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Chamber Salutes Communitys Best
Chamber of Commerce

The annual Oakdale Chamber of Commerce Awards Banquet is scheduled later this month, and this week we profile businesses and individuals in the running for 2015 honors.

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.

Tickets for the special celebratory evening are on sale now at the Oakdale Chamber of Commerce office and on the Oakdale Chamber website for $40 per person. For more information, call 847-2244. The Awards Banquet is planned for Friday, Jan. 15 starting at 6 p.m. at the Bianchi Community Center, 110 S. Second Ave., Oakdale.


Nominees for Citizen of the Year are Jo Harris and Travis Johnson.

Jo Harris

Jo Harris gives her time valiantly to the citizens of Oakdale, especially the children. Jo is very kind, giving unselfishly and never fails to help or head up an event or fundraiser. She often heads up fundraisers for local sick children, the latest one being “Love Leah” and has made the front page of the Oakdale Leader when she gathered and delivered items for the latest fire disaster victims. She has been one of the main soccer volunteers for 15 years. This also includes organizing the local competitive soccer teams. Jo is the Oakdale Jr. High’s PTC Secretary, OEF Board Member, Captain and Board Member for Relay For Life and a Lions Club Chaperone the last seven years.

Jo is a mother of four children herself, a grandma of one, and a devoted wife, friend and a committed citizen of Oakdale. She works four to five days a week on top of her contributions, photographs almost all children’s events including our S.O.S Fun Run. Jo is a kind, compassionate and caring individual, always willing to help. If it is in her realm she doesn’t ask questions and just pitches in to help.

Jo’s history of community activism speaks for itself. We are certain there is more she has done for Oakdale than what has been listed but Jo continues her efforts in making Oakdale a wonderful town in which to live.

Besides many families and kids benefitting from her efforts many people have followed in her footsteps and gotten involved in the community.

Jo gives “unconditionally” not expecting anything in return and that is why she’d be a great candidate to finally receive the recognition she deserves.


Travis Johnson

Travis Johnson is a local professional auctioneer, who volunteers countless hours each year to raise money for many organizations or causes. Just to name a few are listed:

Wine, Women & Chocolate auctioneer the past five years. Travis was instrumental in helping raise funds for the new Digital Mammography machine at Oak Valley Hospital. Travis’ passion for women’s health and wellness stems from the loss of his mother from cancer. Because of his expertise over $30,000 was raised.

Travis’ involvement at the Cowboy Capital of the World Golf Tournament has raised nearly $15,000 for NorCal Jr Rodeo Assoc.

Travis’ participation at Oakdale Cowboy Museum Cowgirl Luncheon & Dinner Auction has raised thousands of dollars for their program. He was honored this year through the museum as the top auctioneer and was presented with a silver buckle from Tres Rios Silver.

He has been the auctioneer for the Project Heroes since the beginning raising thousands of dollars for our veterans.

Travis is the main guy who started the Premier Recreation Longhorn Sale in Oakdale. Because of this great sale, consignors and buyers come to the Cowboy Capital of the World. They stay in local hotels and eat in local restaurants.

Taste of the Valley, proceeds benefit A Studies at CSU Stanislaus. Travis has helped raise nearly $25,000 in the two years that he has been the auctioneer.

Travis is the son of Dr. Bruce Johnson DVM and the late Dr. Britton DVM.

Not only does Travis volunteer his talents as an auctioneer he has a true passion for his community. Travis is Mustang born and Mustang bred, he will truly be a Mustang until the day he is dead.



Nominees for Business of the Year are Basi Insurance Services, The Oakdale Leader and Oakdale MMA.

Basi Insurance Services

Basi Insurance Services, Inc. provides comprehensive insurance services, which is a multi-line agency with a focus on Agri-business, personal and commercial lines.

Randy and Karen Basi treat their employees as ‘family’ creating a positive atmosphere to work in. Not only is Randy Basi generous with his employees by having staff appreciation days but seldom does a holiday go by without some sort of celebration. Employees are family as is evidenced by the symbolic tree on the wall with each employee’s name and photograph adorning the lobby for all to see. They currently employ 25 staff.

Randy and Karen give generously to the Oakdale community and support many local students and organizations such as: FFA, Stanislaus County 4-H clubs; Oakdale High School Sports Boosters; Oakdale Youth Soccer Teams; Sponsor two children’s softball teams; Various education programs; T.L. Davis Sports Park; Oakdale Educational Foundation (OEF); Oakdale Joint Unified School District; Drive to Survive program; Wave of Hope Foundation.

Additional support goes to: ASTRO Foundation & Oakdale Pet Alliance; Old Fashioned Christmas; Gallo Center for the Arts; Hearts & Flowers Foundation; Omega Nu; Oakdale Sunrise Rotary; National Multiple Sclerosis Society; NorCal Jr Rodeo; Riggin Stonebarger.

Needless to say if there is a fundraiser in Oakdale for most any reason Basi Insurance Services Inc. can be counted on to support these activities with their donations of time, support and/or financial assistance.

The business was started by Randy in 1988 working for Cal Farm Insurance and then partnered with Don Osborne. Basi Insurance Services continues to rate as one of the top 20 Allied insurance agencies. In 1999 Randy and Karen designed and built a 5,000 sq. ft. office at the corner of Maag and G Street where they are still located today. With a strong, well-qualified staff, including nine producers and 18 customer service representatives, and an office manager, clients are always met with someone who can help them.

Basi Insurance Services are dedicated and stay connected to the Oakdale community in many ways.


The Oakdale Leader

Formerly a longtime family-owned business, The Oakdale Leader is now part of Morris Newspaper Corporation of California and is one of many newspapers owned by the corporation. The Oakdale office also is the home site for The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. The business also has now entered the magazine realm, with the addition of the popular 209 Magazine to its family of products.

It is the continued high quality weekly newspaper and the addition of this newest product that have earned The Leader its nomination as Business of the Year.

While the paper focuses primarily on Oakdale and the immediate surrounding area, featuring news, sports, and local ads, the 209 Magazine allows for an expansion into a wider area and attracts an even larger readership.

“In some of the issues we gave back to the community by featuring a local charity and raising awareness,” said Leader General Manager Drew Savage. “We received grateful thanks from these non-profits for our contributions.”

Staff members at The Leader have been prominently featured in every issue of the 209 Magazine, which comes out every other month.

“It is a local lifestyle magazine that brings a variety of compelling stories to our local readers,” Savage added.

Newspaper subscribers receive the magazine as part of their subscription, bringing added value. Favorite stories each issue range from area restaurant reviews to highlighting local charitable organizations and events to ‘people’ features and travel ideas in and around the area.

It has proven to be a successful addition to The Leader family.

“The 209 Magazine was presented a First Place Award by the CNPA (California Newspaper Publishers Association) for the Best Niche Product/Magazine in the state,” Savage said. “It is in its second year of being a hyper local regional magazine featuring stories not just of the Oakdale community but the entire 209 area.”


Oakdale MMA

Oakdale MMA was established in 1988 in the town of Oakdale, California. It is the longest running martial arts school in Oakdale now teaching third generation students. The original art was Hawaiian kajukenbo and later kickboxing, boxing, Brazilian Jujitsu and MMA were added. In 2014, Oakdale MMA was voted “top MMA gym” by Cali fight awards and the founder, professor Tom Theofanopoulos received a lifetime achievement award. Oakdale MMA has created champions in all areas of the martial arts including junior Olympic competitors in judo, jujitsu junior world champions, kickboxing champions and professional and amateur MMA champions.

Oakdale MMA has been featured in countless television and media productions including representation in the UFC and Bellator fight promotions. The mission statement at Oakdale MMA is not to produce better fighters but to produce better citizens.

Oakdale MMA is a big believer in community first. With the help of all the amazing families who helped raise money at the Academy they were able to accomplish the following: Raised $8600 for one member whose wife had breast cancer, raised $5000 for St. Jude’s Foundation. They currently have 15 on scholarships who cannot afford lessons, children in the foster care system and also adult veterans looking for an outlet to train to bring stability back into their lives. They are getting ready for the Make a Wish Foundation fundraiser. They will be collaborating with Dr. Russ and Christina Porter with Orangeburg Medical Group to hold a Make a Wish Fundraiser at the Academy in February to grant a special wish to an Oakdale child. They believe that making the difference in people’s lives is what matters most.


Next week: A look at the Junior Achievement and Community Service nominees and the Lifetime Achievement honoree.