Distinguished Citizen

Distinguished Citizens

Pete Moriarty
Distinguished Citizen of the month of March, 2017

Pete is a retired Lieutenant Colonel of Artillery in the U.S. Army where he served in the 1st Cavalry Division in Vietnam, 32nd Army Air Defense Command in Germany and Director of Command Control & Systems Integration at Fort Bliss in Texas and at the U.S. Mission Headquarters NATO in Brussels, Belgium. He is the recipient of Legion of Merit; Meritorious Service Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster; Bronze Star Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster; Air Medal with two Oak Leaf Clustersand numerous other honor medals and service awards.

Pete graduated from Louisiana State University with a Bachelor's degree in Economics and from Florida State University with a Master's degree in History. Some of Pete's Civic Service includes being a member on the Board of Trustees for the Rapides Symphony Orchestra in Alexandria, Louisiana and currently serving as a member of the Villa Park Rotary Club. Pete was born is Alexandria, Louisiana and currently lives in Villa Park. He is a member of St. Norbert's Catholic Church in Orange and married to former Diana Mary Blackburn.




Frank Bryant
Distinguished Citizen of the month of April, 2017

Frank was born in Blythe, CA and spent his early childhood there. He moved to Yucaipa and graduated from Redlands High School with a Bachelors of Science degree from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo with some post graduate work at the University of Washington before enlisting in the Marine Corps. 

Frank was commissioned in Quantico, VA and received Naval Aviator wings after training at Pensacola, FL and Kingsville, TX.  He served with the Marine Corps "Blacksheep" squadron at Kaneohe Bay then deployed with the "Blacksheep" to Chu Lai Vietnam, where combat missions were flown in support of the Republic of Vietnam. The "Blacksheep" Squadron flew 14,000 hours in combat, 13,000 sorties, and dropped more than 10,000 tons of ordnance. For their service "Blacksheep" squadron was awarded the Navy Unit Commendation with a Bronze Star.

 After returning to California, Frank spent 33 years flying airliners for Western and Delta Airlines.  Frank and his wife, Patti Bryant, moved to Villa Park in 1976. They have three grown children and Frank currently serves as a Director for the Serrano Water District



James Brown
Distinguished Citizen of the month of May, 2017

James is a Korean War Veteran, who was drafted into the Army in the early 1950's. He lived in Detroit, Michigan at the time, where he grew up and attended college. He was born outside of Birmingham, Alabama, in a small town named Pocahontas. 

His job in the Army was a Computer/Radar Specialist where he was in charge of a 75 millimeter anti-aircraft artillery weapons unit. Before being honorably discharged from the military he met and married his wife, Patricia, who was the Assistant to the Inspector General of the Air Force. Patricia is also a Korean War Veteran and was selected as Miss Air Force in 1955.

James and Patricia have four daughters and fourteen grandchildren, including two great grandchildren. They have been married 62 years and have lived in Villa Park for 45 years.





Edward Barry, Jr.
Distinguished Citizen of the month of June, 2017

Edward Barry, Jr, a retired US Air Force Lieutenant General, joined Rockwell International (now a part of The Boeing Company) in 1994 following his retirement from the United States Airforce, where he held multiple and increasingly responsible weapon systems program offices and command positions starting as an ICBM Deputy Missile Combat Crew Commander in 1961. In his military career, he was the Air Force’s Deputy Program Director on the Global Positioning Satellite during its initial development and test phase; Program Director for the Defense Support Program responsible for a block upgrade including the successful launch and deployment of three satellites. Program Director for the Small ICBM; Program Director for Peacekeeper ICBM where he fielded the final forty missiles within cost and schedule to support the Strategic Air Command’s Full Operational Capabilities.

At the Boeing Company, Lt. General Barry held the positions of Vice President, INS/GPS Products, where he was responsible for the successful development of Digital Quartz Inertial Measurement Units and Microelectromechanical Gyros; Vice President ICBM Systems; Vice President, Ground Based Interceptor, Ground Based Midcourse Defense; and Vice President Plans & Program, Missile Defense Systems. Lt. General Barry retired from the Boeing Company in April 2004.

 Lt. General Barry is a graduate of the United States Military Academy with a BS in Military Engineering and has an MBA in Systems Management from the University of Southern California.






Kenneth Tait
Distinguished Citizen of the month of July, 2017

Kenneth E. Tait was born in Billings, Montana in 1930 and served his country with the Navy Seabees during the Korean War where he served in the 10th Naval Construction Brigade Detachment. This Brigade handled all the construction for the navy and marine corps of all projects west of the continental United States.

Mr. Tait founded TAIT & Associates in 1964.  Throughout the 1960s, he managed the design and construction of hundreds of gasoline stations throughout California. As time went on, Mr. Tait developed additional design services, including airport fueling systems, fuel bulk plant design, and military facility design. Mr. Tait was an early innovator in air pollution control, holding several patents for gasoline vapor recovery and containment.

Kenneth Tait received his bachelors and doctorate degrees from Montana State University. Mr. Tait married Valetta Ahmann 1956 and in 1958 they moved to California. They are parents of 4 children: Susan Welch Los Oswego, Oregon: Thomas Tait, Mayor of Anaheim, Kenneth Richard Tait, Newport Beach: Elizabeth Ericsen, Anaheim Hills. Also grandparents of 9, and great grandparents of 2. They have lived in Villa Park since 1971.





Elliott Brender
Distinguished Citizen of the month of August, 2017

Dr. Elliott Brender is a Retired Clinical Professor of Surgery at the University of California Irvine School of Medicine.  Dr. Brender was born in Brooklyn, NY and attended New York University and medical school at the State University of New York Buffalo.

After completing a year of surgical internship at New York Hospital - Cornell Medical Center, he was drafted in the army and spent 6 months as commanding officer, 37th Medical Company, attached to the 11th Armored Calvary in Phu Loi, Vietnam and 6 months as Chief Emergency Services, 3rd Field Hospital, in Saigon.  

In 1985 he moved to Orange County, California where he practiced general surgery until 2003 when he retired.  During this period he was Chief of Surgery multiple times and Chief of Staff of Garden Grove Hospital.  Since his retirement he has been doing volunteer surgery in Cambodia. Dr. Brender and his wife, Julie, have lived in Villa Park for 29 years and Dr. Brender is a member of the Villa Park Rotary Club.






Tom White
Distinguished Citizen of the month of September, 2017

Tom and his wife Dani own the Early Years of Motocross Museum in Villa Park. The museum is private, but open for events that serve the motorcycle industry, fund raising, and the annual Marine Thanksgiving event in Villa Park. All donations from the museum help support the High Hopes Head Injury Program in Tustin.

Tom is a former AMA National #80 in pro dirt track from 1971 to 1976. Afterward, Tom founded White Brothers Cycle Specialties in 1975. When Tom sold the company in 2000, motorcycle dealers rated the company as the number one supplier of performance parts in the United States! Warehouses were located in Yorba Linda, California and Louisville, Kentucky along with two manufacturing facilities in Orange County. He is the founder of two major motocross events in America - the World Veteran MX Championships - established in 1985, and the World 4-Stroke Championships - established in 1988.

His other activities include Board of Director of the AMA's Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum, Board of Director and Vice-President of the Trailblazers MC, and Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame Board of Director. He was inducted into the American Motorcycle Associations Hall of Fame in 2014 under the category "Ambassadors and Industry" for his lifetime support of all things motorcycling. Tom has been married 40 years to wife, Dani. Together, they have three children - Kristin, Brad, and Michael and two grandchildren - Zane and Andy.




Bill Underwood
Distinguished Citizen of the month of October, 2017

Bill is a retired Senior Level Executive with 50 years of Management Consulting experience to very large organizations. This includes 8 years of volunteer Public Service, plus 3 years of wartime military officer service. Bill served for 25 years with Arthur Andersen & Co.’s consulting practice, later known as Accenture with 325,000 personnel. He served as Southern California Partner, Chicago Manager and Consultant. After Andersen Consulting, Bill co-founded The Information Technology Group, as Managing Director, where he served for 21 years. ITG was a professional firm of senior-level consultants who planned, designed & implemented organization-wide systems by managing 50 to 300 person projects over 3 to 5-year horizons for mission critical systems for state-wide higher education organizations and Fortune 100 corporations.

Bill was a United States Naval Supply Officer during the Vietnam War. He attended Naval Officers Schools in Newport, Rhode Island and Athens, Georgia.

Bill holds a Bachelors of Science Degree in Accounting from the University of Louisville where he was a Finance Executives Institute Scholar and a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) in Investment & Corporate Finance from Northwestern University in Chicago.

Bill has been a 37-year resident of Villa Park, California. He and his wife, Sherrie, who was awarded a Community Service of the Year award, reared 2 daughters & 1 son & sent them to Illinois, Villa Park & OC schools. He has 5 grandchildren in Connecticut and Texas. 


Carol Kawanami
Distinguished Citizen of the month of November, 2017

After World War II, Carol Kawanami returned to California, earned her associate of arts degree at UC Berkeley, and continued at the UC San Francisco Medical Center to earn her bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Kawanami became a registered nurse and began her professional career in public health and school nursing.

She married Sam Hideo Kawanami, MD, and the couple moved to Villa Park. She became active in civic affairs while lobbying the City of Villa Park to install sidewalks on local streets so that children could walk to school safely. She was then appointed to the Planning Commission. After serving on the Vila Park City Council for many years, Kawanami was elected as mayor, becoming the first female Japanese American mayor of a mainland city.

As a founding member of the Southeast Los Angeles North Orange County (SELANOCO) chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League, Kawanami was instrumental in helping to successfully persuade Rep. Bill Dannemeyer to support the redress bill. 

She has devoted herself to countless civic efforts and holds family most dear to her heart. Her family includes three grandsons, Ryan, Cole and Sean; son Mark and daughter-in-law Ginger; and daughter Karen.

Note: Carol Kawanami could not make it to the City Council meeting due to health reasons and passed away that Tuesday evening of. Mayor Nelson still read her bio and honored her as that month’s distinguished citizen.