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Rosario Tapped As Top Citizen
Esther Rosario was named Riverbank's 'Citizen of the Year' at the Riverbank Community Awards Banquet on Saturday, Jan. 24.

Manuel Castano was selected as Riverbank's Youth of the Year, and Galaxy 12 Theatres was honored as the city's Business of the Year at this year's event at the Riverbank Community Center.

The event was hosted by last year's co-recipients of the Citizen of the Year Award, Norma Torres-Manriquez and Scott Pettit.

Starting the evening with music and a social hour, Vice Mayor David I. White offered a welcome at 6:45 p.m., followed by the introduction of guests by emcee Pettit. The Riverbank High School Naval Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps then presented the colors and the pledge of allegiance, national anthem and invocation preceded dinner, catered by Arnie Hof.

Recognition of past recipients was noted by Pettit, with evening then progressing into the awards portion of the program.

Rosario is an active member of Riverbank Women of Action and co-chairperson of its annual Christmas Luncheon, was co-chairperson for three general obligation bonds to build the new high school gymnasium and elementary school, and promotes new job development services such as Target's job fair for Riverbank residents.

"Esther has given selflessly of her time and talents to provide needed services for Riverbank. She is always focused on what is good for all community members without any concern for their cultural or socio economic background," reads the nomination. "She believes in a healthy community with a major concern for children. She believes in intervention and prevention strategies that will offer each person the opportunity to succeed and meet their potential. Her investment is an investment in our community's future."

Castano, the son of Lidia Nava, is the Adelante High School student body president for 2008-2009, a Step by Step program leader and spokesperson, a tutor in after school programs at California Avenue Elementary and Cardozo Middle schools and a volunteer for the City of Riverbank's toy and food distribution and the Salvation Army's bell ringing at Christmas.

"Manuel has become a true inspiration to his peers and adults alike over the past couple of years," according to his nomination. "He has shown himself to be a bright, energetic, mature and compassionate individual in improving himself, his school and his community."

In his efforts to deter alcohol and drug use among youth, he spoke at the county's Drug and Alcohol Summit in 2007, has partnered with Stanislaus County Behavioral Health and Recovery Services to seek government grants to publicize the city's social host ordinance, and help inform local businesses of the risks of selling alcohol to minors.

Vikki Peters, the manager of Galaxy Theatres, was on hand to accept the Business of the Year Award on behalf of the business.

She thanked the Riverbank community for supporting the theater, noting of the 10 locations in the galaxy chain, Riverbank remains the busiest.

"If not for our employees, we wouldn't be here," she also noted.

The Riverbank Community Awards Banquet is put on annually through the cooperation of the MOY/COY Committee, the Riverbank Chamber of Commerce and the City of Riverbank. The first Citizen of the Year (then known as the 'Man of the Year' award) honor was presented in 1962, with the Youth of the Year recognition beginning in 2002.