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Citizens, Service Groups Due For Chamber Kudos
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Oakdale Chamber of Commerce will host its 69th Annual Awards on Friday, Jan. 16, 2015 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., staged at the Gene Bianchi Community Center, 110 S. Second Ave., Oakdale.

Pre-sale tickets are available for $40 per person at the Chamber of Commerce office, 590 N. Yosemite or by going online to the Chamber website. They will also be available at the door the night of the event at a cost of $50 per person.

The evening will include a special ‘Lifetime’ Achievement Award for the Bacigalupi family of Oakdale as well as the presentation of honors in several different categories, including Citizen of the Year, Community Service Award, Business of the Year and Junior Achievement.

This week, The Leader profiles the Citizen of the Year nominees: Frank Burke, Christie Camarillo, Lloyd Kjos and Jaydeen Vicente and the Community Service Award nominees, Oakdale Rotary Club and Oakdale Senior Citizens Foundation. Information regarding all the nominees was provided by the Chamber of Commerce.


Frank Burke

You probably already know Frank Burke’s media story; Frank took Greg Leutza, a close friend with cancer, to Game 5 of the National League Championship Series. Frank caught Travis Ishikawa’s pennant-winning home run and then gave the ball back to Ishikawa. This story turned Frank into an instant celebrity in Oakdale and around the nation. While being interviewed, Frank always shed a positive light on Oakdale and talked up the town. Through all these interviews, Frank embodied the slogan of “it’s better to give than to receive” and represented Oakdale as a standout community. Catching the ball and giving it back was a true testament of how doing the right thing can be rewarding.

Frank has lived in Oakdale for 18 years with his wife, Michelle. They have four children and four grandchildren to keep them busy. Frank also happens to run AG Transmission Repair, a successful local business, and is an incredibly generous guy with his time and talent. He has also managed to find time to coach softball for 14 years with Oak Valley Youth Softball Association and Valley Magic. These are just a few of the reasons why Frank was nominated for 2014 Citizen of the Year.


Christie Camarillo

No matter where Christie Camarillo is, she is always promoting Oakdale. Tourism and local promotion are always at the forefront of Christie’s conversations. Her passion for Oakdale’s western heritage runs deep and as the Executive Director of the Oakdale Cowboy Museum, she enjoys sharing the story of Oakdale’s rodeo and ranching history with the Museum’s visitors, and various outreach programs that include schools groups, senior citizen groups, and service organizations. The ag education that Christie, and the others at the Oakdale Cowboy Museum do, brings a focus on Oakdale’s heritage and maintains Oakdale’s Cowboy Capital theme.

In 2008, Christie instigated a friendly challenge with Stephenville, TX, who also claimed to be the “Cowboy Capital of the World.” Oakdale was named the winner, and received national media attention. Shortly after that competition, American Cowboy Magazine voted Oakdale as one of the Top 20 places to live in the West, and The Oakdale Testicle Festival, an event coordinated by Christie, was named one of the Top 10 events in the West to attend. Christie was also featured in the magazine as a trailblazer, for her passion of promoting the American Cowboy and the western lifestyle.

For the past year, Christie has volunteered her time promoting Oakdale as the retirement home of Bushwacker , the 3 time PBR World Champion bucking bull, during his 2014 farewell tour. She has worked with his owners Julio and Kindra Moreno, coordinating media visits with CBS Sports, and online reports with RFD TV. She is also working with “The Champ’s” 30K Worldwide Facebook fans on shipping souvenir apparel and starting a Fan Club.

Currently, Christie serves as the President of the Rodeo Historical Society, an organization under the auspices of the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, OK. This is a volunteer position where she serves the members from around the world who share an interest in preserving the history of rodeo. Christie’s involvement brought positive attention and education to members of RHS about Oakdale.

Her outgoing personality, sense of humor and can-do work ethic have been a great combination for many community volunteer projects. We applaud Christie for her energy, enthusiasm and passion for preserving Oakdale’s western roots.


Lloyd Kjos

Lloyd Kjos has played an important role in our community and neighborhood events over the past several years. Lloyd has taken a leadership role as Neighborhood Watch Captain and is responsible for the Love Oakdale volunteers’ “Thank You” event for the past several years. Lloyd is the driving force behind Oakdale’s annual National Night Out events. Through his leadership as Neighborhood Watch Captain and his active participation in citywide events, he has helped bring the community together with city government to improve citizen’s cooperation with law enforcement and city government. Lloyd works hard to find ways to support crime prevention and improvement in the neighborhood. Some improvement projects Lloyd has driven this year include the “red-curb painting” project and the East Trail Beautification Project.

Lloyd is also active in the Valley by coordinating with Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital in Stanford; a hospital consistently ranked as one of the top pediatric liver transplant programs in the U.S.

Lloyd worked for General Motors during his long career and was named General Motors Man of the Year and Outstanding Man of the Year when he lived in Fremont, CA. He is a very active husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather to his large family and still finds the time to care for Oakdale as well.


Jaydeen Vicente

Jaydeen Vicente has been an Oakdale resident since 2009, but has jumped in with both feet (and four paws) to make the community a better place for future generations. In 2012, Jaydeen and other local citizens founded the ASTRO Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Their mission is to save the lives of homeless animals in our community by engaging local students in the animal rescue process including: fostering, working adoption events, fundraising, and marketing. Students learn responsibility, leadership, and teamwork while enriching the community. In the summer of 2014, Jaydeen was introduced to Stephanie Kupper, a senior at Oakdale High School with veterinary career aspirations, who has since started an OHS ASTRO Club.

Jaydeen is one of the founding directors for ASTRO Foundation and has been instrumental in the work it has accomplished. She often accepts animals that others will not take and has helped save over 150 lives since June of 2014. Many of these pets are fostered at her own home. Jaydeen works tirelessly; not only caring for homeless pets herself, but also engaging students in the process and initiating conversations in the community about pet overpopulation. Nearly all of her free time is devoted to this cause. ASTRO Foundation is currently raising funds to purchase a state-of-the-art mobile adoption vehicle which will allow Jaydeen and the ASTRO volunteers/students to bring adoptable animals to the larger community in a safe, temperature-controlled environment. ASTRO will be able to visit schools, festivals, fairs, and local businesses to promote humane education programs and animal welfare while reducing pet homelessness. Their long-term goal remains to build a no-kill shelter that will house homeless pets until they can be placed in suitable, loving homes.

Jaydeen also works closely with the Dream Foundation, a California-based charity that provides final wishes to terminal adults. She has been involved in fundraising and dream deliveries since 2007 for folks at the end of their lives wishing to create a final memory with their loved ones before leaving us. Jaydeen is a truly remarkable woman who cares about the well-being of others.


Nominees for the Community Service Award include the Oakdale Rotary Club and the Oakdale Senior Citizens Foundation.


Oakdale Rotary Club

The Oakdale Rotary Club, founded in 1955, represents the ideas of the Rotary Foundation and has been nominated for their continued efforts of providing their time and support to enhance the Oakdale community. In 2014, many Oakdale Rotary Club members, representing the club, provided their time and sponsorship to help other organizations and charities.

These include: supporting Oakdale Educational Foundation, Community Sharing, and Center for Human Services; placing new Welcome to Oakdale signs on the east, west and north entrances to town and cleaning up the south sign; sponsoring the drug store project at the junior high and the Legos Project at the Oakdale Library; planting park trees; volunteering at the SOS run; running the 45th annual Oakdale basketball tournament. They are also developing a new after school program for high school youth facing challenges succeeding in high school. Oakdale Rotary Club will offer mentorship, life planning skills, assistance with career choices, leads on internships and more, all to help youth be better suited to become happy, healthy contributing members of our community. The new program “Open Door” launches Jan. 26 at the high school with the support of the school district.

Oakdale’s Rotary Club also contributed internationally to fight polio, Ebola, and to provide an oxygen generator for an African hospital. Oakdale’s Rotary Club exemplifies the Rotary Foundation’s motto of “Service Above Self” and has proven time and time again, why they are nominated for 2014 Community Service Organization of the Year.


Oakdale Senior Citizens Foundation

The Oakdale Senior Citizens Foundation was established in 1999 with the specific purpose of supporting the Oakdale senior community and since 1999, has fundraised approximately $300,000 for that purpose. The Foundation does an incredible job of financially supporting the Gladys L. Lemmons Senior Community Center and other Oakdale senior groups, including CAPS Senior Outreach. Through the support of the Foundation, these groups are able to do projects, purchase much needed items, and provide services to the senior community where these items are not funded in their budgets.

In 2014, the Oakdale Senior Citizens Foundation fundraised $13,000 in four months in order to provide new furnishings in the lobby and replace 90 dining chairs at the Gladys L. Lemmons Senior Community Center. The Foundation also funded entertainment during the year for the dinners that are held at the Senior Center, made a financial donation to the Senior Center Volunteer Dinner held annually in recognition of 60 Senior Center Volunteers, and raffled off six $50 grocery gift cards at the Senior Center Holiday Dinner.

With the help and generosity of the community, the Oakdale Senior Citizens Foundation is able to provide and continue to seek ways to service the senior community.


Next week, look for profiles of the Business of the Year nominees: Academy Mortgage Corporation, Cowboy Toffee Company, Raley’s, Revitalize Professional Fitness and Stickman Ventures, Inc.; along with those in the running for the Junior Achievement honors, Veronica Becerra, Ashley Caro, Alyssa Cogburn, Chloe Greenwood, Stephanie Kupper and Anna Perrone.