The California Rental Association is saddened to share the news of the passing of a longtime CRA member Don Cruikshank on November 24, 2023.
Don Cruikshank (pictured at left) ran a successful equipment and event rental business, a legacy continued by his children, who also work in the rental industry.
He moved to the area as a 4-year-old in 1957 and attended elementary school in Newhall before going off to Alemany High. He studied to become an emergency medical technician at College of the Canyons before working as a paramedic for about eight years.
Cruikshank and his business partner Mike Redmond purchased a business that they turned into AV Equipment Rentals in 1978. A-V was acquired by Sunbelt Rentals in 2022.
He steadily gained a reputation as not only a sound businessman, but also one who gave back, according to those who knew him.
“Don was a very nice man, a good father and a good businessman who was well-respected in the community and always willing to help the local nonprofits,” said Signal Publisher Richard Budman, who added he always knew Cruikshank to be someone supportive of the community.
The success and growth of that company allowed Cruikshank to give back to College of the Canyons, which became a community partner for his burgeoning business, according to its website.
He would later finish his associate’s degree there in 2000, after decades of hiring the college’s students at AV. The college later honored his contributions by naming him to its Alumni Hall of Fame.
Santa Clarita City Councilman Bill Miranda named Cruikshank to the city’s Parks, Recreation and Community Services Commission in February 2016, taking the place of Duane Harte, whom he considered a friend and recognized during his appointment.
During his appointment Feb. 23, 2016, Cruikshank also thanked his father, who was a 93-year-old World War II veteran at the time, who had the forethought, or the dumb luck, he joked, “to move out to ‘the sticks,’” which is what his father called Newhall at the time.
“He allowed me to grow up in this great community,” Cruikshank said to the City Council during his appointment, “and I’m thankful for the opportunity to give back to this great community. It has been phenomenal to my family.”
“While he was extremely invested in his businesses and philanthropic commitments, it was clear that family was our father’s first priority. Growing up, he never missed a game or event of mine or my brothers. In fact, usually he was on the sidelines coaching. His grandchildren felt the same support and mentorship as he became very actively involved in the marching band at Valencia High School, supporting his grandson, and in cheer at Valencia High School supporting his eldest granddaughter.”
Cruikshank’s son Rob also made comments to the newspaper:
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