Retirement Party for Toni Buckner

Posted 10/2/11 – Story by Jane Zamenzadeh, Friends of the Library, video by SierraMadreNews.Net

On Friday, September 16, a standing-room-only crowd of more than two hundred people gathered in the Sierra Madre Room of the Community Center to thank Toni Buckner for her thirty-four years of service to the Sierra Madre Library (View Photo Gallery from this event here).  City officials, city department heads, the library staff, the library board of trustees, board members of the Friends of the Sierra Madre Library, friends and neighbors were represented at the gathering.  Guests enjoyed a lovely selection of refreshments including hors d’oeuvres, mini sandwiches, wraps, and fruit and vegetable trays provided by Bean Town as well as wine, water, and iced tea.

The formal part of the evening began when Mistress of Ceremonies, Patricia Hall, introduced the dignitaries who were there to honor Toni and wish her well.  Present at the reception were former mayors Clem Bartolai, Bart Doyle, and Rob Stockly, former city treasurer Richard May, current mayor John Buchanan, and city council members Josh Moran, Nancy Walsh, and Mary Ann MacGillivray.  Following a speech by city manager, Elaine Aguilar, Toni received a standing ovation when Mayor Buchanan presented her with a tile containing the Sierra Madre city emblem, her name, and the dates of her years of service and read a proclamation from the city that listed many of her accomplishments during those thirty-four years.

Library Board of Trustees chairperson Catherine Adde praised Toni’s ability to deal with all types of people and to select staff members each of whom brings a unique set of skills to the library.  Friends of the Sierra Madre Library president, Darlene Traxler, thanked Toni for her help during the design and planting of the Library gardens and for all the support she has given the Friends over the years.  Polly Bonnett called all the library staff to join her as they wished Toni well.  Each staff member presented her with a gift representing a contribution Toni has made to the library and to the city.  The emotional high point of the evening was a speech given by staff member Stephanie Vitale.  In her speech Vitale described Toni as a mentor who truly cared about each staff member as a person, who held to the philosophy that “people come first”, who was intuitively skilled at selecting a team of diverse and exceptionally talented individuals who are able to work together in easy harmony, and whose strength was drawn from her goodly character, exhibited through a true and quiet humility, with fairness to all and prejudice toward none, and with unshakable integrity and sincere, consistent outgoing concern.  City department heads, Elaine Aguilar, Marilyn Diaz, Elisa Weaver, Bruce Inman, Steve Heydorff, Karin Schnaider, and Danny Castro presented Toni with a book bag containing a book with inscriptions from each of them.  Toni received a second standing ovation when she thanked the staff, the Trustees, the Friends, the Community, and her family for all the support she’s received over the years.

During the open microphone period, Toni was praised and thanked by Cathy Ryne, the former children’s librarian for more than years, the members of the City Council who were present, friends, and neighbors.  In honor of Toni, Gurdon Miller from the Sierra Madre Historical Preservation Society gave a proclamation and a donation of $1,000 for use in the renovation of the Children’s Room of the library.

Following the speeches and presentations, guests enjoyed a chocolate raspberry cake and coffee, a lovely ending to a memorable evening.