Each year the Oakdale Chamber of Commerce honors members of the community for Citizen of the Year, Junior Achievement, Community Service, Business of the Year and Lifetime Achievement. The purpose of these awards is to honor individuals, organizations and businesses who have worked unselfishly to improve our Oakdale community and help others. Mary Ann Heath was named the Lifetime Achievement recipient for 2009. The awards night will be held at the Gene Bianchi Community Center, Friday, Jan. 15, 2010 at 6 p.m. Tickets are on sale now at the Oakdale Chamber of Commerce for $30 per person. Seating is limited; reserve your tickets by Jan. 8 by calling 847-2244.
The following people and organizations are the nominees for each category
Citizen of the Year Nominees:
Barbara Findlay has lived in Oakdale since 1975. She and husband Jim have two children, Sonny and Bonnie. In addition to being a local business owner, Findlay was a member of the Song Birds with Shannon Duncan and the late Heidi Brunk. She was also in a band called Justin Time with Jim Ramont, Kurt Huhn and Ed Ragle. Currently, she sings with Remedy and Jim Ramont.
According to those who nominated her, Findlay is always ready to help in anyway she can. This year she is a Relay for Life committee chair and has volunteered in some capacity for the past nine years. In addition, Findlay dedicated much of her free time working on behalf of the Heidi Brunk Scholarship Foundation. She started and organizes a Christmas program to raise funds for the elementary schools in Oakdale.
Findlay uses her musical talent to perform at weddings, memorial services and donates her talent for many fundraising events throughout this area. She is currently collecting used and new instruments to teach music to children in the Valley Home area.
Findlay is a representation of the type of people that make Oakdale a great community. She is often found behind the scenes at many local events, quietly donating her time and talents. These are just some of the reasons Findlay has been nominated for this year’s Citizen of the Year.
Ann Farmer is the mother of two sons and married to Phil Farmer and has been an Oakdale resident for the past 20 years. Before becoming a Community Service Officer for the Oakdale Police Department, Farmer worked in the medical field. People say Farmer is caring, supportive and provides direction and guidance for the entire CAPS (Citizen Auxiliary Police Service) team that work under her in the Senior Outreach Program. She has been part of the CAPS team for eight years.
Farmer has a sincere desire to make life easier for the elderly of Oakdale. She attends SEAPA (Stanislaus Elder Abuse Prevention Alliance) meetings and other meetings to do with the elderly and fights for services here in Oakdale. Farmer speaks at different clubs/organizations to make them aware of what the Oakdale Senior Outreach does and what it takes to make it successful and the need for community involvement. Some of the programs she has instituted for the Senior Outreach Program: phone and electricity assistance, Project Lifesaver, and day-to-day senior visits.
She spearheaded the toy collection for Christmas in conjunction with the Family Support Network. Someone made a difference in her life one Christmas when she was young; she wanted to do the same for the children here in Oakdale. Farmer believes in helping others less fortunate, especially when it concerns the elderly.
Greg Rivera is a life-long resident of Oakdale, husband and father of two daughters. Rivera has been employed with R&T Power Equipment since he was 16 years old and purchased the business in 1990.
Rivera is a humble man with a huge heart. He was past president of the Lion’s Club and currently participates in the flag set up in Oakdale, winding of the clock and is the current chairman of the Children’s Christmas Shopping Tour. The shopping tour in 2009 helped almost 200 Oakdale children with clothes. Rivera is president of the Oakdale Junior Livestock Boosters. He coaches soccer for his daughter’s soccer team in the O.Y.S.L. (Oakdale Youth Soccer League). He plays every weekend in the choir at St. Mary’s Catholic Church. His band, Remedy, has played many fundraisers throughout the area this year (donating their time). He is the music director for the Christmas concerts at Magnolia School and a board member for the Heidi Brunk Scholarship Foundation.
In addition to being a husband, father and local business owner Rivera always finds time to get involved and is always willing to help the community.
Business of the Year nominees:
Basi Insurance Services, Inc. along with staff and president Randy Basi have more than 20 years of professional service in Oakdale with a total commitment to family and community. Basi Insurance continues to be involved in the local community through various volunteer efforts and sponsorships. Here is a list of the organizations that Basi Insurance supports:
• United Handicapped Society
• Oakdale Sunrise Rotary
• Wave of Hope MS Foundation
• Relay For Life
• Education Foundation
• Don Osborne Memorial Run
• Underprivileged Children’s Christmas Shopping Spree
• Knights Ferry School District
• Children’s Guardian Center
• Community Hospice Foundation
• Oakdale High School Sports Boosters Club
• Oakdale High School FFA
Basi Insurance is a long-time, established Oakdale business dedicated to the community.
Century 21 M&M and Associates
Century 21 M&M and Associates began in 1994 with John N. Melo and Larry A. Matos and two Realtors. Fifteen years later the company has grown to more than 750 award-winning associates, 60 of whom are located in Oakdale, and an outstanding staff. They now have 20 convenient locations throughout: Solano, Yolo, Napa, Sacramento, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Merced, Madera, and Fresno counties. The new Oakdale location at 1414 East F St. is home to their corporate office, where all facets of the company are directed.
Organizations that Oakdale agents are affiliated with are as follows: Rotary, Soroptimist, Central Valley Association of Realtors, they have agent members on the Oakdale council of Central Valley Association of Realtors, Oakdale Chamber of Commerce, Oak Valley Hospital Foundation, religious organizations throughout the city. M&M agents are presidents and past presidents of Rotary, High School Boosters, Oakdale Lions Club, Member of Board of Directors of the Oakdale Quarterback Club in addition to Oakdale Sports Boosters Club. M&M agents are members of Board of Director for Children’s Guardian Foundation, Member of Cowboy Museum.
A partial list of participation of events and volunteerism:
• Annual Realtor picnic: Proceeds from the event go towards the Oakdale Realtor Scholarship Program and the Oakdale Chamber of Commerce Scholarship Program.
• Annual Cantree Event: All proceeds from this event go to the Community Sharing Program of Oakdale. This year’s they raised approx. $11,000 to aid those in need of a hot meal.
• Hospitality booth at the Chocolate Festival: C21 M&M have been sponsors of this booth since the early ‘90s.
• Volunteering in benefits for various Oakdale residents
• The Relay for Life event
• Easter Seals
• News 10 Coats for Kids: This year they were able to collect over 4,000 coats. The Oakdale office collected over 300 coats.
• M&M agents volunteer their time with leadership influence with a variety of schools.
• M&M agents are involved in City of Oakdale commissions.
• The agents of Century 21 M&M and Associates Oakdale volunteer approximately 1,600 hours of community service annually.
Oakdale Irrigation District
The mission statement of Oakdale Irrigation District (OID) is, “To protect and develop Oakdale Irrigation District water resources for the maximum benefit of the OID community by providing excellent irrigation and domestic water service.”
That commitment to the Oakdale community has been the cornerstone of OID since its formation on Nov. 1 1909. This year OID was proud to celebrate 100 years of service with the Oakdale business and agricultural community.
OID as a business and the 75 employees are an active and giving participant in the community. A partial list of community programs that have benefited from OID are: scholarship programs, Oakdale Chamber of Commerce, various education programs, various sports programs.
This year due to extensive budget cuts experienced by the City of Oakdale, OID stepped in and funded the operations budget for the city pool to keep it open and to support all the pool’s summer youth related programs. Additionally, OID has and will fund critical health and safety programs for both Oakdale City and Oakdale Rural Fire Departments.
All totaled, OID contributed $156,000 in financial support to these vital city programs and services for 2009-2010 city budget cycle.
OID and its dedicated employees are proud to have donated their time and efforts to the Oakdale Community over the past 100 years. It is because of this dedication that OID is nominated for Business of the Year.
TAGS Consignment Boutique
TAGS is a resale store that has been in Oakdale since October 2006. They have added value to Oakdale by providing a shopping experience that is budget-friendly, while giving their consignors the opportunity to earn money from the sale of their items. In addition, TAGS supports green living through the recycling of gently-used and new items that are not in use. TAGS is an active supporter of local community groups such as Family Support Network through their donations of clothing, and The Oakdale Animal Shelter.
TAGS has been nominated for business of the year because of the unique shopping experience they provide to the Oakdale Community. Community groups can consign their items as a fundraiser. Their friendly customer service sets them apart from the larger chain retailers, and their budget friendly prices allow people to still get what they need in a tough economy.
Community Service Award nominees:
CAPS (Community Auxiliary Police Services)
CAPS is comprised of approximately 30 volunteers both men and women that donate 16 hours or more a month. CAPS volunteers work in conjunction with the Oakdale Police Department to help make Oakdale a safer and better place for the community to live and work. CAPS assists in making the streets safer by freeing up police officers to handle other calls. A partial list of the areas CAPS assists:
• Crowd/traffic control for parades, rodeo, community events, emergencies
• Canvassing neighborhoods when children have been found wandering
• Night patrols
• Vacation home checks
• Subpoena service
• Clerical duties – data entry, filing
• Daily courier runs to District Attorney office, Superior Court, traffic court, Dept. of Justice
• Parking enforcement
• Neighborhood Watch program
• Senior Outreach
CAPS volunteers visit seniors in the community weekly to assist with health, safety, resources and deliver care packages to them. Currently, more than 120 seniors are enrolled. CAPS is a quiet group of volunteers who have made a large impact on the community.
Oakdale Community Sharing
Community Sharing Christian Center Inc. is a private company established in 1984. Oakdale Community Sharing, prior to incorporation, was established in 1958. More than 35 volunteers who donate their time to provide food and clothing to 250 Oakdale families currently run the facility. Over half of the same volunteers donate time monthly to distribute food for the Salvation Army to those eligible in Oakdale. These volunteers donate over 1,000 hours per month collectively in collecting, organizing and distributing items. During Thanksgiving, 500 people were provided food to allow them to prepare a Thanksgiving meal in their homes.
They collect donated items and monetary donations throughout the year to assist in the success of the project. The Oakdale community has been very generous to this local organization, which in this weak economy has made a big difference to those less fortunate. Organizations such as the Oakdale Community Sharing make Oakdale a great place to call home.
Oakdale Sunrise Rotary
Oakdale Sunrise Rotary’s passion is to support the Oakdale community in all ways possible. 2009 has been another banner year of accomplishment from this small but hard-working organization. They have raised a substantial amount of money for local causes and have partnered with other clubs, groups, and the Oakdale community to make Oakdale a better place to live. Here is a short list of their accomplishments.
• Donated $1000 to Oakdale Education Foundation
• $25,000 Oakdale High School Drive to Survive
• $1,000 Oakdale Animal Shelter Walk Park
• $2,500 OPD/Family Support Network Christmas Toy Drive
• $1,500 Oakdale High School Sober Grad Night
• Partnered with Oakdale Rotary to purchase $20,000 Outdoor Theater System for Oakdale Parks and Recreation Department
• Annual Emergency Personnel Appreciation Dinner
It is an honor to recognize an organization whose efforts are so devoted to the Oakdale community.
Look for the Junior Achiever nominees in the next issue of the Oakdale Leader.