For just the seventh time in its 54-year history, the annual Citizen of the Year Award was presented to two of the three nominees over the weekend.
Receiving the honor at the Saturday night banquet were Lana Clayton and Elias Cordova, recognized for their volunteerism in the Riverbank community.
Richard Boos was also nominated.
The 2016 Youth of the Year was also named by the committee, from a field of eight Riverbank students, nominated by teachers, school counselors or community members.
Students nominated for Youth of the Year must reside in Riverbank, but several attend Modesto area high schools, living in the west end of Riverbank, which is in the Sylvan School District.
The eight student nominees included Vanessa Argumedo, Mayra Cabrera, Clair Helm, Emily Helm, Fidel Herrera, Lydia Hodges, Emilio Jimenez and Dulce Piceno.
Argumedo received the award, which includes a monetary scholarship to help further her education, and a commemorative plaque.
Emcee Diane Talbert, the Citizen of the Year in 2015, explained that Vanessa Argumedo has been volunteering in the community since age 13, helping in activities by the city Recreation Department, such as the Easter Bunny Easter Egg Hunt, and with the Turkey Trot.
She has served on the Teen Action Committee and helped out with the Sheriff’s National Night Out over the last four years, and, for the last five years, she has assisted with the Shop With A Cop program.
In making the Citizen of the Year presentation, Talbert noted that Lana Clayton is a cheerleader for Riverbank, connecting and promoting local businesses. She said Clayton serves on several volunteer boards, including the Historical Society’s Fundraising Committee, which is seeking to acquire money to build an annex wing for the local museum.
Talbert said Elias Cordova works with Riverbank’s youth and homeless populations, and helps with Riverbank Cares. She said Cordova has helped serve as many as 250 youngsters with his efforts.
The Citizen of the Year Committee solicits nominees for both honors from throughout the community, then votes based on the recommendations of those presenting the names. In the case of COY 2016, the vote was tied.
Although a rarity, ties have happened in the past. The first recipient, Bruce Blakely, was awarded in 1962, 54 years ago. The first tie occurred in 1969, then again in 1976, 1981 and ‘82, in 2000, and, most recently, in 2007, when Norma Torres-Manriquez and Scott Pettit received the accolades.
That first award, to Blakely, was called the ‘Man of the Year’ award, but by 1969, a woman, Glenda Alpers, was the recipient. The honor then became Man of the Year/Citizen of the Year, and the group of honorees referred to as the MOY/COY Committee. This year, it was pared down to just Citizen of the Year (COY).
The committee celebrates volunteerism that benefits the citizens of Riverbank.
Also at the Community Awards Banquet, the Riverbank Chamber of Commerce presented its Business of the Year recognition to Better Bargains; see the story and a photo on Page A3 of this week’s issue.