By RHEA-FRANCES TETLEY
Many mountain residents gathered tlast week, filling the Lake Gregory Yacht Club clubhouse, to hold a going away party to honor Arlene Arenas. Arenas has for the past couple of years managed Lake Gregory Regional Park for the Lake Gregory Recreation Company.
The company chose not to seek the new contract to continue managing the regional park, so they have promoted Arlene to manage the larger Lake Hemet campground and waterpark at Mountain Center in Riverside County.
Friends and co-workers heaped praise upon her management, community dedication and communications skills, as she made a low water-level lake and regional park work for the local community that surrounds it.
Arenas, who grew up in Cedarpines Park, previously managed the Lake Arrowhead docks. While managing Lake Gregory Regional Park, many community-centered activities were added to the park’s schedule, such as the Friday night farmer’s markets and free summer concerts. She supported many local nonprofits, such as the VFW fishing derbies, Rotary, the historical society, senior luncheons, Lake Gregory Yacht Club’s regattas and seasonal lake cleanup days. She listened to the community and responded, including instituting a discount entrance day to the lake last summer.
Crestline-Lake Gregory Rotary Club’s Bill Mellinger commended Arenas for her dedication to the community. “The amazing giving of herself to the community of her time, which is a valuable commodity, while not on the clock to this community is something we are truly indebted to you for and for your friendship given,” Mellinger said.
Crestline Chamber of Commerce President Louis Boehle thanked Arenas for being a member of the chamber and her support for all the events, including Corks & Hops, Small Business Saturday and especially the community Duck Derby. “Arlene enabled it to occur on the beach after the waterslide was no longer viable. You donated your time and the staff’s effort to make it happen for Crestline and expanding its footprint. Thank you, Arlene, you will be dearly missed,” Boehle said.
Derek Leistra added, “As chairman of Rotary’s Steaks at the Lake, I thank you for your service and for making it successful.” Gary Bancroft, representing the Rim of the World Historical Society, thanked Arenas for providing the San Moritz Lodge for Russ Keller’s talks, enabling the community to learn many aspects of its historical background.
Leslie Dodge Taylor complimented Arenas on her attitude when problems arose and her ability to face them squarely. “Her honesty has infused us with hope. I think her communication skills and graciousness, if she gets to help transition in the new folks at our park, will be greeted with positivity,” she said.
Dan Stipp, representing the Crestline churches, thanked Arenas for all she did to allow the Easter sunrise services and installing the lights for the Christmas tree ceremonies. “Especially this year, we thank her when they had to chip the ice off the tree in the rain and clear the snow on the patio so the annual ceremony could occur,” Stipp said.
“Arlene’s care, candor and patience on tough subjects, giving honest answers in all situations, was so upstanding and have benefited the community,” said Rick Dinon, a member of the Crest Forest Municipal Advisory Council. Of the Crest Forest Seniors luncheon program, which has approximately 400 participants, Seniors’ President Penny Shubnell said, “Your team made sure all was ready every time and was inviting to our members. Your team was stellar.”
Arenas was very touched by all the compliments expressing appreciation for all she had done to help the community through her position as park manager. She commented, “I’m but a vessel of God.” She then gave compliments to her staff, including “Ariana, who had great ideas, and our company, which put the community first.” She mentioned others, such as Mick Hill, who were committed and stepped forward, enabling the concert series to happen after the vandalism. “I was proud my company stood behind the community in such times.
“I love this community,” she continued. “I was 10 years old when I moved here and attended a small school. I grew up, married and returned here and two of my children were born here. You guys made my life a joy and I feel honored to have been here and it is hard to leave it all. If it wasn’t for all of you, I would not have had as good of a time. Our home remains here and I hope to return after my husband retires from his job in San Diego.
“I have made a complete calendar of all 725 events we held each year, for the next general manager to become aware of them, and how important the Crestline community is. There is not another community as tight knit as Crestline and its community spirit is strong,” Arenas added.
Virginia Paleno of Capre Realty commented, “On behalf of the Crestline realtors, we thank you, Arlene. You have helped make Crestline an appealing destination.”
Mellinger and Stipp gave a final benediction, giving praise and glory for the blessing Arlene has been for the community. Lake Gregory Yacht Club’s Leistra, added, “Arlene, we wish you good luck, good winds and fair seas.”