Visalia Chamber of Commerce’s 2018 Man of the Year Sam Logan has committed 26 years of his life to his community, even longer to his Morgan Plus 4 car


By Paul Myers @PaulM_sgn

VISALIA – For anyone looking to find 2018’s Visalia Man of the Year you might have a hard time trying to catch him. Between riding around in his Morgan Plus 4 and his numerous community commitments Sam Logan is not one to sit still for long. 

As a member of the Visalia County Center Rotary since 1996, Sam has spent a great deal of time planning out projects and working till they’re complete. But one in particular stands out as an inspiring accomplishment. 

Last year his rotary club took on the task of planting about 100 trees in King Canyon National Forest. Heading up the project and about six months in he was having trouble finding and planting trees. And just as Sam started to feel the heat, he caught a break. Jennifer Kirk, volunteer coordinator for the park had just come out of a meeting where she had to find help planting 4,000 trees.

“So now I had to go back to the club and say that I wanted to plant 4,000 trees not 100,” Sam laughed.

With the help of Melanie Baer-Keely, the park’s native plant nursery coordinator, who Sam considers a botanist extraordinaire Sam, and a group of Rotarians and six boy scouts planted exactly 1,307 trees in a single day in Kings Canyon at the Canyon Campground. The others were planted by National Park Service personnel and perhaps other volunteers. 

“Everyone came back so happy, like ‘we did it, we did it’ because that was a lot of trees,” Sam said.

He says the reason the trees were so important at the time was because of how severe the drought had become and the havoc it wreaked on the forest in our own back yard. Between downed and dead trees, wild fires and the bark beadle eviscerating healthy living trees, he believed something had to be done before there wasn’t much of a forest left.

“Drought has killed 110 million trees and up in these campgrounds the trees have been devastated and it’s hard to have a camping experience and not have a forest,” Sam said.

Of course, planting trees in Kings Canyon was just his latest venture. Other notable projects he has worked on as a part of Rotary was installing water treatment decanters in the impoverished community of Monson. Water quality issues had plagued the community for years and left the residents of Monson without so much as drinkable tap water. In 2013 Sam and his fellow Rotarians worked to install under sink water treatment decanters to give residents water they could use and rely on. He remembers installing one of the filters under the sink where a large hole went through the floor, subfloor and right to the dirt. Worse yet a rat trap was right next to his ear while he was installing, which he wasn’t aware of till it was too late. But despite the trap Sam says he is glad to be a part of a club that sets out to make a difference in the world, and to do it as a part of a team effort. 

“I wouldn’t have put those trees in the ground by myself, put the filters in by myself. You know, for me Rotary is an extended family,” Sam said.

For a man that made Visalia his home in 1989 Sam has made a concerted effort to be a part of his community for some time. According to the Visalia Chamber of Commerce, Sam has been a member of the Chamber since 1992 and served on the Board of Directors for several years.  By 1996 he joined the Visalia County Center Rotary. And the laundry list only continues as he served on the boards of United Way of Tulare County, Arts Vislaia, Tulare County Symphony League, Hospice of Tulare County and served as a board member for the Business and Professional Women organization.

“Sam Logan stands out as a very special person who carries a love for the community of Visalia along with a passion to help others and the willingness to step to the plate to do so with his time and talents,” said Lynn Knudson who nominated Sam for man of the year. “When he joins a non-profit organization it is always as an active member providing leadership and volunteerism at the highest level…Sam has also been a great mentor to many.”

Hard to believe Sam has been able to do so much in one area while being so mobile. His favorite mode of transportation is without a doubt his 1960 Morgan Plus 4. What makes the car so special is the car is made by the British government, the only make and model they still own today. Sam makes good use of the tires winding his way through downtown on parade nights, and then making an 800 mile trip through Nevada and the easterly part of California. Sam says they made stops in Fallon, South Lake Tahoe and Sonora. He said another time him and another group had traveled through Yosemite, Kings and Sequoia national parks through three days.

Sam took ownership of the car in 1974, but his mothers bought in 10 years prior for $800. He says his mother bought it because it was a unique car, and coincidentally enough that very sentiment has earned him praise at car shows. Sam regularly enters his Morgan Plus 4 into shows for judging and for years he had been docked points for having a fabricated cigar lighter. At least that was until he wrote to the factory’s second ever owner Peter Morgan who replied the cigar lighter was in fact a stock lighter. 

At any rate this year’s Visalia man of the year is a man on the move. Whether it be to his next board meeting, Rotary project or driving around in his slick red Morgan Plus 4, he is working to make the community a better place than he found it.

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