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Community Awards Announced At Celebratory City Gathering
Riverbank Chamber of Commerce president Anthony McKinney, left, presents the chambers 2017 Business of the Year award to the owners of Niftys Restaurant, Isidro de Jesus and Aminda Carrasco. The homespun diner has a long-standing reputation for good food and excellent service. Ric McGinnis/The News

Riverbank rewarded volunteerism in the community over the weekend, announcing a Citizen of the Year, Youth of the Year, and Business of the Year, all for work in 2017.

The evening was festivities at the Riverbank Community Center were emceed by the 2016 dual Citizens of the Year, Lana Clayton and Rev. Elias Cordova, who welcomed the friends, family and government officials who came to see the awards presented on Saturday, March 10.

First on the program was a social hour, with background music provided by pianist Jack Douglass, winner of the recent Riverbank’s Got Talent show.

After dinner, the pair introduced the assembled dignitaries who were on hand to present certificates to the nominees from their respective offices. Presentations came from Congressman Jeff Denham’s office, Senator Cathleen Galgiani, Assembly Member Heath Flora, and Supervisor Kristin Olsen.


Business of the Year

Next up was the Chamber of Commerce and the nominees for Business of the Year, with downtown businesses well represented. Nominated and voted on by member businesses of the chamber, they included Nifty’s Restaurant, on Atchison/Highway 108, and Vena’s Secrets, on Santa Fe Street.

Chamber President Anthony D. McKinney presented the Business of the Year award to Isidro de Jesus and wife Aminda Carrasco, new owners of Nifty’s Restaurant. The pair has been able to carry on the long-standing reputation that Nifty’s has for good food and excellent service.


Youth of the Year

Six young people of Riverbank submitted nominations for the award: Jesus Aguiniga, Raquel Colon, Sydney Howard, Jacquelin Iniguez, June Mireles and Alondra Zamora. All were present for the announcement except Aguiniga, who was busy performing in the closing night of Riverbank High Drama’s staging of “Rumors,” a play by Neil Simon.

Riverbank Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Daryl Camp accepted the award for winner Jesus Aguiniga. Following the awards dinner, he went over to the high school, interrupted the play’s curtain call at the end of the performance, surprising Aguiniga with his award, to the applause of the standing room only audience.

The Citizen of the Year Committee changed its application process this year for Youth of the Year. In the past, the community, usually teachers, school counselors or family and friends nominated the youth.

This year, the teens were given the opportunity to apply for the scholarship themselves, so the committee could find out from the youth themselves what and how they contribute to the Riverbank community.

In addition, the students submitted letters of recommendations from their teachers, advisors and others.

Also new this year, the amount of the scholarship award is the highest it has ever been, $1,000.


Citizen of the Year

When the final award of the evening was announced by Clayton and Cordova after the Youth of the Year was announced, nominees were Richard Boos, Maria Garcia-Leon, Rich Holmer, Kerrie Webb and Lindy White. All came forward except Holmer, who was out of town and couldn’t attend.

The 2017 Citizen of the Year award went to Boos, who was nominated this year for the second time.

He was selected for his work with Riverbank Christian Food Sharing, where he began by bagging food for distribution, advanced to driving the truck for pickups, then negotiating food purchases with vendors, often working for six days a week.

The Citizen of the Year awards were begun in 1962, originally organized by the Chamber of Commerce. Early on, the committee formed by past recipients took over organization and presentation of the event.