Just before Christmas, the period ended for nominations for Citizen of the Year and Youth of the Year for 2015.
Those selected will be named at the MOY/COY committee’s annual dinner, scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 16, 2016 at the Community Center. Dinner tickets are on sale now at City Hall and at the Riverbank Historical Museum, during open hours. They’ll be available through Jan. 14, 2016.
The Youth of the Year and Citizen of the Year are nominated based on their volunteerism and service to the citizens of Riverbank.
The first Citizen of the Year, then called Man of the Year, was Bruce Blakely, selected in 1962. The oldest surviving Citizen of the Year is Allen Trawick, who was chosen in 1965.
There are five candidates for Youth of the Year and three for Citizen of the Year.
The Youth of the Year nominees include three boys and two girls, all seniors at Riverbank High School. They will receive scholarships for their efforts as they move on to further their education after graduation.
Youth of the Year Nominees
Mikayla Stewart was nominated because of her “service in activities at school, and her work with students with special needs.”
Valleri Gobel has been a member of the Riverbank Teen Action Committee for several years. The group is involved with the Teen Center, among other youth activities. Also, she has “been instrumental in getting RHS Drama students to volunteer at the Haunted Halloween Hay Ride” at Jacob Myers Park in October. She volunteers at Movie Nights at JMP during the summer and serves as Ricky Raccoon or Dusty the Downtown Dog during special events sponsored by the city.
Nathaniel Martinez is “extremely involved with his church” ... helping the community through his church activities. He “participates in extracurricular activities at school, earns good grades, plays sports and is well respected by his peers,” according to his nomination.
Tim Brown was “involved in every community service activity the football team participated in.” His work ethic and integrity are above average, according to his nomination, and on several occasions he “showed his leadership and character in his actions.”
According to his nomination papers, Eli Vernon’s “most impressive accomplishments” are the time he spends willingly giving service to children in his community and his church. Despite an active school schedule, “he still makes time to help coach youth basketball, working with 8- and 9-year-olds, teaching basic skills. He is active in his Boy Scout troop and volunteers in community cleanups. He assists in projects serving the elderly, in city programs and food drives. He “has qualified for the rank of Eagle Scout, the highest award a scout can achieve.” He has been nominated for appointment to all four military service academies by Congressman Jeff Denham.
Citizen of the Year Nominees
Nominated for Citizen of the Year for 2015 is Anthony McKinney, who is a volunteer member of the mayor’s Budget Oversight Committee, which advises the council about city expenditures. He “assists in organizing activities for the Riverbank Chamber of Commerce,” including recruiting new members. He is a member of the Planning Commission, which helps guide development in the city. He has been active is assisting in the yearly Farmers Market, and Riverfest, among other community activities.
Nominee Pastor Elias Cordova holds three main church services in Riverbank during the week and two other meetings, in addition to his “six day a week employment in southwestern Modesto.” Despite his busy schedule, “he finds the time to work with the youth of Riverbank.” He has served on the Love Riverbank committee, and been involved in cutting weeds, cleaning up along the 108 viaduct and in the community gardens. He has worked with the homeless along the river at Jacob Myers Park, providing food and warm blankets for them. This year he helped organize 350 hot meals for the community.
Third nominee Diane Talbert has been chosen for her service to veterans in the Riverbank community. “She took the lead in getting the Royal Neighbors group to bring back the annual veteran’s luncheon,” recently completing its eighth year, according to the nomination. Talbert also finds time to help other non-profit organizations with their events and activities, including Riverbank Cares, Christian Food Sharing, the Riverbank Historical Society, senior lunches, among others. She also helps facilitate for individual veterans who may need medical assistance, financial aid, or transportation.
Nomination forms and ballots for Citizen of the Year and Youth of the Year have been sent by e-mail or postal mail to members of the committee, who will vote on both awards. Ballots must be received at City Hall by Dec. 31, 2015.
Business of the Year, awarded by the Chamber of Commerce at the same dinner, is accepting nominations until Dec. 31, according to their newsletter.