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Nominees for 2011 Marina del Rey Patch 'Person of the Year'

Be sure to participate in our poll and leave comments to help us choose the 2011 Marina del Rey Patch 'Person of the Year.'

The nominees for the 2011 Patch "Person of the Year" for Del Rey, Marina del Rey and Playa del Rey have been submitted and we'd like your feedback to help us decide.

We'll use the poll below to help measure the community's thoughts, so make sure to vote and also leave comments to help us with the decision.

The poll and comments will be open until 5 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 26. We'll follow up with a profile of the 2011 Marina del Rey Patch "Person of the Year."

The nominees (in order of nomination) include:

  • Liz Greenberger, who is the founder of the non-profit group RowLA. The group teaches high school girls how to row and provides academic tutoring to help them get college scholarships. Her nominator said, "I refer to RowLA as the 'Gateway to College'."
  • Patricia McPherson, who the nominator said has "voluntered countless hour researching, educating, and lobbying for the welfare of the Ballona Wetlands and surrounding environment." 
  • , the editor of Marina del Rey Patch. The nominator said, "Mr. Paul Chavez does a very good job bringing us together and keeping us informed of the developments that affect our area."
  • Wayne Yoshimura, a Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputy on the Harbor Patrol of the sheriff's Marina del Rey station. He's a gold medal winner in judo at the Police Olympics and the nominator said that Yoshimura has "saved more lives and property in his career than any other person."
  • Dave Barish, of We ARE Marina del Rey, an organization dedicated to preserving the recreational nature of Marina del Rey. The nominator said, "He really loves this land in the Marina that we all share and he has done a lot of grassroots community service that helped our community."
  • Benjamin Arreola, the owner of Mexican restaurant Senor G's in Playa del Rey. The nominator said that Senior G's "is a family business that has a business acumen that makes every customer fee like family!" The nominator said that whenever short on cash, Senior G's "allows me and others to pay our tab at a later date" and always aims to please customers.
  • Kevin Davis, of Marina del Rey, who along with his wife produces spiritual healing music and prayers on their Web site. The nominator said, "Kevin has spent so much time with disadvantaged people over the last year, helping communities with infrastructure projects, health programs, hunger relief, restoring clean waters to native peoples of Peru."
  • Susan Aver of Marina del Rey, who is a mother of two and a first-grade teacher at Coeur d'Alene Elementary School in Venice. The nominator described her as a "hard working, caring person."
  • Marie Atake, the founder of Marina del Rey-based Forte Animal Rescue. The nominator said that Atake oversees rescued dogs and "has gone above and beyond to be an asset to the community." She started an outreach program that strives to stop owners from taking their pets to the pound by advising them of options and introducing them to trainers for behavioral problems. Forte Animal Rescue, which has saved the lives of some 900 dogs, was named in honor of Forte, Atake's Shiloh Shepherd that she rescued and cared from 1992 until its death in 1999. Atake was appointed by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to the Los Angeles Animal Services Commission and served from 2005 to 2007. She also served on the city's Spay/Neuter Advisory Committee.
  • Brigitte Burdine, a posthumous nominee who ran a casting agency in Marina del Rey. Burdine was killed in a hit-and-run accident in December 2010, but her memory and legacy of selfless acts has continued to inspire others. Her nominator said, "As Brigitte moved through the years all one has to do is speak with anyone who has had the blessing of Brigitte’s company in person, over the phone or via other types of media to understand how gracious and giving Brigitte lived her life. Brigitte opened her own company called BB Casting (www.bbcasting.com) that casted talent for various types of productions in the movie industry. Brigitte used her gift to promote and hire others over the many jobs she was clearly was cut out to perform herself. She adored seeing others shine and always … and I say always with a clear and concise truth because she always put others before herself and she loved to watch the careers of others blossom and thrive. It is what made Brigitte so different from her counterparts. Brigitte also taught many children and adults the business of acting and voice-over in her many decades of employment and formed friendships with her students that live on to this very day."

Editor's Note: Atake's entry was updated to clarify that she was the founder of Forte Animal Rescue.

melissa pope December 21, 2011 at 01:47 AM
Brigitte Burdine was and is still an amazing spirit. Her legacy still lives on and forever will. She was an amazing teacher and friend to everyone who she crossed paths with. She was an inspiration to all! Brigitte, you ARE my person of the year!!!
Kim Early December 21, 2011 at 06:02 PM
Brigitte was an amazing person,friend and sister. She always put others before herself. This year has been very difficult for my family especially my parents. She will be missed for the rest of our lives. It does help to know she was so well thought of. Thanks everyone who voted for her.
Dan Woren December 22, 2011 at 07:27 AM
Brigitte Burdine. A woman who shared her rare and selfless blend of kindness, compassion and encouragement with everyone she encountered. And that smile... You would be hard pressed to find a more deserving candidate for "Person of the Year" in Marina Del Rey....or anywhere else. Her light will always shine!
Clark Burdine December 22, 2011 at 06:47 PM
Briggitte Burdine was one of the most genuinely good people I have ever known. I do not recal her ever saying an unkind thing about anyone, even if a person had wronged her in some manner, she was quick to forgive and forget any offense and to embrase anyone. She was always a peacemaker. To meet her was to have an instant and life-long friend. Her warm smile in greeting friend or stranger was exceeded only buy the warmer hug that generally accompanied it. She was a selfless soul; always placeing the needs of others above her own. She was kind and giving of her time to the elderly, to animals, to children and to anyone in need. She was an asset to the community and to her chosen industry that she loved and help to expand. Her work with children was extraordinary and showed her love and patience for others. Even a year after her untimely death she has had a great impact on the area by inspiring efforts to increase safety measures for pedestrians along highways. Such an accolade as this is not something she would have sought in life; always wanting to see others honored instead, but would be a fitting honor for someone who had such an impact for good in a world so often lacking such qualities as those she exemplified in life.
Joni Kimbrell December 24, 2011 at 07:19 PM
Marie Atake founded Forte Animal Rescue, a 100% volunteer dependent organization, and has dedicated herself to finding loving homes for homeless dogs. She does not turn away from special needs dogs and works every day to save as may lives as possible. She puts the welfare of the dogs before herself and participates whenever possible bring awareness to huge problem of pet overpopulation. She enriched the lives of many people who have adopted dogs she has been able to save. Many of these dogs would never have had the opportunity for life in a loving home without Marie Atake and Forte Animal Rescue.

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