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Oakdale Chamber Announces Annual Award Nominees
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At the Oakdale Annual Awards Banquet 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 is to honor individuals, organizations and businesses who have worked unselfishly to improve our Oakdale community and help others.

Pat Graham was named as the Lifetime Achievement recipient for 2010.

The winner in each category will be named at the annual dinner Jan. 21 at the Gene Bianchi Community Center starting at 6 p.m. Tickets are on sale now at the Oakdale Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau for $30 per person.

Seating is limited; reserve your tickets by Jan.7 by calling 847-2244.

This week, we review nominees for Citizen and Business of the Year.


Citizen of the Year nominees


Don Allen

Don Allen, a 16-year resident of Oakdale and a retiree of Evans Telephone Company, is known for his giving spirit. He is actively involved in various community projects and organizations and a generous friend to many. Allen is involved in every conceivable Oakdale Lions Club project. Among his duties and obligations, currently, he is serving as the treasurer of the Oakdale Lions Club, Street Flags; and participating in the Community Calendars; Christmas Shopping Tour for Kids; cooking breakfast at Relay for Life, Chairperson for the food at the Salmon Festival. He also regularly assists at Community Sharing; delivers glasses for Dr. Mihok; and maintains the Lions Club website. He is the National Lions Club Project President, taking on the task of raising a lab/golden retriever mix puppy for the Canine Companions for Independence.


Jerry Jones

Jerry Jones is a native of Oakdale, very proud of his heritage, and the city of Oakdale. He is caring, patient, giving, a man of integrity, trust-inspiring which makes him not only a great volunteer but also a great leader. He has been very committed to Oakdale and involved as he volunteers non-stop. A snapshot of his contributions to the community include: President of Oakdale Rotary; volunteer for chair for set up committee for Testicle Festival; help set up for Wine Extravagnza that benefited OEF; active member of Oakdale’s Merchants Organization; V.P. (Liaison) Economic Development for Chamber of Commerce; Executive & General Board Member of Chamber; volunteer (stage lights) for the Junior Miss Pageant; active member of Oakdale Council of Central Valley Association of Realtors; volunteer for the Oakdale Can Tree Breakfast, benefiting Community Sharing; volunteer for the Oakdale Realtor Picnic (cooking) benefiting Oakdale scholarships; Commissioner in the Traffic and Business Commission for City of Oakdale; assists city in selection process for new police (sergeant and captain); chaired the business and youth day for Chamber-scholarship selection process; chairperson for Chocolate Festival Fun Run.


Mark “Roper” McLean (No photo available)

This past year was no different in his volunteer efforts than any other year. Mark McClean has dedicated 18 years of his time for Spirit of Oakdale, Thanksgiving dinner. In addition, McClean has always been busy “behind the scenes” with the annual toy drives by donating bags of toys and for the past seven years, has donated 10 huge Christmas trees to families through the Family Support Network. Without fanfare or recognition, he gets a list of 10 families in need and McClean and friends load up their pickup trucks and personally deliver Christmas trees to them. He has shared the excitement of the looks on the kid’s faces even with the kids knowing the night the tree will be delivered.

He has been involved with the Annual Chocolate Festival, Economic Development Committee, the Oak Valley Hospital Foundation Gala dinners, OHS Sports Boosters and most recently, the OHS Quarterback Golf Tournament for the past two years.


Linda Royalty

Linda Royalty, a City of Oakdale staff member, doesn’t take her work lightly. On top of running the Senior Center, she is the recreation supervisor and manages several events, activities, and facilities.

In addition to running the Senior Center, Linda manages all recreation programming, volunteer services, special events (Spring Festival, Movies under the Stars, Halloween Parade, Christmas Tree Lighting, Farmers Market, Summer Recreation Programs, Kids Safety Day, Senior Awareness Day, etc.).

Royalty is also responsible for all city facility issues (which includes rentals, maintenance, reservations) such as the Senior Center, Community Center, Annex, Youth, Royse Memorial pool, City Hall, Public Works, Police, Fire, Community Development, all parks, etc. She is responsible for the Senior, Museum, and Parks and Recreation, and Youth Commissions. She serves on the Safety Committee, Senior Alliance, and Oakdale Senior Citizen Foundation as well as serves as the Kiwanis President.


Barbara Torres

Barbara Torres is a citizen who never boasts about what she does, her commitments, or accomplishments. This year has been a dynamic transformation for Torres as a true “Citizen of Oakdale.” A few years ago she began the journey that has taken her to her present position as vice president of Friends of Oakdale Heritage, the organization that manages and operates the Oakdale Museum.


Business of the Year Nominees


Murdoch Construction

The Murdoch family, residents of Oakdale for 21 years, started Murdoch Construction and was incorporated in 1994. They have made many improvements to Oakdale’s buildings; bringing new businesses to the area and providing jobs to locals.

Murdoch Construction has been working for the last year on refurbishing the Oakdale Shopping Center. They have built new facades on half of the buildings, and within the next year they hope to complete the other half. They will be installing a large LED sign at the entrance that will advertise the businesses there. Murdoch Construction is also asking the planning commission for permission to advertise community events there, (since the sign ordinance doesn’t allow that). Part of that project included cleaning up the riverbank and decorating the shopping center for Christmas. 

They also installed a temporary fence and Richard Gilton brought in 50 goats to eliminate the overgrowth. It looks much nicer with the fence up and one can see the river now. Murdoch plans to eventually install a permanent fence and a walk trail that connects to the city trail on the other side of the bridge. 


Oak Valley Community Bank

Oak Valley Community Bank was founded in 1990 and opened its doors in 1991 with a vision to make a premier banking experience available to the local community.

The bank, like many of their customers, is committed to long-term community building through the support of charitable causes and nonprofit organizations that provide services within their footprint.

In 2010, Oak Valley Community Bank employees volunteered over 1,200 hours to approximately 60 different organizations throughout the communities they serve. The bank is a proud supporter of numerous Oakdale organizations including the Children’s Guardian Home, Oakdale Chamber of Commerce, Oakdale Education Foundation, Oakdale Rotary, Kiwanis, Lions and Soroptimists, Oak Valley District Hospital, the Cowboy Museum, OHS Scholarship Fund and Quarterback Club, and the Friends of Oakdale Heritage.


The Empty Nest

The Empty Nest is a “dream come true” through the longtime friendship of Gwen Schmitt and Jeannette Lawrence and their decorative talents. First, bringing their wares to Oakdale’s Farmer’s Market, they then opened The Empty Nest shop in the Las Margaritas shopping center in March 2004. Shortly after, they were able to move to the desirable Third Street location and opened at 130 N. Third in November 2004 and their final move, just two doors down to their current location of 116 N. Third in February 2010. They offer greeting cards, French soap and also have See’s candy available as a fundraiser for Soroptimists. They offer free gift wrap for every occasion. 

Since the beginning Schmitt and Lawrence have been active in the Oakdale business community and supported many local events, always donating a gift basket for any local fundraiser. They are active in promoting the “Shop in Oakdale” program and are a welcome addition to the growing shopping opportunities in the community.


Next Week: A preview of the Junior Achiever and Community Service organization nominee