But last Friday, the spotlight was on her when she was named Antioch’s Most Impactful Citizen of the Year at the Antioch Chamber of Commerce Inaugural Gala, held at Lone Tree Golf Course.
“This has been a wonderful part of my life,” said Gougeon. “By nominating me for this award, I think you are nominating the thousands of people that are part of the group.”
The Chamber also recognized Gloria Martin as the Lifetime Achievement Citizen of the Year, Dozier-Libbey Medical High School student Erin McDaid as Youth of the Year, Higgins and Oak View Memorial Park and Markstein Sales Company as Small and Large Businesses of the Year and seven nonprofit organizations, which shared the Non-Profit of the Year Award.
“These are often people that do not seek recognition, but it is well deserved,” said Antioch Chamber of Commerce CEO Sean Wright.
Since its inception in December of 2010, TBA has given Antioch residents a place to express frustration and warn others about crime in the city. The group has raised almost $14,500 and secured a grant from the Pacific Gas and Electric Company to help repair two vandalized schools and cover the costs of an insurance deductible on the rebuild of City Park’s Tot Lot, which was destroyed by arsonists last year.
Martin, one of the first graduates of Antioch High School, won for her nearly lifelong support of dozens of nonprofits in the area, including An Elderly Wish Foundation, the Police Activities League, the East County Boys and Girls Club and the Antioch Historical Society.
McDaid beat our four other students to win Youth of the Year. In addition to earning a 4.0 GPA as a student at Dozier-Libbey, she serves as president of the Interact Club and an active member of the California Scholarship Federation and Health Occupation Student Association. Outside school, she’s involved in the local Relay for Life chapter and works as a Salvation Army bell ringer.
“I honestly don’t know what to say,” McDaid said after winning the award. “I’ve been able to talk to the other nominees, and they’re just great. I’d like to thank my mom for taking me everywhere.”
The Chamber decided to honor all seven nonprofit organizations nominated for its first-ever Non-Profit of the Year Award. One-by-one, the chamber lauded An Elderly Wish Foundation, the Antioch Historical Society, Brighter Beginnings, El Campanil Theatre, Friends of Animal Services and the local Women’s and Kiwanis clubs.
“A lively discussion ensued during our selection process, and everyone had their favorites,” Wright said. “It wasn’t about the work they did this year, but about the work they have done since the beginning. I think the winner is the city of Antioch because we receive all the services rendered from these organizations.”
Higgins and Oak View Memorial Park managing partner Nicholas Welzenbach and his family was honored along with the Markstein family, which owns MarkStein Sales Company, for their dedication to the community.
The Welzenbach family routinely gives money to local police and firefighting groups, and hosts Memorial and Veterans Day celebrations.
The Markstein family, which moved its company to Antioch four years ago, contributes to more than 50 nonprofits in the Bay Area. The family’s charitable acts in Antioch include giving to the Antioch Police Activities League and sponsoring the Every 15 Minutes programs at Antioch and Deer Valley high schools, which teach students about the consequences of drinking and driving.
“We’re lucky to have so many great people in this community,” said Chamber Board member Michele Copeland.