The chamber also bestowed a Lifetime Achievement award on Lawrence and the Person of the Year award, which has officially been named for him and presented annually during the chamber's Spirit of Laguna award ceremonies.
A new award was added at the tribute to the collection: a plaque from the post created by Junior Vice Cmdr. Duncan Nickle and presented to Lawrence by VFW post Cmdr. Bill Sandlin.
Silverman also thanked those who attended the tribute, which helped raise funds for the post's programs.
Programs include assisting veterans and their families in applying for and securing medical care, benefits and other services and by participating in local patriotic events such as the Memorial Day ceremonies at Heisler Park and the Patriots Day Parade.
"Your VFW post has been serving veterans, and their families, and the Laguna Beach community for over 65 years," Silverman said. "We are proud to honor tonight outstanding Americans now serving their country. Please welcome these fine Americans who represent all veterans past and present who have served our great nation."
Silverman hopes to make the tribute to veterans an annual event, held on Veterans Day in November.
"I met some terrific people — really great people — doing this," Silverman said. "Rose Hancock [chamber executive director and one of Lawrence's greatest fans] gave me terrific advice. Stefany Skenderian made all the arrangements and oversaw the preparations at the Woman's Club, assisted by Gayle Waite, who even stayed to help clean up."
The tribute was held at the Laguna Beach Woman's Club because of the parking constraints at the Veterans Memorial Building on Legion Street, Silverman said.
"Neighborhood Congregational Church (across the street from the club on St. Ann's Drive) let us use their parking lot," Silverman said. "This really was a communitywide effort."
Ed "Hot Keys" Merrilees entertained on piano, and Jonathan Skelton on saxophone.
Speakers included post Auxiliary President Jackie Heddlesten, who also helped serve dinner along with other members of the auxiliary. Post Quartermaster Kim Skelton (Jonathan's mother and a former U.S. Marine) led the Pledge of Allegiance. American Legion Post 222 Commander Frank Daniel offered a prayer.
Dinner was prepared by Zahide Lawrence, with the help of Hulya and Narriman Ince.
On the Turkish menu: kadin budu kofte and icli kofte (meatballs), plaki (a brown bean dish), zeytinyagli yesil fasulye (green beans in olive oil, served room temperature), pilav (rice), borek (bread layered with cheese) and salata (salad).
The desserts were baklava and revani.
Post member Norman Abbod dispensed the wine, suggesting a donation of $5 a glass.
Among those who attended the tribute: Cherry Spitaleri, Jean Law, Dick Frank, U.S. Air Force veteran and artist Pat Turnier, Hedi Omans, Lawrence's caretaker Athicka King, stepsons Alan Adam and Anil Adam with his wife, Kim, and family friend Mary Mayel.
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