Mayor of Burbank Konstantine Anthony congratulated longtime resident Janet Diel with the Key to the City on Tuesday, Jan. 10.
This offering took place during a City Council meeting and was a surprise to Diel, who was in attendance with her relatives, friends and colleagues. Four out of five of her children, Jennifer, Jossie, Joey, and Jason, were present, as were two grandchildren of Diel’s, Andrew and Abigail. Members of the Burbank Family Service Agency, Kids’ Community Dental Clinic, Burbank Tournament of Roses Association, and Burbank Human Relations Council who have worked with Diel were also at the meeting.
After calling Diel to stand beside him, Anthony discussed the roles she has carried out in Burbank over the years. This includes being a member of the Burbank Coordinating Council for 35 years, where Diel was president for a decade and has led the holiday basket and campership programs. Additionally, Diel has been a Burbank Tournament of Roses Association contributor for more than 35 years and has dedicated her time to the Burbank Human Relations Council, the Burbank Domestic Violence Task Force, Relay for Life, parent-teacher associations of Burbank schools, the Burbank Advisory Council on Disabilities, the Burbank Unified School District School Facilities Oversight Committee and more. She is also a loyal member of the Burbank Transportation Commission, where she has been involved since 1994 and has filled the positions of vice chair and chair. For her extensive efforts in giving back to the community, Diel was one of nine women named Women of the Year of the 28th Congressional District by Rep. Adam Schiff in 2016.
Diel first met Anthony in 2017 as he was running for a council seat. The two collaborated professionally when Anthony went on to join the Burbank Transportation Commission. Anthony stated that “for years,” he’s been planning on awarding the Key to the City to Diel, whom he referred to as his “Burbank mom.”
“There’s not enough paper to tell you what Janet has done for the city,” Anthony said. “As the mayor, I get the pleasure of giving the Key to the City to people who have gone above and beyond in their service. I’m talking about decades of service. I’ve waited years to give this to Janet because she deserves it.”
The audience applauded as Diel and Anthony embraced before Anthony handed the key to Diel. The honoree became emotional as she spoke about her appreciation for the acknowledgment.
“I am so honored by this,” Diel said. She added, “I am so grateful to my family, and all of you are my family. You’re not just friends. You’re my family.”
“I’m so blessed, so blessed to be able to continue working and serving this community,” Diel concluded. “Everybody here is so important, not just in my life, but in our community. And thank you for this amazing, amazing honor.”
Next, Diel took photos with Anthony and her family members as she was presented with a bouquet of roses in celebration of her earning the prestigious accolade.
The Key to the City is a rare award, as the mayor is only permitted to hand out two keys annually. Anthony tells us he felt inspired to provide Diel with the Key to the City due to her enduring devotion to supporting disadvantaged groups throughout Burbank.
“Janet has been such an integral part of the Burbank community that I couldn’t think of any person more deserving of such a high honor,” Anthony said. “The Key to the City is only bestowed to those individuals that go above and beyond in service to their neighbors and community. Janet exemplifies everything that Burbank aspires to be with her advocacy, activism, and commitment to helping those in need.”
Diel says she was “gobsmacked, stunned” to receive the Key to the City, which is now hanging in the front hall of her home. The philanthropic community member emphasized the importance of generosity as she talked about her history of lending a hand to fellow Burbankers together with her family.
“My family took me out to dinner, my friends gave me roses, and I felt so special … just thinking how honored and humbled to be thought of by our mayor and community. Everything I have done with my husband, Hank, and children by my side at every activity and service project has been our way of life,” Diel said. “By giving to others, we receive more in the love and kindness returned! I am truly blessed!”