Edna Sahm Day
By: JEFF FRANK - Staff Writer
February 26, 2006
Today, by city proclamation, is Edna Sahm Day in Escondido.
While that's pretty cool, a day seems like such a small tribute for someone who has done so much for so many in this community. She deserves a week, at least. Maybe even a month.
For Edna Sahm is a woman to whom giving comes as naturally as breathing. The motto on her personal resume reads, "What can I do to help?" And she lives up to that motto every day.
It would probably be easier to list the names of the local organizations Sahm doesn't support than to chronicle all her giving. And that support isn't all in the form of cash contributions. Usually, when Sahm decides to involve herself with an organization, she really gets involved.
A huge supporter of the California Center for the Arts, Escondido, from the very beginning, she and her late husband, Raymond, donated $660,000 to the center's endowment. She later served several years on the board of trustees.
When she joined the Escondido Chamber of Commerce, she didn't content herself with swapping handshakes at monthly mixers. She became a Chamber Ambassador and one of the top recruiters of new businesses into the organization. Sahm is usually front and center at any chamber event.
It's the same with the Escondido Rotary, which honors Sahm tonight at its third Coeur de Cuisine gala food festival, fittingly at the Center for the Arts. She has sponsored many new members and for most weekly meetings stands near the door to greet her fellow Rotarians as they arrive.
"It's not her job. It's just something she enjoys," said Jackie Skay, chairwoman of tonight's event. "The thing about Edna that I see is that she doesn't have an agenda. She just cares about this community."
Close friend Angelo Damante, who will make the presentation to Sahm, said, "She epitomizes the 'Service Above Self' theme of Rotary. ... She sets the bar for all of us in showing us the way we should be when we achieve certain things in life."
Sahm supports more than 20 local charities, showing up at most of their special events. She has sponsored 14 of her fellow Rotarians for Paul Harris Fellowships, making $1,000 contributions on their behalf.
And she lives life to the fullest. Probably only the mayor gets to more events around town. She has taken more than 30 cruises to all parts of the world over the past 20 years. Oh, and by the way, she celebrates her 89th birthday in about a week.
Damante calls her "The First Lady of Escondido," and it's hard to argue. She's elegant, generous and entertaining, and we should all be so lucky as to match her energy level.
Enjoy your day, Edna.