The Dynamic Duo of SR Volunteers

Scripps Ranch was the perfect place for Gordon and Leigh Boerner’s new home 27 years ago. Gordon, a native San Diegan, wanted to be near the city for his job. Leigh came from rural Los Angeles/Orange County and wanted a community with country living. They bought a house close to a school so the children—when they had some—could walk there. It turned out that many things the Boerners have done in Scripps Ranch have been within a six- to seven-block radius of that house: parks, concerts, schools, dance lessons, and many activities.

Their two daughters attended Miramar Ranch Elementary, Marshall Middle, and Scripps Ranch High. Amanda, 21, graduated in June from the University of Oregon with a degree in journalism/communication and hopes to work in San Diego. Her parents hope she’ll live here. Amy, 19 and an engineering student at Gonzaga University in Washington, just returned from her sophomore year in Florence, Italy.

Gordon’s community service in Scripps Ranch started when he joined the Scripps Ranch Planning Group (SRPG). He wanted to get a better understanding of the community and participate in planning future land uses. He served on the SRPG for 24 years, eight as vice chair and 15 as chair of the Finance Committee.

Gordon is on the Scripps Ranch Civic Association (SRCA) Board and has been for 16 years—as president, executive vice president, and currently past president. He coached soccer, softball, Girl Scout basketball, and was active in the YMCA Indian Guide and Princess Program.

The SRCA honored him with its highest award, Citizen of the Year, in 2001. He subsequently earned the Energizer Bunny Award and was inducted into the Scripps Ranch Volunteer Hall of Fame.

Leigh has worked at Rady Children’s Hospital for 28 years as a dietician and lactation consultant. It was a full-time job that could be part time as mothering duties consumed more time.

She served as: foundation board member at all her children’s schools; eScrip Fundraising Committee chair; room mom; and on the Halloween Carnival and Taste of the Ranch committees. With the children in college, she keeps her “foot in the door” working three days a week at the hospital. The SRCA has recognized her community service several times with the Distinguished Volunteer Award.

Has their 27 years in Scripps Ranch lived up to their expectations? “It’s been great!” Leigh says. “There are so many sports and children’s activities.” The girls will make sure they are home for the SRCA 4th of July Parade.

For Gordon the most memorable event in Scripps Ranch history was, of course, the Cedar Fire of 2003. “The morning of Oct. 26, 2003 was bizarre,” he remembers. People were talking about fire on Birch Bluff Avenue, and everyone rushed to turn on their TVs. A community meeting just two days after the fire helped unite the community, and Scripps Ranch started planning for its recovery. People donated needed items, including money, which resulted in having to quickly establish a 501(c)3 nonprofit status so donors could get tax deductions. Gordon was pleased that most of the residents who lost their homes rebuilt here.

The most impactful issue the Ranch handled, according to Gordon, was the “successful fending off of a large national real estate investment trust’s attempt to change zoning and develop 1,100 acres on our prime commercially-zoned business park.” That land subsequently accommodated Scripps Ranch’s largest single employer, Lockheed Martin.

Important issues during his SRCA presidency were the formation of the groups Scripps Ranch 50 Plus and Sustainable Scripps Ranch. Another was the assumption of the SRCA Community Center during the city’s budget crisis. This ensured continuity of inexpensive local meeting space for homeowners associations, clubs, and community groups.

Other successful ventures for the Ranch were: getting an upscale grocery store, Trader Joe’s; having a farmers market; and getting the wall at Evans Pond designated as a historical landmark. Future considerations are: more parking space at the library and a senior living project.

Gordon said people have expressed concern for him and Leigh now that they are in the “empty nest” years. “They don’t need to worry,” he says. “We have season tickets to all San Diego games—Aztec, Padres, and Chargers!” Leigh adds, “Time for walking the lake, fitness, Pilates, being out with the dog…”

Elinor Reiss