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Citizen, Business Nominees Listed
2016 Honors
Citizen - Antoinette Rodin Pic 2016
Antoinette Rodin


Each year, the Oakdale Chamber of Commerce honors members of the community for Citizen of the Year, Business of the Year, Junior Achievement, Community Service, and Lifetime Achievement. The annual Oakdale Chamber of Commerce Awards Banquet is scheduled later this month, and this week we profile those in the running for Citizen of the Year and Business of the Year 2016 honors.

Next week the Junior Achievement and Community Service candidates will be featured.

Citizen of the Year nominees

Antoinette Rodin

Antoinette Rodin is an integral part of the athletic boosters at Oakdale High School. She uses her own resources and regularly “donates” food items to the snack shack located on the football field and in the main gym. She regularly volunteers for games and opens the snack shack in the gym for events to make sure that the spectators have somewhere to purchase drinks and snacks. She also organizes the weekly 50/50 raffle during home football games and has raised thousands of dollars for our students. Antoinette has contributed to the Oakdale community through her dedication and support to the students and spectators attending school athletic events including wrestling, football, basketball, volleyball, baseball and softball.


Brian Lemons

Brian Lemons grew up in Oakdale, attended MJC and later Cal Poly. After receiving a bachelor’s degree in Ag Business, he headed back to the valley, to farm and to connect with local growers in an ag lending career. Brian has worked for Yosemite Farm Credit for 22 years, and currently manages the Oakdale office. He enjoys the opportunity to volunteer and help others through his membership in the Oakdale Lions Club. His favorite service activities there include distributing flags in town for commemorative holidays, cooking and serving at the annual pancake breakfast, and especially the purchasing of clothes and toys for disadvantaged children at Christmas. These are all an opportunity he takes advantage of through the Lions CCST as well as the family’s church. Brian is a member of the OJUSD Ag Advisory Committee, and meets regularly, acting as chairperson of the school farm orchard subcommittee of the Oakdale School Farm.

Joe Stillman

Joe Stillman became a member of the Oak Valley Hospital District Volunteers group in 2009. He was assigned to volunteer at Oakdale Nursing and Rehabilitation Center (ONRC). On average Joe gives 515 plus hours annually of his time to the residents of ONRC and volunteers daily Monday through Friday. Joe has faced struggles and challenges in his life that many would have just given up on life and has not let that deter him from making his contribution to society. Oak Valley Hospital District has nominated Joe because he has become an integral part of the resident’s lives and the Activities Program at ONRC. Joe visits with the residents of the ONRC on a one-on-one basis and he takes the residents to schedule activities—most residents are unable to get themselves to activities and Joe assures that they make it and is the number caller at ONRC’s now very popular Bingo Game.

Nancy Lilly

Nancy Lilly has spent more than 20 years working with the Oakdale Soroptimist Club that continually strives to improve the lives of young girls and women in our community. This year Nancy became President of the club for the second time. As president, she worked ceaselessly to keep this great organization strong and viable. She has spent the past year working with the organization, planning and implementing the Distinguished Young Woman Program. She practiced weekly with the candidates, daily meetings and rehearsals were held the week leading up to the performance plus a full day of preparation at Magnolia Auditorium. It is a major production. The growth that these young women make during this time is both amazing and heartwarming. After the Distinguished Young Woman Program, she began volunteering to help with Soroptimist’s major fundraiser known as Motor Madness. Funds from this have gone to many worthwhile causes over the years. Around this time also, Nancy offered to fill a statewide position with the club on their Membership Committee. Nancy began leading the readiness work for the Dream It Be It Program: Career Support for Girls. This included Junior High and freshman girls and putting dreams in action.

Sharon Arpoika

Sharon Arpoika is passionate about the community and works tirelessly for the causes that she is involved. Her focus has centered on causes for women and children over the years but the entire community benefits from her efforts and passion as they relate to literacy, music, women’s and children’s causes and volunteerism. Since retiring Sharon has tutored immigrants in Oakdale every Monday morning at St. Mary’s Catholic Church. These are mostly women who want to learn to read, speak and write in English. Many are mothers just wanting to be able to help their children in school. Sharon has been a member of the Friends of the Oakdale Library for years but only since retiring has she actively become involved in supporting this organization and our local library. She and her husband devoted hours to the group’s annual book sale. In conjunction with a generous donation from the Oakdale Rotary club, children in our community were given a free book at the library. Using her talents as a teacher and librarian, Sharon took on the enormous task of selecting the titles and collections for this project. During the summer Sharon encouraged participating in the Stanislaus County Library Summer Reading Challenge. Sharon also gave a presentation to a county wide meeting of all the library ‘Friends’ groups on starting a grassroots effort to help pass the Sales Tax Initiative that funds 88 percent of our libraries. Sharon also volunteers once a week at the Library. Sharon is currently serving as the Parliamentarian for the Oakdale-Riverbank-Escalon branch of the American Association of University Women.

Business of the Year nominees:

Ball Corporation

Oakdale Ball Corporation is being nominated for Business of the Year for their commitment to community, sustainability and “green business practice.” The Oakdale plant is a zero waste to landfill facility and has a recycling rate of approximately 90 percent. Ball Corporation collects and stores all metal bailers, all paper products and cardboard, recycles wood, CRV picks up the other waste for recycling or to be incinerated. The Oakdale plant is 100 percent landfill free.

The day-to-day responsibility of the Oakdale plant is to efficiently and effectively produce the highest quality cans for customers. The plant produces food cans for products such as almonds, salmon and tomatoes. This is the only facility in the Ball family of plants to house a draw-redraw line (responsible for creating salmon and almond cans) It also cuts and coats its flatsheet tinplate in house. The Oakdale facility is known in the Ball family for being involved in their community. The Oakdale plant and its employees have donated $26,500 to charitable causes and volunteered more than 300 hours in the community in 2016.

Cocina Michoacana Mexican Restaurant

Cocina Michoacana has a reputation for helping local schools, sports, and the people of this community by hosting fundraisers or donating raffle prizes. Established in 1998 by Gracie Gutierrez, Cocina Michoacana is an authentic Mexican Restaurant with a friendly family atmosphere. Catering is available and private parties can be hosted on the patio. The patio is also dog friendly. Cocina Michoacana is a big supporter of Oakdale. They host more than a dozen fundraisers, donating regularly to our local churches, schools, the rodeo and community members at large that find themselves in need. With hosting money generating fundraisers to donating raffles this year they have supported the Academic Boosters, Oakdale Music Boosters, Oakdale Revolution MMA Girls Soccer Team, Fair Oaks Elementary School, Oakdale High School’s Disneyland Grad Night, Make-a-Wish Foundation, Oakdale United Boys Soccer Team, the Canned Tree Breakfast and more. They have also set up a face painting booth at the City of Oakdale’s Halloween Parade & Festival and Oakdale’s Youth Soccer Opening Day to help make these community events draw a bigger crowd.

Cooks Communication - Oakdale Radio Shack

Barbara and Jim Cook established Cook’s Communication, in October of 1996. An open house celebrating those 20 years was held in October of 2016 with local businesses and representatives of the city and state dignitaries in attendance. The Oakdale RadioShack, located in the Save Mart Shopping Center on 1449 East F Street, is the only RadioShack location now serving Stanislaus County and the surrounding area. For nearly a century, the RadioShack brand has been innovating and inspiring as America’s neighborhood electronics store, providing makers, tech enthusiasts and DIYers with the latest must-have personal and home technology products. Barbara, along with her late husband Jim, have been a part of the Oakdale community for more than forty years. Barbara has been a member of Soroptimist International of Oakdale since the year 2000, serving as Recording Secretary, Vice President, President Elect and in the years 2005-2006 as President. As a member of Soroptimist, Barbara has been involved in many fundraising efforts to benefit local community projects.

Fitness Plus

Fitness Plus in Oakdale has been in Oakdale 20 years providing the community with reputable knowledge of fitness, athletic training, functional training wellness and rehabilitation. Fitness Plus provides a vital service to the community through the years. Many gyms have come and gone, but they have remained steadfast in providing a fitness option for our community. Brian and Corrine Ching have been a true team in the development of the gym. Brian has provided the structure and Corinne has really worked to develop the relationships necessary for the gym to have a positive impact on our youth and overall community. Their online reviews overwhelmingly show Fitness Plus to be very responsive to their members and are a family friendly, encouraging and supportive environment. The gym has a Fitness Center with weight machines, free weights, run a Fitness Boot Camp, Step and Zumba Classes, Circuit Training, Youth Athletic Training, Palates and Sliver Sneaker Classes.

Oakdale Veterinary Clinic and Grocery Outlet were also nominated and will be featured in next week’s edition.

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. 20 starting at 6 p.m. at the Bianchi Community Center, 110 S. Second Ave., Oakdale.