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Community Service Award Nominees In The Spotlight
City of Oakdale

Several organizations are in the running, being considered for the Community Service Award to be presented through the Oakdale Chamber of Commerce at the Jan. 18 awards dinner. Those groups nominated this year are: Central Valley Association of Realtors, Oakdale Council; Family Support Network, Love Oakdale, Native Daughters of the Golden West, Pacific Project Heroes and VFW Post 2922. Following is some information on each of the nominees.


Central Valley Association of Realtors, Oakdale Council

Central Valley Association of Realtors, Oakdale Council (CVAR) has been nominated for the Community Service Award because of their nearly 40 years of charitably serving the Oakdale community. Their members take great pride in donating their time and money towards worthy Oakdale causes and groups that provide services for Oakdale residents.

In 2018, CVAR Oakdale Council raised over $13,000 at its annual “Can Tree” event which was donated directly to Community Sharing. They raised enough funds through their annual “Realtor and Affiliate Picnic” and by personal donations made by individual Realtors and Affiliates to award (11) $500 scholarships to seniors of Oakdale High School and East Stanislaus High. Additionally, they gave American Veterans First $3000, Oakdale Lions Club received $1,000, and Children’s Guardian House and Community Hospice each received $500 in donations from the group.

The organizations that they contribute to, namely Community Sharing and Oakdale High School simply would not be able to provide the financial donations that CVAR is so thrilled to be able to offer. Their donations to Community Sharing provide for over half of their annual operating budget.

Central Valley Association of Realtors, Oakdale is a non-profit membership group of Realtors and Affiliates. They are a local council that is part of the larger Central Valley Association of Realtors, located in Lathrop.

CVAR-Oakdale meets weekly to network and market properties on behalf of their clients. They help support charitable causes and educate on local issues affecting the community. They hold two large fundraising events annually, “Christmas Can Tree” in December and the “Realtor and Affiliate Picnic” in September. All in all, over $23,000 dollars went directly to serving the needs of the community through the fundraising efforts and the generosity of Oakdale Central Valley Association of Realtors in 2018.


Family Support Network

The Family Support Network is a department of the Oak Valley Hospital District. They provide community outreach, health education, parent support groups, and resources and referrals. Their mission is to link resources, information and support to promote healthy and nurturing environments for children and families.

They have been nominated for Community Service Award not just because of the good they do in the community for those who typically fall through the cracks but because they do it with integrity, respect and treat clients as friends.

Family Support Network has been providing services to the community since 1993. They provide no-cost programs in English and Spanish to families and children in Oakdale and the surrounding rural communities. The biggest benefit to the community lies in their ability to direct people to much needed resources to help support their needs for housing, domestic violence, citizenship pathway, school readiness programs for children who will be entering the school system, helping them with the basics of academics and important socialization skills, women’s and parent support groups, as well as English as a second language classes. Family Support Network also provides basic needs assistance for families providing emergency food bag, clothing assistance and basic hygiene kits.

In addition, the Family Support Network has participated in various community service activities and outreach events. Through their car seat safety education classes, they have provided 187 high quality, low cost car seats to parents and guardians in the community. Through their food bag program, they have provided emergency food assistance to over 870 individuals and families within the community.

On December 5, 2018, they hosted their sixth annual gently used coat drive at the Family Support Network called Coats and Cookies. With the help of a generous community, many coats are donated to the agency throughout the year. In December, they create a fun festive day where anyone in need of a warm coat has the opportunity to attend and receive a coat, enjoy refreshments and share in the holiday spirit. This year, 858 coats were distributed to individuals, families and children.

The Family Support Network team is passionate about helping the community. They are committed to providing local communities with quality care services, with compassion, pride and excellence.

Family Support Network (FSN) helps many people who fall through the cracks. The clients at FSN are treated as friends, not just as clients. The FSN organization has implemented groups according to people’s needs.

Many people who had aid from FSN were so grateful. When they get on their feet again many return and in turn donate. FSN has received recognition from schools, the city and the Spanish communities.


Love Oakdale

Oakdale has been part of the growing list of cities who are part of the Love Our Cities movement on and off since 2012. In 2018 Love Oakdale saw a resurgence of community participation. This year was the greatest turnout of volunteers the event has experienced. Volunteers from all over town helped clean streets, alleys and aided in cleaning up senior homes. The museum, local parks and the library also received some much needed attention. Along with cleaning up and adding fresh bark to communal areas the volunteers put together countless care packages for the homeless.

Love Oakdale is a volunteer movement initiated through Love Our Cities. This year’s key volunteers, as well as the event, were spearheaded by Gina McCarty of Primary Residential Mortgage, Inc. (PRMI).

In 2018 a total of five churches participated in the event which was a notable increase from years past.

“For some reason it seems it’s been hard to get churches to participate,” McCarty stated of prior years. “The River has always participated and been a sponsor. This is the first year we had four (additional) churches be a part of it; that was huge. I feel like we put together a great team.”

Nearly 250 volunteers participated in dozens of projects throughout the city. Some of the projects included providing materials and building planter boxes at convalescent homes, as well as painting, cleanup and minor maintenance at schools. The Love Oakdale effort also included yard cleanup for an elderly widow and an alley clean-up in coordination with the city. There is some cost associated with this event and sponsors play a big role in what projects are completed.

“All the projects taken on by the churches, they took on the expense as well,” explained McCarty. “We could not have completed all the projects had we not had all the church support.”

The volunteer movement has been effective over the years in bringing together the resources of local residents, non-profit and civic organizations, private businesses and city-based leadership and services to accomplish a day of service work around the community. Love Oakdale is gearing up for another great year. If you are interested in being part of the 2019 Love Oakdale as a volunteer, sponsor or offer a donation visit or contact Gina McCarty at (209) 480-3303,


Native Daughters of the Golden West

The Native Daughters of the Golden West Oakdale Parlor No. 125 (NDGW) have been nominated for the Community Service Award because this community organization and all its members work very hard to raise funds and support the community.

“Many hands make for light work” is a motto this Oakdale Parlor showcased by volunteering and supports the many different community events. There isn’t a cause or event designed to give back that this group isn’t part of in some way. They coordinate and serve lunch for Senior Information Day each year, they pop popcorn for the Easter and Halloween events hosted by the City, donate scholarships to graduating Oakdale High School seniors and collect personal items for military overseas as a support for Blue Star Moms. They also make annual donations to Community Sharing for Thanksgiving and Christmas. The Native Daughters of the Golden West assist the City of Oakdale, and bring joy, along with community spirit, to local families.

Twice a month members donate personal items for the military overseas. These items include socks, paperback and audio books, playing cards, snacks, stationery and more. They donated warm coats and suits to local veterans and offer volunteer support to the VFW Post 2922 and Pacific Project Heroes’ events. They also manned a polling place this past November election.

Many of the sisters in their parlor also support the City of Oakdale through their volunteer work at Oak Valley Hospital, Oak Valley Nursing and Rehabilitation, Community Sharing, Oakdale Police CAPS Program and church choirs.

The Native Daughters of the Golden West have contributed to local scholarships for many years. Jeanie Emery, a beloved past president, was instrumental in raising funds and promoting the scholarships. After her death, the parlor decided to honor her memory in 2017 with scholarship. Donations amounted to $300. With the support of her husband, family and friends as well as Native Daughters, the scholarship grew to $3,000 in 2018. That amount has already been surpassed for a 2019 scholarship.

“The mission of the Native Daughters of the Golden West, as one of the oldest associations of diverse California born leaders, is to preserve California’s history and better the quality of life through active participation in education and community service.” The Order of the Native Daughters of the Golden West is a fraternal and patriotic organization founded on the principles of ‘Love of Home’, ‘Devotion to the Flag’, ‘Veneration of the Pioneers’ and ‘Faith in the Existence of God’. Individuals 16 years of age and older who were born in California are welcome to call 1-800-994-NDGW, e-mail to or check out their web page at for more information. Native Daughters participate in various projects throughout the State such as their Children’s Foundation, which helps children whose families could not otherwise afford medical assistance. Native Daughters also help Veterans, help restore Missions and Lighthouses, assist in other civic activities and much more. Join Native Daughters and help them help the Golden State prosper.

The Native Daughters of the Golden West supports civic participation on a voluntary as needed basis and they work closely with Jane Finkenbine from the City of Oakdale.

The Native Daughters of the Golden West organization was founded in 1886 by Lilly Reichling at the age of 19. She had a burning desire to put together a group of women to embrace and honor principles important to their heritage.


Pacific Project Heroes

Pacific Project Heroes donates its proceeds to programs that ease our Veterans’ and First Responders’ burdens. Tens of thousands of service men and women have been injured while protecting our freedom. Many suffer from Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI), amputations, severe Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and severe burns which retires them from our U.S. Armed Forces. Pacific Project Heroes have programs that look after those that selflessly looked after our freedom and welfare.

Each year the Pacific Project Heroes hosts an Annual Dinner and this year they presented checks to Sail to Recovery, Veterans Treatment Program, Delta Sculling, Bugles Across America, Oakdale Police Department K9 Unit, Stanislaus Consolidated FD Water Rescue. The mood in the room was palpable – the sense of community and gratefulness. When the fireman receiving the donation on behalf of his department gave a shout out to his father in the crowd, a Vietnam Vet, when the live auction item for a stay at a private villa in Mexico – donated by Three Amigos – was purchased and then given to a veteran who was severely injured in Iraq, there wasn’t a dry eye. It’s a great illustration of the good this organization does for our Veterans and the families that support them.

Pacific Project Heroes works at improving the quality of life for many local vets and first responders in more ways than just donations of money. This year they worked along with VFW Post 2922 and rebuilt a porch for a 94-year-old Vet who needed a safer entry to his home. Along with the Salvation Army in Turlock they came together to create Christmas Blessing Bags made up of toiletries and gift cards for those affected by the Camp Fire.

Pacific Project Heroes also host a Veteran’s Day Breakfast to honor those that have served in our military which encourages many to socialize and create a sense of belonging for our local heroes. Projects like Rivers of Recovery which set up fishing trips for veterans and first responders also create opportunities to socialize and enjoy a sense of camaraderie. Pacific Project Heroes knows that social activities create psychological benefits that can re-energize participants and provide the support and self-confidence necessary to maximize long-term recovery from combat injuries.

This year Pacific Project Heroes contributed over $80,000 to veterans programs and first responders asking for nothing other than the personal satisfaction that they are helping others who have kept our freedoms and community safe including the ultimate sacrifice.

A local non-profit organization that is made up of veterans, business people and first responders, they have spent the last eight years providing donations to veteran’s programs, individuals and first responders to make their lives better.


VFW Post 2922

The Veterans of Foreign Wars was established to assist veterans. Their mission is to foster camaraderie among United States veterans of overseas conflicts and to serve our veterans, the military and our communities and advocate on behalf of all veterans.

VFW Post 2922 is our local branch of this highly estimable organization. They have been part of our community since 1936 and meet monthly at the National Guard Armory. This group has donated to Pacific Project Heroes, awarded scholarships to Oakdale High School students, supported Youth Sports Programs and participated and donated to many organizations in this community.

Wreaths Across America coordinates wreath­laying ceremonies at more than 1,400 locations across the United States, at sea and abroad every December. The VFW Post 2922 auxiliary raised over $4,000 and provided 430 wreaths to be placed at the San Joaquin National Cemetery in Santa Nella, California. The wreaths that are placed aren’t to decorate the graves, but to honor those who gave their lives for us, to assure their families that they have not been forgotten, and to teach the next generation the value of freedom.

For the first time a Veteran’s Day Parade was organized to honor those that served in our military by the VFW Post 2922 in 2018. The Parade started on Lee Avenue and then turned on Pontiac to Fish Park. The parade was followed by a Ceremony to honor our Veterans.

VFW Post 2922 was nominated for the Community Service Award in 2018 for many reasons. This organization supports the Officer of the Year, participates in Rotary Fundraisers, and holds weekly memorial services and Memorial Day services. They are a non-profit group that sponsors the Oakdale Christmas Parade and in 2018 this post contributed over $4,595 to scholarships and sports programs for local youth. VFW Post 2922 donated over $7,000 to veterans and service organizations and they also teamed up to repair and replace a 94-year-old veteran’s front porch this year making it safer for him to use. This organization leads by example on how to honor and support our veterans; Veterans helping Veterans on a daily basis.