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Commission For Women Taps Benitez For Honor
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Sandra Benitez of Riverbank has been selected by the Stanislaus County Commission For Women as an Outstanding Woman of 2010, a prestigious award that the Commission awards to only 10 women each year for selfless contributions to their community.

Vice Mayor Benitez was congratulated Monday in a resolution by the City Council and will receive her award at the Commission's annual dinner on March 13 in Modesto.

"I have personally had the pleasure of working with Vice Mayor Benitez since 1995," said Administrative Services Director Linda Abid Cummings in her memo to the council. "During this time I have observed an individual who is not only a visionary but truly cares about the citizens she serves as their representative. On behalf of Council, Staff and the residents of Riverbank, we congratulate Vice Mayor Benitez as recipient of this long overdue recognition.

To list just a few of her accomplishments, Benitez first served as a City Council member in 1992 and has continued to serve on the Council as Mayor, Vice Mayor and Councilmember up to the present with the exception of a two-year gap.

She was chosen Riverbank's Citizen of the Year in 1999, was founder of Riverbank Women in Action, a group that has aided the less fortunate in the community for more than 10 years, and has been a long term member of the Riverbank Federated Women's Club and its president for four terms.

Benitez also has received the League of California Leadership Award by completing the curriculum and was selected for the Walmart Community Award for her community involvement.

As chairman of a community swimming pool fundraising project, she helped raise over $500,000 to build the new pool, co-founded the Riverbank Oakdale Transit Authority to insure seniors, the disabled and those without transportation had the mobility to shop, see friends and visit their physician; and was instrumental in convincing Galaxy Theater executives to build a movie house in Riverbank because of its central location.

Prior to "green" becoming popular, Benitez lobbied to transform the City and Transit fleets to be fueled by clean natural gas (CNG) and testified before the state Boats & Waterways Commission to secure funds for a restroom, parking lots, lighting and a boat ramp at Jacob Myers Park.

As a member of the downtown revitalization committee, she worked hard to achieve the makeover of the downtown and the construction of a central gathering place named the Plaza del Rio, which now serves as a platform for music, drama and community events.