Hawaiian music, good food, raffle items and tropical breezes greeted Solano County residents as they entered Denverton Hall at the last night to celebrate the 48th Annual Citizen of the Year award ceremony and dinner dance.
Although the “tropical breeze” in Dixon turned out to be a strong cold wind blowing from the south, dinner attendees felt warm and comfortable as they stepped into the hall which was decorated with paper pineapples, shiny palm trees and other Hawaiian-related items. Many smiled as they donned colorful leis and listened to music from the islands as the evening got underway.
“I want to thank each and every one of you for coming to this very special night,” said Carol Pruett, chief administrator of the . “Tonight we not only honor our Citizen of the Year but our business, veteran and chamber ambassador. They all have one thing in common. They are all dedicated to making Dixon a wonderful place to live.”
The audience was then treated to opening ceremonies which featured Dixon Mayor Jack Batchelor and a flag presentation by the Dixon Veteran's Honor Guard/Color Guard. Then those in attendance enjoyed a dinner prepared by
When the awards segment of the evening began, the room grew quiet as event-goers waited patiently as Pruett, the first presenter, stood behind the podium.
“To be an Ambassador of the Chamber of Commerce is to give unselfishly of your time ,” Pruett said. “To be chosen as Ambassador of the Year, you are selected not by the community or other chamber members but solely by your other Ambassador peers thus making this award a very high honor.”
Pruett added this year's Ambassador has helped the chamber in many ways. From soliciting donations from businesses for events to helping with parade floats.
The crowd erupted into applause as Carol Parker ofmade her way to the stage to receive her plaque and flowers.
“It's an honor to win it,” Parker said following the ceremony. “I've been an Ambassador probably seven or eight years now so I am kind of always in the background because I am kind of always here and there. I am always on the move.”
She added winning the award is something she will always cherish.
Up next was the Veteran of the Year Award presented by Brock McMahon, commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post No. 8151.
“This veteran enlisted in the United States Navy on August 26, 1968 and following training, he was assigned as a engine man to the USS Iwo Jima where he earned the Vietnam Service Medal and the Vietnam Campaign Medal,” McMahon said. “ During the next eight years, he served on the USS Enterprise, an aircraft carrier, and a guided missile destroyer.
McMahon said the veteran, Paul Jones, currently participates in various veteran-related activities including the American Legion, Disabled American Veterans, the historic society and many other fund raising and community services.
“I'm very humbled,” Jones said as he stood outside braving the wind. “I feel that our veterans deserve it, not me as a person but all our veterans.”
He added he knew he was nominated but had no idea he would win.
The third award of the evening went to , and Chamber President Bert Gaulke was proud to present the Business of the Year Award to its owners
“To be selected for Business of the Year is the recognition that you have gone the extra mile in your business,” he said. “It's not just opening the doors every day to make a living. This business is owned by people who not only personally participate in the life of Dixon but participate through their business. They are involved in many volunteering activities. This is a business to be counted on to contribute to many different functions and fund raisers.”
He added the business has donated to many causes within the city and has participated in for six years and are very involved with 4H.
Cher Besneatte and Dorothy Luedke, owners of Curves, said it was quite an honor to win.
“We knew we had been nominated but it's never a done deal,” Besneatte said. “We would do the things in the community that we always do and not expect to be rewarded but this is truly an honor.”
Luedke said she did not expect Curves to win but she and her family have always been involved in community activities and she was excited about the award.
The Citizen of the Year Award, which was presented by past Citizen of the Year award winner Barbara Beckworth, went to a woman who is well known as the “Ticket Master” at many Chamber events.
“It's rare to find someone with such outstanding character who's been able to contribute in some many ways to our city,” Beckworth said. “Our recipient has served on a number of boards, committees, panels and commissions.”
She added Kay Cayler has also served on the city council and is on the Solano County Planning Commission.
“She is a leader by example,” Beckworth said. “She has been a vital part of Dixon since her arrival in town.”
Cayler, who was hugged by many at the event after receiving her award said she had no idea that she might be in the running for the award.
“It's a great thrill,” Cayler said. “It's a great honor. When you look at the people who have received the award in the past and then it's just amazing to be in their company.”
But it wasn't only the Chamber that gave out awards. Additonal awards were also given out by the 10th Congressional District, the California State Senate, the California State Assembly, Solano County Supervisors and the City of Dixon.