August 17, 2008
Service a Lifetime Habit for San Dimas Brothers
By Imani Tate
Service is a lifetime habit for Scott Dilley, the 2008 San Dimas Citizen of the Year who was spoon-fed activism and charity during his formative years.
Dilley and his younger brother Chris didn't have time to get in trouble as children growing up in San Dimas and La Verne. Their days were filled with youth sports, school and community activities and public service projects.
Scott and Chris inherited more than ownership of Sanders Towing, Lock and Key and Automotive Shop from their dad, Ron Dilley. The examples of their father, mother Julie Dilley Hector and grandmother Pearl Dilley convinced the Dilley boys there was more to life than breathing air and taking up space.
Ron's record of service include La Verne Planning Commission, Rotary Club and Chamber of Commerce and philanthropic projects in San Dimas and La Verne. Pearl, retired chief baker for Bonita Unified School District, helped children in crisis with grandmotherly care and cookies. Julie volunteered with numerous community and children's programs before re-marrying and moving to Texas where she continues to live a service-oriented life.
Scott's stepmother Carla Sullivan-Dilley, retired La Verne community services superintendent, fits well in a family committed to service.
Family and community remain Scott's top priorities. His attraction to his wife, Ekstrand Elementary School teacher Kerry Dilley, was more than her physical beauty. He chose a life partner equally committed to philanthropic work.
"I am grateful he's such a giving person," Kerry commented. "That's one of the reasons I wanted to marry him. I enjoy community service, too, because it gives me a sense of satisfaction. Scott and I believe you should do things without getting paid because it enriches our lives and helps the community."
Scott is teaching older son Matt, 16, to recognize and respond to the needs of others.
Matt picks up trash, sells tickets, cooks, fills balloons and performs whatever tasks that help others at the San Dimas rodeo, Western Days and birthday party, usually working side-by-side with Scott and Kerry.
When 2-month-old son Bryce gets older, he can expect the same lessons.
"We are not alone" and the Golden Rule were the messages Scott constantly heard growing up and remain constant in his life today, he said.
Scott was the first child to ride on a Sanders' tow truck, first when his mother went into labor and had to get to Pomona Valley Community Hospital in a hurry and again when Ron and Julie brought their firstborn son home from the hospital.
Those trucks now carry Girl and Boy Scouts, Little League, Pop Warner and Girls Softball Association athletes, church and community floats, professional rodeo cowboys and cowgirls, musicians, youth advocates, elected officials, military banners, costumed characters and public safety agents for parades and community events in San Dimas and La Verne.
Scott lived in San Dimas, at the Sanders' tow yard where the family home was also located, until he was 5. The older Dilleys then moved to La Verne. Scott, a Bonita High School and Citrus College graduate, moved back to San Dimas in 2000. Chris, who lives in La Verne with wife Amy and 1-year-old daughter Emma, volunteers for programs there.
Although Ron was extremely involved in community projects, he was equally devoted to his sons, Scott said.
"My dad always took us around to community events and organizations. I learned from his example," said the past La Verne chamber president and San Dimas Development Review Board member who co-chairs the San Dimas city birthday party, serves as San Dimas Sheriff's Boosters treasurer and acts as a corporate sponsor for the Fairplex Discovery Kids' Yellow Bus Program, transporting 100,000 children annually to the L.A. Fair.
"My grandmother stressed being a good citizen and helping people less fortunate. My mom taught me to treat people like I want to be treated. My dad exemplified hard work and discipline," Scott continued. "He also kept me busy with activities to keep me from getting in trouble. He taught me how to snow and water ski, ride motorcycles and dirt bikes and sailing.
"Love was the common denominator for all those inspiring people in my life," he added. "They made me want to be part of a legacy of service."
Sanders Towing was started by Scott's great-uncle Leonard Stevenson and later owned by Ken Sanders before Ron Dilley bought it.
Scott's first "job" at age 5 was sweeping the parking lot at the tow yard. His first reward was "keeping all the change I found. I made 75 cents one day," he laughingly recalled.
Young Scott was promoted to tow-truck washer before he and Chris began more serious tasks to prepare them for ultimately assuming ownership of the business in 2001 when Ron retired.
Fairplex education director Dan Harden, a retired Bonita teacher and La Verne councilman, said the Dilleys never stand on the sidelines when help is needed.
"Anytime the community needs support for anything at any time, Scott and Chris step up," Harden said. "Scott is the kind of person you like to be around because he's positive, friendly, gentle, giving and caring. And so are his brother, his wife, his dad and his stepmom. The Dilley boys were good kids and now they're great, generous men."
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