Oakley Councilman Jim Frazier was honored as Citizen of the Year for his efforts on the council and his work on the nonprofit organization Friends of Oakley, which he co-founded with council members Pat Anderson and Kevin Romick. The former planning commissioner was also recognized for his dedication to the Special Kids Foundation as well as his involvement in other community organizations, including implementing a trust fund for the Nunn/Wilson children. Frazier and his wife Janet are also the founders of the Network of Care, a service that provides meals to families with a sick or injured child in the hospital.
An emotional Janet Frazier spoke of her husband’s accomplishments and virtues: “I’ve got five pages of notes, which makes me nervous because everyone else had just one.” She ended her tribute by saying, “I’m very proud to be his wife.” A visibly touched Frazier thanked his family, the chamber and his co-workers for the evening’s honor.
“Pat (Anderson) and Kevin (Romick), we’re the three musketeers, the three amigos,” said Frazier referring to the councilmembers’ work on community projects. “One of the reasons I became a councilman was to make a difference, and after getting on the planning commission, I went to every council meeting and I was enthralled. I wanted to be a part of that so that I could make a difference, too.
“If anything comes of this (award), what I would like to promote is volunteerism for our community. Our time is more valuable than money and if we can give ourselves to an event or service club or just a cause, then I would encourage it.”
The Volunteer Service Award went to Joe Ballard, a popular spokesperson for the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life and chairman of its newly formed Oakley chapter. Ballard is also the president of the Oakley Delta Lions Club and a member of the Oakley Chamber of Commerce.
Amid tears, Ballard, who is currently undergoing treatment for cancer, thanked the chamber for the recognition. “I never thought something like this (award) would happen to me,” he said. “Thank you so much for this honor.”
Steven Hartland, Youth Volunteer recipient and Eagle Scout candidate, was recognized for his community contributions, including blood donations to the American Red Cross, working with his local church and as a two-time counselor for the sixth-grade outdoor education program. “About my son,” said Hartland’s father Tom, “he’s a good boy. He’s always been a good boy.”
The genial Freedom High School junior said he was both surprised and honored by the award. “It was definitely awesome to receive it (the award),” Steven said. “My dad had kept it a secret from me so I didn’t even know I had been nominated. It’s very cool.”
Business Person of the Year Jeff Robidou of Les Schwab Tires was honored for his ongoing commitment and service to the community. “This is a great honor,” said Robidou. “Thank you very much.”
Vice President Stephanie Bates and Secretary Noelle Young shared the President’s Award – an honor given to chamber members who have gone above and beyond in their commitment to the organization.
For view video clips from the Citizen of the Year ceremony, visit the Multimedia page.