Rotarians Bill Chaffin, Mike Fuqua and Jim Hyldahl become newest members of the Rancho Bernardo Hall of Fame.
Bill Chaffin, Mike Fuqua and Jim Hyldahl were honored for their leadership and contributions with membership in the Rancho Bernardo Hall of Fame on Saturday evening.  More than 80 community members gathered for the celebration at Silvergate Rancho Bernardo to welcome the three men into the elite organization.  They are the 122nd, 123rd and 124th inductees since the organization formed in 1974. The RB Hall of Fame recognizes those who have contributed significant volunteer leadership in the community.

Chaffin was to be honored in March 2020, but the ceremony was postponed due to COVID shutdowns. He has since moved from Poway to Las Vegas. His business partner, Alex Monroe, accepted Chaffin’s award on his behalf.

The organization did not select honorees in 2021.

The Class of 2022 members are Fuqua, who lives in The Lakes neighborhood west of Rancho Bernardo, and Hyldahl, a Poway resident. Both were nominated by 2019 inductee Don Glover.  Glover spoke first of Fuqua’s contributions following 25 years as a Naval aviator and subsequent career in the defense industry.  They met nine years ago, and Glover invited Fuqua to a Rotary Club of Rancho Bernardo meeting. That led to Fuqua being the club’s 2017-18 president, an RB Rotary Foundation chair and an assistant district governor for Rotary District 5340.  His community contributions include creating the Vines & Vittles festival, a fundraiser benefiting Rotary projects and the RB Historical Society. Its inaugural festival in 2019 raised $90,000.  Fuqua also made sure that through Rotary tens of thousands of dollars in funding and assistance was provided during the pandemic to community members, including caregivers and students, Glover said.  His other volunteer activities included assisting with RB’s Spirit of the Fourth festivities.  “Mike shows one can be a leader and also a worker bee and this is why he deserves to be in the RB Hall of Fame,” Glover said.

“I am very surprised to be standing here today, as surprised as I was several months ago ... (when told) I was selected,” Fuqua said during his acceptance speech. “I was literally speechless. To think of the leaders who have been given this, it is just beyond belief that I was selected for this. ... I am honored to be part of that group.”

Fuqua said soon after attending his first meeting he knew Rotary would be his home.  “I discovered that I get more than what I am giving, and the Rotarians have become family,” he said, noting how Rotary’s motto is “Service above Self.”  “We take the idea of service seriously and I’d say we’ve done pretty well. We like to think of ourselves as people of action ... we know we are making a difference.”  Saying none of the successes in his careers or life would have been possible without the support of Patty, his wife of nearly 51 years, Fuqua dedicated his RB Hall of Fame award to her.

Glover also spoke of Hyldahl’s many contributions to RB following 17 years in the health industry and another 41 in the investments field.
Hyldahl joined the Rotary Club of Rancho Bernardo in 1997 and was president in 2005-06. He is its foundation past-president and has led the club’s community service efforts for the past four years.  His leadership in community service has made tangible improvements in RB residents’ lives, Glover said.  Hyldahl spearheaded free neighborhood cleanups — three were held in Seven Oaks, two in Oaks North and this spring the project expanded to Westwood.  “Each (clean-up) helped 200-plus families each time,” Glover said.  It was Hyldahl’s leadership that got Rotarians over the past two years to replace more than 90 Neighborhood Watch signs in Seven Oaks and Mirador, Glover said. Glover also mentioned Hyldahl’s volunteer work on the Poway Symphony Orchestra and Guide Dogs of America nonprofit boards, his early support for the Pathway of Pride and volunteerism with Spirit of the Fourth.
When speaking to the crowd, Hyldahl said the Rotarians have become his extended family and he enjoys what he does.  “I love community service, I really do,” he said. “I am pleased and privileged to be here tonight with good people and givers to others.”  Hyldahl said his volunteerism did not begin until age 57 when he joined Rotary. In retrospect, Hyldahl said he wished he had realized the value of community service when he was younger.  Addressing his two grandchildren, who are now 20 and 30, in the audience, he said he wants them to learn this lesson at a younger age.  “Giving is better than receiving, you have 10 times the joy,” Hyldahl said. “Your median age is 25. I waited 32 years beyond that to engage in service to others, after I was financially secure, and my children grown.  “I missed the opportunity for fuller life experiences that beginning at your ages I would have met,” he said. “Begin now so you can experience giving to others in need. Find a service venue ... whatever course you choose your grandparents will be there to support you.”

As for Chaffin, nominator and 2009 inductee Marty Judge praised him for his fundraising leadership that benefitted the community in many ways.  Judge said he first met Chaffin in 2000 through the Rotary Club of Rancho Bernardo. Soon after, Chaffin introduced him to the Blue-Sky Ecological Reserve in Poway, for which he was raising more than $200,000 to construct an amphitheater, paved areas and build walking trails.  “He transformed it from an eyesore to a garden spot,” Judge said.   In 2004, Chaffin came up with another fundraising idea, this time to benefit the Rancho Bernardo Community Foundation that would use the funds to provide many RB organizations and projects with community grants and grow RB’s endowment.  He promoted a program that raised more than $100,000 for the RB foundation’s efforts when hundreds of community members went on cruises over the years, Judge said.  “Bill Chaffin is a master fundraiser,” Judge said.  He also recalled how in 2009 Chaffin led the Palomar Health Foundation’s fundraising efforts for hospital construction and other needs. Judge said Chaffin’s predecessor as board chair raised $2.1 million for the campaign. During his year leading the board Chaffin’s efforts led to $4.75 million collected.  For seven years he also led the Rancho Bernardo Sunrise Rotary Club’s Rancho BEERnardo Festival. In its most recent year, it attracted a crowd of 1,000 and raised $120,000, Judge said.  
The Rancho Bernardo Hall of Fame members who attended their organization’s celebration on July 16.

RB HOF President Debbie Kurth (2019 inductee) with 2022 inductee Mike Fuqua and his nominator, Don Glover (2019 inductee).

RB HOF President Debbie Kurth (2019 inductee) with 2022 inductee Jim Hyldahl and his nominator, Don Glover (2019 inductee).
Bill Chaffin
This article and photos are s from the NewsRancho Bernardo written by Elizabeth Marie Himchak and submitted for inclusion in Newsbits.