As a volunteer first responder for almost 40 years, Craig Lloyd has just about seen it all. From rescuing people off of mountains as an EMT-certified National Ski Patrolman to performing search and rescue operations during local and national disasters or patrol functions with Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) for the last 22 years, Lloyd is always serving.
As commander of the Sun Lakes Posse 501©(3), his team of volunteers helps to support the community and MCSO with a local patrol substation, providing programs like the Medical Equipment Loaner Program, Red Cross blood drives, Semi-Annual DEA Drug takebacks, document shred events, and fundraising for fallen officers. Additionally, the MCSO Sun Lakes Sheriff’s Posse uniformed patrol units provide backup and support daily to MCSO.
For over 20 years, Lloyd has donated work boots and socks to a local men’s homeless center, essentials and new clothing for moms to wrap as Christmas gifts at domestic abuse centers, and family food bags to a local low-income school during a teacher lockout.
As a local business owner, Lloyd feels blessed to partner with a group of local businesswomen who give back in our community, such as the AZ Hero’s Home Team, sponsoring multiple community events like shred-a-thons, pictures with Santa, Easter egg hunt, and Jingle Jog.
Lloyd’s local American Family Insurance agency recently received the Community Impact Award from American Family Insurance and donated the award proceeds to a local women’s and children’s abuse center.
Something you might not know about Lloyd?
“I grew up in South Phoenix, starting out life in a small, two-bedroom, one-bathroom home, and had my first job working seven days a week at the age of 10.”
Dr. William Crawford III
Civil service and education best describe the contributions made by Dr. William Crawford III.
He has been blessed with two rewarding careers—23 years with the Phoenix Police Department, with another 10 years in a volunteer reserve capacity, and 24 years with the Maricopa Community College District, which includes 14 years in college administration. After retiring, he remains in education as a part-time professor at Northern Arizona University, with a focus on cultural diversity in the justice system. He also co-owns a small consulting business in Chandler with his wife.
Dr. Crawford remains actively engaged in both professional and community organizations, serving on multiple boards including the ArizonaJustice Educators Association, Chandler Chamber of Commerce, City of Chandler’s Merit Board and Public Safety Retirement Board, Chandler Education Foundation, and Chandler for Change.
Dr. Crawford lives by the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: “The true measure of a man is not how he behaves in moments of comfort and convenience but how he stands at times of controversy and challenges.”
Something you may not know about Dr. Crawford?
“One of my favorite pastimes is ornamental gardening. I thoroughly enjoy spending time working in my yard with roses, flowers, shrubs, and bushes.”
Lavaughan Ballesteros grew up in the City of Chandler’s Public Housing community. As a junior in high school, his mother sent him to an ICAN program, hoping to keep him out of trouble and from joining a gang. He immediately fell in love with everything about the organization, and he has been there ever since!
The first time you meet Ballesteros you are struck by his poise and confidence, so it’s surprising that he writes, “Despite the enormous amount of self-confidence I portray, there are occasions where I doubt myself.”
Ballesteros has worked his way through school at ICAN, graduating from Chandler High, attending CGCC and graduating from NAU in 2021. At the ripe old age of 22, he is a manager at ICAN as the Site Leader at Galveston Elementary and bought his first home.
Ballesteros truly believes everything happens for a reason and believes, “Every moment, mistake, situation, is a brand new learning experience and never a waste of time.
“The absolute best way I can give back to my community is by serving its youth. I want them to understand that despite where they come from, they are meant to do something amazing. I feel it is my duty to take care of them and teach them important life lessons and skills to help them become productive, self-confident, responsible members of the community. Just like Mr. Tom and Mr. Nick did for me.”
Tyson Basha feels he wouldn’t be the person he is today without the amazing men and women who influenced his life. Feeling blessed to grow up in a prominent Chandler family, he learned a tremendous amount about business, the value of education, the importance of hard work, and always give back. Although the expectation was that he would go into the grocery business, he was told at a young age, “You will always have a job bagging groceries but everything else has to be earned.”
With that safety net and the support of his family, Basha chose an entrepreneurial path by starting multiple businesses. He partnered with friends to start Origami Owl, and in 2020, the partners started a new company called Think Goodness. It was formed as a brand collective, with a mission to be a global force for good through giving back. He has also partnered with his siblings to start a technology company that helps eliminate chemical usage in our water supply and is currently set to launch a social media platform called Tether.
“It takes work every single day to become the person I want to be, and one of the things I tell myself daily is from an African proverb, ‘If there is no enemy within, the enemy outside can do no harm.’”
Giving back is a focus for all his companies, whether it is supplying handicap-accessible vans to families in need, sending families facing adversity on a Disney vacation, or making monetary donations to random individuals.
Since his grandfather Eddie’s passing, Basha has learned and been impressed by how much he gave to others while maintaining anonymity, and he wants to follow in those footsteps.
“When I pass on, I want to leave behind a legacy that rivals my grandfather’s—one where people can honestly share stories of all the good I did, the people I helped, the lives I impacted for the good, without ever knowing that I was the one who helped them until my time is over.”
When Brian Garcia-Larson was 16, he was a sophomore in high school, had a child, and was emancipated.
“Living in government housing and surviving on $3.25 an hour and food stamps was not a great start to my adulthood. I can honestly say I am beyond blessed to have failed forward at a young age, learning tough lessons. I live every day with gratitude.”
As a local business owner, giving back is a big part of Garcia-Larson’s life. As incoming president of the Chandler Rotary, his organization focuses on helping Chandler Unified School District students and their families. He was recently selected to be a member of the Fiesta Bowl Yellow Jackets, an organization that donates millions of dollars each year to Arizona charities. He also is a member of Guys Who Give of Chandler, a group that raises money to donate to Chandler nonprofits.
In the future, Garcia-Larson would like to share his story at the high school and college level to encourage others to live their best life, despite the challenges it can bring. He also plans to write a book to share his life’s journey, hoping to help and encourage others.
His words to live by?
“I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed,” said by Michael Jordan.
Kurt Johansen grew up watching his parents get involved in their community and help those in need whenever they could. It was the norm for his family. Although his father has passed away, he continues to inspire Johansen every day.
“He was the smartest, hardest-working, and most honorable person I have ever known,” Johansen says.
So, it is understandable why Johansen volunteers at AzCend, ICAN, and the Chandler Boys & Girls Club. He has served on the boards of several of those nonprofits, as well as the Chandler Chamber of Commerce and Chandler IDA. As president of the Compadres, his organization of 40 volunteers has raised millions of dollars that are all donated to Chandler charities focused on helping youth and families in our community.
Rudeness is his pet peeve.
“It is just as easy to be kind, engaging, and respectful to those that we interact with, as it is to be rude, aloof, and indifferent.”
A few things you may not know about Johansen? Growing up, he wanted to be a commercial airline pilot, all three of his kids were born at Chandler Regional Hospital, and he has hiked the Grand Canyon five times.
Mitesh Kumar Patel
Chandler is blessed that Mitesh Kumar Patel chose to bring an international film festival to town six years ago. It is now one of the fastest-growing festivals in Arizona.
The Chandler International Film Festival (CIFF) began in 2016 with a simple idea—to share international films in a local setting. The festival is dedicated to uniting the community through the film—whether you’re a filmmaker or a casual viewer, there is something for everyone. This was the sixth consecutive year for the film festival, which hosted over 120 movies made in 35 countries.
Raised in India, Patel moved to Canada and then Los Angeles before landing in Chandler.
Patel has been an artist since childhood, but never dreamed of making movies. They were always entertaining for him and he learned a lot of life’s lessons just by watching movies. As a filmmaker, most of his films have a social message.
“I feel that a movie has amazing power because the world is watching. With that great power comes great responsibility. Positive movies will make a better world. I want to continue to make films that inspire and give hope,” he says.
Oren Wallace Jr.
U.S. Air Force veteran. Local business owner. Chandler City Councilman. Board member, Community Services of Arizona and Chandler United Methodist Church.
“From the first day he stepped foot in Chandler, Oren has been an entrepreneur, dedicated civil servant, leader, and role model. After 50 years, we believe, he is a true example of what it means to be one of the 2022 Men of Chandler,” writes his children, Allison and Nathan. And we agree!
His early aspiration to be a Superior Court Judge never happened, but he did own several businesses in Chandler, where he was known by many names including Oren, Doug, and Wally. Doug’s Radiator and Repair, DANO Auto Sales, and DANO Bail Bonds were all his family-owned companies, employing and mentoring numerous young men and women from the Chandler area. He was known to extend credit and easy payment terms to his neighbors when they needed a helping hand.
He has been married to his wife, Donna, for 48 years. Wallace’s lifelong dream is to build a house on property he owns with his wife in Alaska.
Captain Jeff Williams
As a child, Captain Jeff Williams attended the youth programs that were offered by The Salvation Army. Many don’t realize this organization is actually a church and he began attending services, later getting involved in leading some of those same programs.
As an adult, he tried several occupations but was always drawn back to the church. Joining the Emergency Services, he fell in love with how he could reach people when they needed help the most. He later entered the seminary with his wife, and they have been serving as ministers ever since.
“Captain Williams is an amazing community leader who is highly dedicated to Chandler and helping its residents in any way he can,” writes his nominator. “He is humble and honest, always going above and beyond for others, and expecting nothing in return. The relationship between the city, The Salvation Army – Chandler, and other local nonprofits have never been stronger through his leadership.”
He is a logistics person, thriving on finding new ways to serve with dignity and respect those we serve. He loves to network in a way that combines resources with the wisdom to meet unmet needs. He is always looking to find ways to bridge the gaps in services.
Something you may not know about him?
“Most people don’t know that I love to work on cars and do mechanical work. I enjoy building engines,” he says.
Growing up in lower-income communities, Danny Gonzalez’s mom was a single mother with five kids, so the family often slept in shelters or public garages until she was able to find a good job. As an adult, he was committed to reaching out and helping the lives of broken families experiencing the same things he had.
His leadership, heart, and perseverance have equipped him to found and lead the East Valley Dream Center, an organization offering essentials and programs to help families rise above poverty, and LivWell Behavioral Health Company, which gives kids the tools they need to deal with mental or behavioral issues. These organizations work with the City of Chandler, the school districts, local businesses, churches, and other nonprofits to serve and better the community.
“I want to continue to find avenues to help families out of poverty and encourage more young people to step into leadership roles,” he says. “Take care of the people nobody wants and God will send you the people everybody wants.”
Something you may not know about Gonzalez?
“My uncle was a pastor in Chicago and made the cover of Time magazine for all the work he had done in the community.”
What did Jake Barro want to be when he grew up? A football coach. He has never looked back.
Barro was blessed to grow up in a local prominent family of coaches and business owners. Feeling coaching is a true family tradition, he is a third-generation football coach, having coached alongside his dad and brother to build a State Championship program. He was especially influenced though by his grandfather, Angelo Barro, the founder of Barro’s Pizza.
A Chandler native, Barro has been involved in youth sports for decades in National Little Leagues, youth football and basketball leagues, and local youth camps.
Last year, Barro led Casa Grande to an unbeaten 4A championship season and was named the 2021 Arizona Cardinals High School Football Coach of the Year. It was the school’s first state championship.
He was recently selected as the new Corona del Sol football coach.
"My grandfather opened the school as a football coach and was part of the 1980 championship staff,” he says. “It means a great deal to me to be able to take on the great tradition of Corona del Sol football as their new head coach.”
Not everyone can say they accomplished their ultimate childhood dream—but Mike Butcher can. Becoming a professional baseball pitcher, and making his Major League debut with the California Angels, Butcher realized his dream. He moved on to be the pitching coach for several teams, including the Arizona Diamondbacks, rounding out his 35-year career in Major League Baseball.
“I’ve played with and had the privilege to coach some of the greatest players in the word and future Hall of Famers,” he says.
Giving back is important and Butcher is involved with Childhelp, which helps children of abuse and neglect, as well as the Nubility Athletics Foundation, which supports children with limb differences. He has many speaking engagements at schools and the Little League Association.
A father of three, Butcher wants his children to know that he is a hard worker who never lets anything get in the way of his dreams and goals. And, to love unconditionally.
Passionate about cooking and wine, Butcher plans to open up a gourmet wood-fired pizza truck called the Pizza Butcher.
Jason Sieczkowski is a recently promoted main precinct commander, policing Chandler’s downtown and historic neighborhoods. It all began when his 5th-grade teacher had him compose a letter to himself that was later given back to him after graduating high school. He remembers writing that he wanted to be a police officer with his local department.
“Throughout my career, I have had extensive outreach opportunities with our unsheltered homeless community. Identifying and facilitating ways in which we can assist this underserved segment of our population and break down barriers to housing resources is a passion of mine. Through service to others and this community, I hope to have had a positive influence on generations to come,” he says.
Sieczkowski has a goal of identifying and empowering the next generation of leaders within the police organization, as the department is in a significant stage of leadership transition.
Something you may not know about the commander?
“I have completed two full distance Ironman triathlons in Arizona and Wisconsin. The training leading up to each of them was incredible and taught me a lot about who I am and what our minds and bodies can accomplish,” he shares.
A Chandler native with a family in commercial and residential construction, Darwin Wall worked a variety of jobs in the homebuilding industry. At age 13, he would walk to his father’s custom home job site to sweep up after the day's work was done. While he was in college, it was his father who encouraged him to get his real estate license, build a team, and be a part of the family business.
Outside of business, Wall is very involved with his two sons and their participation in club hockey, traveling across the U.S. and parts of Canada.
Giving back is important for Wall’s real estate team and for setting an example for his boys. His annual event, the Chandler Second Base Pub Crawl for Cancer Awareness, donates all proceeds to a local recipient going through cancer. His spring golf charity golf tournament also donates all proceeds to a local cancer patient, and food and school backpack drives are organized throughout the year.
Wall has partnered with the Arizona State University Internship Program to share his successful business growth strategies. He also mentors and supports those on his team, as well as other real estate professionals, in order to empower them to realize their own success.