Posted by Bill Bruns at 12/8/2016
By Bill Bruns
Palisades News Adviser
Daphne Gronich, the indefagitable president of the Palisades Americanism Parade Association (PAPA) for three years running, has been named Citizen of the Year by the Pacific Palisades Community Council.
The Council’s Awards Selection Committee reviewed nominations received from throughout the community and voted to present Golden Sparkplug awards to five deserving activists: Sylvia Boyd, Patrick Hart, Amy Lundberg, Karen Stigler and Veslemoey Zwart.
In addition, the committee elected to give the discretionary Pride of the Palisades Award to Bob Benton, a prominent local businessman and volunteer commissioner of the Pacific Palisades Baseball Association.
“We had an unusually impressive list of nominated residents this year,” said committee chair George Wolfberg, the PPCC vice chair and a former Citizen of the Year himself.
The awards will be handed out at the PPCC’s annual holiday party on Dec. 8 at Gladstone’s on PCH.
First awarded in 1947, the Citizen of the Year Award honors a Palisades resident “who has enriched the fabric of Pacific Palisades through long term and continuing outstanding volunteer service as well as a recent extraordinary accomplishment which has resulted in a substantial benefit to the community at large.”
“Daphne Gronich is a worthy descendent of past winners,” said Wolfberg, on behalf of the seven-person selection committee. As president of PAPA since 2014, she has faced the daunting challenge of raising about $125,000 a year in order for PAPA to stage the town’s iconic Fourth of July parade and the evening concert and fireworks display. Gronich must also coordinate the work of about 20 volunteers on her organizing committee, from securing the necessary permits and insurance to staging the pre-parade VIP lunch and recruiting parade entries.
Yet ultimately, she derives deep satisfaction from the time she invests in PAPA. As she told the News in June, “The Fourth of July is part of what makes our community such a great place to live.”
Gronich, an attorney, was active at Palisades Elementary and now serves on the PRIDE board at Paul Revere and the school’s Charter Council. She is also leads the Palisades Charter Schools Foundation.
The Pride of the Palisades Award was created in 2014 to recognize an individual “who has provided extraordinary service to the Palisades community.”