The Patterson-Westley Chamber of Commerce invites you to attend the first annual Community Service Awards on Saturday, July 27 at the Masonic Lodge in Patterson. The awards ceremony, to be hosted by Sheriff Jeff Dirkse, will celebrate and honor outstanding citizens in the community.

Awards will be given to three influential, impactful members of the community, and one business: Man of the Year, Ken Herger; Woman of the Year, Naomi Jacobson; Volunteer of the Year, Juanzette Hunter and Business of the Year, JP & Sons Trucking Inc. have all been chosen to receive awards in the event’s inaugural year.

“We want to put a positive spotlight on members of the community. We really want to celebrate these people because they do a lot for our community and they really are outstanding citizens,” said Joanne Marci, Patterson-Westley Chamber of Commerce Treasurer.

Man of the Year

Serving as Farm Equipment Curator for the Patterson Township Historical Society, Ken Herger has an affinity for Patterson’s agricultural past. In 2015, Herger formed the Barnstormers, an extension of the Historical Society that focuses on collecting, preserving, displaying and restoring antique farm equipment. The Barnstormers have been part of the Apricot Fiesta, offering members of the community a chance to awe at the beauty of Patterson’s past through their downtown display, and parade. They also have a display at the Fair this week.

“What he’s done in the last four years or so is rather phenomenal,” said Patterson Irrigator Publisher Emeritus, Ron Swift.

Under Herger’s leadership, the Barnstormers have been able to grow and flourish, packing an agenda full of progressive events in the community. Recently, the Barnstormers awarded students with a P.R.I.D.E. scholarship, and are currently seeking ways to bring an agricultural museum to Patterson so that residents can enjoy the town’s unique agricultural past that has driven the community to where it currently is. This town’s, and region’s identity rests securely in the hands of Hergers’ Barnstormers.

Woman of the Year

Naomi Jacobson has been a Patterson resident for 30 years. In those years she has served as a board member for the Patterson-Westley Chamber of Commerce, served as a member of the City of Patterson General Plan Advisory Committee, coached boys T-Ball and girls softball, was a Secretary for Saint Vincent De Paul, and for the last five years she has been the Chairman for the Patterson Christmas parade.

“I was involved with her the first year that I came to Patterson, and I couldn’t believe how much work she did to get that parade going,” said John Kilcoyne, Vice President for the Chamber.

Jacobson is responsible for the recent growth of the parade, working to implement new elements, such as last years “Candy Cane Hunt” to ensure that the tradition continues to grow and be different. The social media for the community to vote for their favorite float to receive the “People’s Choice” awards was put into action under Jacobson’s tenure. In the past, Jacobson has also played an integral role in the development of Catholic ethical principles as a CCD teacher at Sacred Heart Catholic School, and founded Sacred Heart Christian Service Club in 2001 assisting children with community service acts.

Volunteer of the Year

Juanzette Hunter has been actively involved in the community for over 25 years. She has been active with the Patterson Soroptimists and Apricot Fiesta board for over 13 years. Hunter loves mentoring the youth, and credits Delta Charter School, where she is currently employed, with helping her to do so by giving her the opportunity to coach cheerleading and volunteer with the Delta Charter S-Club.

“When you say Soroptomist, you think Juanzette; she does so many wonderful things with them” said one active community member. “She is part of the Chamber, she helps with the Apricot Fiesta pageant, she coaches cheer; she is the epitome of a volunteer. The kids love her and her goal for the youth in this community is to help them grow up and be wonderful outstanding citizens.”

Hunter has been credited by many people in the community for helping to see big ideas come to fruition, and has helped to pave successful paths for many children.

“Juanzette always has a smile. If you ask her to do something she does it with a smile on her face, always. Like a true volunteer, she doesn’t do things for the recognition, she does it ‘cause she loves doing it,” said another community activist.

Business of the Year

Juan and Sandra Perez are the family backbone of Business of the Year, JP & Sons Trucking Inc. Mr. and Mrs. Perez are Patterson natives, and have played a substantial role in the community’s youth sporting programs. Apart from running JP & Sons, Mr. Perez sits as the president of the Patterson Ravens Youth Football Organization. Mrs. Perez can be found working the concession stands during games, and together they have helped to transform the program into a well-organized local youth sporting enterprise. The two love to work with the youth, and often sponsor children who would like to play or cheer for the organization but are unable to do so due to financial situations. 

“Juan and Sandra have helped a lot of families in the community. They have turned the (Ravens organization) into one big family. They do this out of the greatness in their hearts, with no expectations in return,” said one member of the community.

County Supervisor Jim DeMartini will be presenting recipients with a letter of recognition from the County. Each recipient will also receive a letter of recognition from the City, and from U.S. Representative Josh Harder, though Harder will not be present at the event himself; he will send a representative from his office to attend the Service Awards on his behalf.

The event will feature door prizes, and will be catered by Francesca’s Restaurant and Lounge. Marinated tri-tip, grilled salmon, vegan bolognese, rice pilaf, and seasoned vegetables will be served alongside red and white table wines.

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