He was a man of so many firsts, yet it was the number 100 that finally put Harry L. Summers into the spotlight.
"He saw something that to others was unimaginable," said local business owner Nick Anastaspoulos as he introduced Summers, Rancho Bernardo's founder, as the 100th inductee into the RB Hall of Fame on Saturday night.
The "chief dreamer of RB," master of the first planned community here, in due fashion, received the first standing ovation of the night at the Hall's first black tie dinner since its 1974 start.
"We surprised ourselves by thinking so big," Summers said in a speech before a full room at the Bernardo Heights Country Club. RB came to life in 1962 with the distinction of having all of its utilities underground, through the oversight of Summers and his team. In 1969, AVCO Community Developers took over and furthered Summers' vision of turning the North County hills into the homes, streets, businesses and recreation centers that make up Rancho Bernardo today.
"It was all a wonderful ride and obviously not without its challenges," Summers said, adding that he is proud to be welcomed into the RB Hall of Fame as an honorary member.
A number of other Hall of Famers were present and recognized, including Anastaspoulos, emcee Bob Wells, RB Community Council President Robin Kaufman and Rancho Bernardo Business Association President Larry McIntyre, who provided video from a 2009 interview with Summers. In the video (attached to this story), Summers talks about growing up in Texas, serving in the U.S. Navy during WWII and coming up with the master plan for RB.
Local leaders also were on hand Saturday night to offer their congratulations to Summers, including County Supervisor Pam Slater-Price, Councilman Carl DeMaio and representatives from U.S. Rep. Brian Bilbray (R-Solana Beach) and state Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher (R-San Diego).
DeMaio jokingly invited Summers to join his land use task force, while Slater-Price read from a county proclamation honoring the community founder. Summers' family also was at the dinner.
Emcee Wells, an RBBA board member who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1993, said this 100th award is just the beginning of more to come.
"Nothing, nothing compares to Rancho Bernardo," Wells said. "This is special. We are special. And Harry, you are special."
Editor's Note: Patch was one of the invited guests for the evening. To watch a series of video interviews with Summers, filmed by Larry McIntyre, see the gallery or click here.