PARTY LINES : SIMPLY FERNANDO.
On the party circuit, you meet plenty of people who have given their time and money to worthy causes, but rarely are they as shy as Walter W. Mosher Jr., the recipient of the 40th annual Fernando Award.
As he accepted his golden statuette of an Indian brave, the West Hills resident said, ``I'm humbled by this ... I'm happy you came - not just for me - but for community service.'' And that was it. No big speech, jokes or even a sales pitch for Precision Dynamics Corp., the San Fernando-based company he founded that makes most of the plastic ID bracelets used in hospitals around the world.
But others had plenty to say at the toast-and-roast soiree held in his honor in the Roof Garden of the Sheraton Universal hotel in Universal City.
According to Fernando president Irwin Rosenberg, ``Walt is a total pushover. He's the type of person who always reaches inside his pocket to help the community, and we've all benefited from it.''
California state Sen. Cathie Wright said, ``He empowers his employees and exemplifies the Fernando Award.''
David Fleming, the 1994 Fernando winner, said our newest honoree was a ``pit bull for ensuring justice.''
What? No jokes at this roast?
Except for a little ribbing about Mosher's older car, nobody had any juicy gossip to share. Later in the evening, society maven Marilyn Hankins explained, ``Walt is a dear man who has never been full of himself. There's no dirt to dish.''
The fact that he's donated time, talent and cash to about 50 organizations, from the San Fernando Mission Preservation Committee to Valley Industry and Commerce Association (VICA), adds to his reputation. And with so many worthy organizations in the state, Mosher was asked how he chooses the lucky few.
He says, ``I pick one that doesn't have a high overhead, so I know the money will get to the people who need it. And my favorite is Tierra del Sol, the Sunland center that trains young adults with genetic problems to become productive members of society.''
He says he knows it's effective because three of Tierra del Sol's graduates work for him.
For those not familiar with the Fernando Award, it's given by a nonprofit foundation that recognizes individuals for volunteerism and civic participation, inspired by traditions of community service dating back to the Valley's earliest settlers. Each year, the foundation accepts nominations, and the winner is chosen by 100 civic leaders.
Each winner's name is inscribed on the pedestal of the huge bronze statue erected in 1963 in Van Nuys and also on a newer granite statue located near the Marriott hotel in Woodland Hills.
But there were other trophies to be handed out around town, and the Giving New Hope Award went to Harlyne J. Norris. The chairman of the Kenneth T. and Eileen L. Norris Foundation, who provides leadership to the Norris Cancer Center at USC, the Library Foundation and the Norris Theater for the Performing Arts, was honored by the Children's Burn Foundation of Sherman Oaks. The black-tie gala was held at the Beverly Hilton hotel in Beverly Hills.
According to foundation director Jeanne Barry, ``Harlyne believes our children are our future, so she does her best to give them everything, from art classes to hospital care.''
Norris has a long history of volunteerism, says Barry, that includes work with Boys and Girls Clubs, Five Acres in Pasadena, Para Los Ninos and the Foundation for the Junior Blind. And when she received her trophy, Norris told the audience that she focuses on youth because, in the end, they are the sum total of all of us.
More than 650 guests attended the party planned by Jan Billings, Nina Merrill Gomez and Carol Mancino. The fete included grilled chicken and warm apple tarts in caramel sauce and a performance of Mozart and Vivaldi music by the Young Musicians Foundation String Orchestra. The bottom line for the evening was $275,000 for young burn victims and hospitals, such as the Sherman Oaks Hospital and Grossman Burn Center.
Photo: (1) Past Fernando Award winner Salvatore Buccieri, left, schmoozes with Los Angeles City Councilman Hal Bernson and wife Robyn at the Fernando Awards dinner at the Sheraton Universal hotel.
(2) Walter W. Mosher Jr. of West Hills shows off his Fernando Award for civic service.
Charlotte Schmid-Maybach/Special to the Daily News
(3) Sharing a moment at the Giving New Hope gala for the Children's Burn Foundation are Bud and Kris Postil of Westlake Village, left, and Peggy Lennon Felt (of the Lennon Sisters) and Bob Felt of Northridge.
(4) Doing the party scene at the Children's Burn Foundation benefit at the Beverly Hilton Hotel are Doug, and Carol Mancino, left, honoree Harlyne Norris and Dr. Richard Grossman of the Sherman Oaks Hospital and Grossman Burn Center. The event raised $275,000 to help young burn victims.
Michael Owen Baker/Daily News
(5) Ernie and Bernie Barnes, left, chat with actress Susan Clark Karras, center, and Beth and James Cleary at the 13th annual La Festa Del Novento, which raised $125,000 for Hillsides Home for Children in Pasadena.