He’s is an avid cyclist, fisherman, and coffee aficionado who roasts his own beans.
His knowledge of fine wine, cigars, and beekeeping are among his serious avocations.
Yet, those who know him best, like his longtime friend and schoolmate at South Pasadena High, Bill Cullinane, say Alan Vlacich might be best known for giving back and helping others as a dedicated philanthropist, donating to a wide variety of organizations and local causes.
“One of the traits I most admire about Alan is his willingness to find a way to say yes,” explained Cullinane while introducing Vlacich last Sunday as the 2018 recipient of the Professional Child Development Associates (PCDA) Community Service Award during the organization’s Harvest Moon Dinner and Auction held in a garden setting at Therese and Mario Molina’s South Pasadena home on Chelten Way. “As someone once said showing up and participating is half the battle.”
The PCDA Community Service Award recognizes a community leader who has generously donated time and talent in service to the community, and particularly to the children and families served by the non-profit organization that helps children with autism and other developmental challenges.
“Through a demonstration of outstanding character and genuine care for others, the recipient of this award is a role model and inspiration,” Cullinane told the large gathering as he talked about Vlacich, a man with unwavering support of the city he calls home. Over the years, Vlacich has learned that a community like South Pasadena can prosper when its inhabitants volunteer.
He’s done his part as a past president of the South Pasadena Tournament of Roses and still active with the organization. He is also a member of the local Kiwanis Club and is an original member of the PCDA Board of Directors for 10 years running.
After recognizing family members, some traveling long distances to attend the event, Vlacich saved is wife, Lin, for last to say thanks – thanks for putting up with him for attending all those meetings in support of non-profits over the years.
“Love you honey,” he told Lin, smiling proudly. “It is so nice to being married to your best friend. She also volunteers her time to many worthwhile charities. And so do many of you. That’s what makes our little town so special.”
Cullinane and Vlacich’s roots go back more than 50 years, as they grew up playing Pop Warner Football, youth baseball and high school basketball together.
“I have seen the character of the man in many different situations where his modesty and integrity have always shone through,” said an admiring Cullinane, whose wife, Diane, is the executive director of PCDA. “As adults we have and still do belong to several of the same organizations in South Pasadena. I find Alan to be an intriguing individual with his varied and deep seated interests.”
Vlacich was one of three individuals honored during the event, which included hundreds of guests enjoying the evening under the stars. Dr. Joshua Feder, a child and family psychiatrist in Solano Beach who treats individuals with neuropsychiatric challenges, was presented the Greenspan Humanitarian Award. Joshua Ray Cabrera, a member of PCDA’s Teen Club and has experienced tremendous growth through the organization, earned the PCDA Achievement Award. A reception, silent and auction and dinner provided by Parkway Grill were part of the night.
Those wanting to see Vlacich’s volunteerism in action, won’t want to miss him wearing an apron with spatula in hand at next year’s Kiwanis Club 4th of July Pancake Breakfast at the South Pasadena Fire Station.
“No one flips a better pancake than Alan,” quipped Cullinane, pointing out another one of his friend’s little known talents.