“Profiles in Service” highlights the people in our community who devote considerable time to helping make life better for the rest of us.
Jean Mastropietro has lived in Lake Forest since 1964, in the same home near Rockfield and Los Alisos. She came here long before there was a city, or even a town. In 1964 she recalls this area had no schools, no hospital, no mail boxes, and only a country store. She shopped at the Marine base where her husband, Pete, was stationed. El Toro Rd. was one of the few streets, and back then the railroad tracks crossed over the two lane street so you had to stop when trains rolled by. Nostalgically she leans back and says, wistfully, “It was sad to see it go”.
Jean is an active volunteer. She’s an original member of the Parade Committee (along with John Irish and Loretta Herrin), has been with Soroptimists of Lake Forest for 30 years, belongs to the Lake Forest Garden Club, and volunteers at Saddleback Memorial Hospital where she was recently honored as “Volunteer of the Quarter”.
JG: What do you like best about the City now?
JM: Convenience. Especially medical. In the old days you had to go to Santa Ana or Laguna Beach for just about anything. And the closest schools were Irvine or Tustin where the children were bussed.
JG: Is there anything you miss?
JM: From those days, the open spaces. Things were a lot quieter then. But lately, I’ve been missing the good restaurants that we used to have just a few years ago – Marie Callendar, Velvet Turtle, Yees, Red Lobster. It’s hard to entertain out of town guests
JG: What challenges do you think the City faces?
JM: I wish they had better term limits. And some of the homes need to be better maintained. The City needs to step up the enforcement. But I’m real happy with the recent landscaping of streets and the widening of El Toro.
JG: Let’s talk about your volunteer work. What’s your favorite?
JM: I give the most when I’m working at the hospital. It’s so important to relieve people’s stress. But I enjoy the other activities more because I’m basically a social person. So I enjoy the folks on the Parade Committee, and Soroptimists and the Garden Club. I’m a people person. I like to interact.
JG: Anything that gets on your nerves?
JM: Oh. Sometimes people get on your nerves. But that’s life. I’ve been a little disappointed with the Soroptimists because I think they have gotten less involved in the community, but their work is still vital.
JG: You’re so involved in volunteer work, is there any one person who inspired you?
JM: My grandmother. She was a midwife and made quilts for
families in need. I thought it was so special what she did. It really impressed
me as a child.
Here are links to some of the organizations mentioned in this article.
Lake Forest 4th of July
Soroptimists International of Lake Forest
Lake Forest Garden Club
Saddleback Memorial Hospital
Our other City Heroes profiled so far include...
If you’d like to nominate someone in your community who helps make life better for the rest of us in Lake Forest, please send an e-mail to DrJGardner@gmail.com. Generally speaking we are looking for people who have had an impact in several areas and whose contribution has been over many years.