Santee Kiwanis Club honors local law enforcement officials for excellence
The Kiwanis Club of Santee has a long record of acknowledging East County law enforcement officers who have demonstrated excellence in protecting and serving local citizens. On May 14, the club conducted its 19th annual Law Enforcement Awards Ceremony honoring officers who have served with particular distinction over the prior year.
The event was hosted by Lantern Crest Senior Living, which catered dinner in Lantern Hall for the gathering. Club President Joe Gersztyn called the afternoon meeting to order, and then turned the podium over to club member David A. Poindexter to begin awards presentations.
Captain James Bovet, the Santee Sheriffs’ Station Commander, presented the first award of the day to Sheriff’s Community Service Officer Daniel Bumbar. Bovet observed that he had worked in substations all over San Diego County. “Dan is the finest service officer I know,” Bovet continued. He noted that Bumbar is known in the community for helping at the highest level of concern and service. This award was first presented to a Santee Sheriffs’ community service officer in 2010.
Next called to the podium were family members of Bob Taylor, who had traveled from Murrieta to receive several honors in his memory. Taylor was a 41-year member of the club, a longtime Sheriffs’ Senior Volunteer with the Santee Sheriffs’ Department, who assisted Poindexter with the 1998 inception of the club’s law enforcement program, which began with honoring a California Highway Patrol Senior Volunteer as recipient of the Uncle Andy McReynolds Memorial plaque. For 19 years, Poindexter has served the Santee Kiwanis Club as Chairman of the Law Enforcement Awards Program. Poindexter is himself a former Senior Volunteer and the nephew of Andy McReynolds.
Taylor died last year, and the club decided this year to add his name to the award bestowed to a Santee Sheriffs’ Senior Volunteer, now known as the Max McKinley and Bob Taylor Memorial plaque. Taylor became closely involved with the Sheriffs’ Volunteers starting in 1994. He resigned shortly before he passed away. He helped with standing up the Sheriffs’ Volunteer Academy, where he was an instructor in radio communications. In 1997, he started the homicide response program to support detectives at homicide crime locations. Taylor was further active in protecting young area residents, with children’s fingerprinting at Santee events and organizing kids’ bike rodeos to teach safe bicycling skills. He volunteered with the Fire Department as well.
Taylor’s family received special acknowledgements from Santee’s City Council, Chamber of Commerce, and elected officials Assemblyman Brian Jones and Congressman Duncan D. Hunter.
In 2000, the Santee Kiwanis made first presentation of the Max McKinley’s Memorial plaque honoring a Santee Sheriff’s Senior Volunteer. McKinley had been an active member of this Kiwanis Club and active in service to the United Methodist Church. He and his wife were foster parents for 19 children. He became known fondly for his fairness, kindness and compassion toward those he dealt with, even when issuing tickets and citations. Those who have followed in his footsteps say that he “helped set the standards for Senior Volunteers” in performing their public contact duties.
Captain Bovet presented the award renamed in Taylor’s recognition, now the Max McKinley and Bob Taylor Memorial Volunteer of the Year Award to Sheriffs’ Senior Volunteer Roberta Phares.
The influence of Poindexter’s Uncle Andy McReynolds (1919-1996) was central in encouraging the Santee Kiwanis Club to recognize those who defend the laws and protect local communities. McReynolds was a Kumeyaay Indian, the first motorcycle officer with the El Cajon Police Department in the 1940’s. The department at that time had four officers. McReynolds later volunteered for the CHP, with a special focus on helping the Kumeyaay Indian reservation. He was very active with the Kiwanis Club of Santee, and he spent most of the last decade of his life in Santee. The law enforcement awards program was started in 1998, with McReynolds in mind as inspiration for the Uncle Andy McReynolds Memorial plaque. Recipient of this award for 2016 was Gail Edwards, CHP Senior Volunteer in the El Cajon office.
In 2001, the Santee Kiwanis added honoring a Santee Station Sheriff’s Deputy for distinction. Honoree for this year’s memorial plaque award was Sheriffs’ Deputy Troy Udvarhelyi. Next, in 2006, the club extended recognition for excellence awarded to an El Cajon CHP officer. Recognized with this distinction for 2016 was CHP Officer Wellington Bargar. CHP officers presenting awards at the ceremony were Sgt. Robert Gessner and Officer April Carter. Poindexter went to the El Cajon CHP and presented the award to Bargar.
The Kiwanis Club of Santee has been meeting for well over four decades. Kiwanis itself is an international organization that celebrated its centennial last year. The group consists of business professionals united for networking and service in their local communities, in a spirit of fun and camaraderie. The Santee Kiwanis Club moved its meetings to Lantern Crest Senior Living early in May. The club meets there for breakfast at 8:15 a.m. on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month. More information on the Santee club can be found on its website at santeekiwanis.org.