received a bachelor's of science degree from Arizona State University and two master's degrees from USC.
He worked as a newspaper reporter, county supervisor's aide, head of the Orange County Transportation Commission and later, the Orange County Transportation Authority. At the business council, he's forged a closer working relationship between community colleges and the business community.
A soccer coach and resident of the county for 45 years, Oftelie has served on the board of directors of United Way of Orange County, the Rehabilitation Institute of Orange County and the Easter Seals Society.
The award for community service began in 1976 as a way to celebrate the U.S. Bicentennial. After passage of Proposition 13 in 1985, the event became a major fund-raiser for unmet collegeneeds and scholarships.
To be considered for this column, please send information on the Orange County person being honored along with a photograph to Lynn O'Dell, The Times' Orange County edition, 1375 Sunflower Ave., Costa Mesa, CA 92626. (714) 283-5685.