Barney Melekian
Bernard Melekian

Bernard “Barney” Melekian will be honored with the Léni Fé Bland Award during the Santa Barbara Rescue Mission’s 22nd annual fundraiser, 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 7 at the historic Rancho Dos Pueblos.

This year’s fundraiser — Big Waves on the Bayou — will be a casual outdoor event on Rancho Dos Pueblos’ private beach. The Santa Barbara Rescue Mission Women’s Auxiliary is organizing a dinner on the lawn overlooking the ocean, presented by Lorraine Lim Catering. Attendees will able to bid online for gifts from a silent auction.

Melekian will be recognized for his lifetime of service to California communities and his passion for positively impacting society. He has served Santa Barbara as the undersheriff, assistant executive officer for county Public Safety, and interim police chief for the city of Santa Barbara.

Funds raised at the event allow the Rescue Mission to offer a successful 12-month residential drug and alcohol treatment program and provide emergency services for homeless guests.

Last year, the event raised some $660,000 to assist people seeking shelter and recovery from drug and alcohol addiction. The Rescue Mission has helped 934 people achieve recovery in the last 26 years.

“Together, we are not only transforming the lives of individuals, but we’re also changing and saving entire families. Generations from now, people will be living in hope and freedom because of the Mission and our donors who make it possible,” said Rolf Geyling, Rescue Mission president.

For more event information, visit

Established in 1965, Santa Barbara Rescue Mission, a 501(c)(3) organization, offers men’s and women’s 12-month residential recovery, treatment, family support, relapse prevention, men’s sober living, academic instruction, and job skills training. Its residential drug and alcohol program has won regional and national recognition for its effectiveness.

It is the only organization between Oxnard and Santa Maria that provides hot meals and overnight accommodations to homeless guests every day of the year.

The mission receives no government funding