The semi-formal evening – which raises funds for the Byron Union School District – was equal parts party, political platform and peer recognition. Hosted by the Chamber of Commerce and held at the Discovery Bay Country Club, the evening featured presentations and awards as well as silent and live auctions.
Member of The Sounds of Excelsior Girls Chorus started the evening with an a cappella rendition of “God Bless America,” which led into the introduction of Teacher of the Year Kevin Lindell by Byron Union School District Superintendent Ken Jacopetti. Lindell was also feted by two of his students, who praised him for being a “strict but fun teacher who always makes me smile.”
“The thing I was looking forward to most about this evening was listening to what they had to say about me,” said Lindell, who was visibly moved by the evening’s honors. “But I still didn’t feel prepared for that. Thank you … but I wouldn’t be here if not for my colleagues. It’s a team effort.”
According to 2012 Chamber President Rita Caruso, the event raised more than $3,000 for the district’s three schools: Timber Point and Discovery Bay elementaries, and Excelsior Middle School.
“We had a huge success with our live and silent auction,” said Caruso. “Our local businesses, schools and community really raised the bar on the donations, which made this all possible … it was a wonderful night.”
Honored guests included State Sen. Mark DeSaulnier and 11th District Assemblyman Jim Frazier, who congratulated the evening’s winners and presented them with official proclamations. In one case, they also presented a sense of humor. When DeSaulnier stepped to the podium, he found himself speaking over the conversations of an enthusiastic audience. As calls for quiet ensued, DeSaulnier quipped, “It’s all right; I’m used to people being more interested in what’s going on around them than listening to me.” DeSaulnier touched on a few of the issues facing the state, including the proposed twin tunnels project and high-speed rail system.
Frazier did the same, congratulating the evening’s honorees and adding that during his inaugural term, one of his first priorities will be the Delta. He also intends to work toward reinstating the Vasco Road Safety Commission. “In light of the recent accidents out there, I think it’s important,” he said.
Other addressess included a State of the Town presentation by CSD board director Chris Steele, the State of the Delta by Discovery Bay Yacht Club Commodore Mike Guzzardo and the State of the Chamber by Caruso and members of the chamber board.
But it was the local honors – voted by the public – that highlighted the evening. The big award of the evening, Citizen of the Year, went to former CSD director and Discovery Bay Lions Club President Jim Mattison. An active member of the community, CYO basketball and the Chamber of Commerce, Mattison sits on the board of the Save the Delta Alliance and was the official Santa this year for the Cops for Kids program that benefits local underprivileged families.
“Anyone who knows me knows I have a strong passion for Discovery Bay,” said Mattison. “The one thing about this community is that everyone helps everyone out, and it’s nice being a part of that … this is a great honor. Thank you.”
Local Business of the Year accolades went to Intero Real Estate Services. Brokers and local owners Bryan and Leann Hogge thanked the community for their support and confidence.
The President’s Circle Award, conferred each year on an individual for outstanding support and work in the community, went to Cathie Marples of Amaral Marples & Associates.
“The chamber is proud to choose Cathie for this very prestigious award,” said Caruso. “She’s has been a resident of Discovery Bay since 1976. She is involved in so much in our community and is considered a pillar of this community.”