A quick scan of the faces in the Percy Bakker Community Center's main dining room summed up Cal Camara's quarter century as the administrator of the Hesperia Recreation and Park District.
City leaders, school officials, park board members and district staffers were there. So were Hesperia residents and others from around the Victor Valley who connected with Camara during his long journey.
"How wonderful it is to have someone like Cal Camara these past 25 years," park board member Mike Limbaugh said during Camara's retirement party last Saturday night. "I learned from Cal that it's not always about an individual. It's about working for the common good.... He's been a pleasure to work with."
New board member Kelly Gregg thanked Camara for welcoming him.
"I want to tell my gratitude for him taking me under his wings," Gregg said.
But there were light moments too. Gregg read a letter from Camara's former pastor, the Rev. George Woodward, who spoke of Camara's virtues as well as some comical shortcomings.
"The man cannot ski," Woodward wrote. "He cannot shoot straight either. Don't go hunting with him."
Camara's longtime secretary Rachel Thomas spoke emotionally about her boss.
"Cal and I worked together for a long time. It's going to be hard without you."
Camara also received a few ringing endorsements from family members.
"He's been there no matter what," daughter Megan said.
During the event, several organizations and individuals presented awards to Camara for his years of service including the Equestrian Council of Hesperia, the City of Hesperia, the County of San Bernardino, and the Hesperia Area Recreation District.
Mayor Mike Leonard applauded Camara for his accomplishments.
"He's a great guy," Leonard said. "He's done a lot for our city. Cal, you're going to be missed."