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Carpinteria Valley Chamber of Commerce’s Community Awards Shine for Diamond Anniversary

Many honorees include Large Business of the Year GranVida Senior Living, Carpinterian of the Year Asa Olsson, and Junior Carpinterian Jeremy Saito


The Carpinteria Valley Chamber of Commerce hosted its 60th annual Community Awards Banquet at its traditional location at the Carpinteria Boys & Girls Club.

The club’s gymnasium was decorated in diamond white, recognizing the colors of a 60th anniversary, and the big room was transformed into a light-washed and dreamy dining room complete with hanging crystal chandeliers. Carpinteria-based Rincon Beach Club and Catering provided the decorations and elegant banquet, and was one of the event’s many sponsors.

Chamber President/CEO Joyce Donaldson seemed to be busily everywhere during the friendly social hour, which was enjoyed by the 300 attendees, including event committee chairwoman Karen Graf and members Caroline Alarcon, Terry Hickey Banks, Marc and Carol Borowitz, Mary Ann Colson, Donna Lemere, Curtis Lopez, Shelley Nunes and Desmond Warren.

Graf opened the program. “Our community has been through a lot this year,” she said. “The theme tonight is ‘gratitude,’ and we are giving special recognition and thanks to our first responders.”

In addition to the award recipients, the chamber honored First Responder Heroes and Community Champions, including the Carpinteria-Summerland Fire Protection District, Cal Fire, Montecito Fire Protection District, Ventura County Fire Department, U.S. Forest Service Fire Station, Santa Barbara County CEO Office of Emergency Management and the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office.

Across the street, there was some exciting soccer action on the rain-soaked fields at Carpinteria Valley Memorial Stadium. The Carpinteria High School Warriors capped a wild season by beating Rubidoux, 4-2, in the CIF SoCal Regional Division 5 championship game before a large, boisterous crowd.

Junior Carpinterian finalist Mikayla Blair told Noozhawk, “We are so excited! Carpinteria High just won the game! We are the first county soccer team to win CIF section and regional titles in the same season.”

Blair, Anna Artiaga and Jeremy Saito were recognized as finalists for Junior Carpinterian of the Year. Saito, who plans to become a pediatrician, won the top award and will receive a $4,000 college scholarship. He was voted Mr. Warrior last fall. At the conclusion of the scholarship presentation, an anonymous donor doubled the finalists’ scholarship amounts to the well-deserving students as the donor was so inspired by the students’ stories.

Junior Carpinterian of the Year finalists Anna Artiaga, left, Mikayla Blair and Jeremy Saito.
Junior Carpinterian of the Year finalists Anna Artiaga, left, Mikayla Blair and Jeremy Saito. (Rochelle Rose / Noozhawk photo)

Another treasured award was Carpinterian of the Year, which was presented to Asa Olsson for her dedicated service to the Carpinteria community. Olsson helped found the Plaza Playhouse Theater and has dedicated thousands of hours to its success. She also works tirelessly with Girls Inc. to empower and educate local youth.

Other awardee highlights included Ambassador of the Year Fred Shaw and Volunteer of the Year Brian Falk.

Award Recipients

» Small Business of the Year — Berkenmeier and Sugiyama DDS Inc.

» Large Business of the Year — GranVida Senior Living & Memory Care

» Chamber Ambassador of the Year — Fred Shaw (Mayor)

» Chamber Volunteer of the Year — Brian Falk

Educators of the Year Award

» Sonia Aguila

» Nathan Casas

Junior Carpinterian Finalists & Scholarship Recipients

» Jeremy Saito (winner)

» Mikayla Blair

» Anna Artiaga

Carpinterian of the Year

» Asa Olssen

First Responders

» Fire Chief Ray Navarro, Carpinteria-Summerland Fire Protection District

» Montecito Fire Chief Hickman

» Ventura Fire Chief Mark Lorenzen

» Sheriff Bill Brown, Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office

» Kelly Moore, Commander, Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office

» Michael Scott, Forest Service, Los Padres National Forest

» Santa Barbara County Office of Emergency Management

» Santa Barbara County Fire Department

Additional Local Heroes

» Candi Burquez

» Gregg Carty

» Ruben Clark

» Brian Gonzales

» Matt Organista

» John Palminteri

Certificate of Merit Awards

» American Heart Association — Renee Grubb

» California Avocado Festival — Gregg Carty

» Carpinteria Alzheimer’s Caregivers Support Group — Linda Tornello and Jilla Wolsey

» Carpinteria Arts Center — Lynda Fairly

» Carpinteria Beautiful — Foster Markolf

» Carpinteria Education Foundation Inc. — Nikki Yamaoka

» Carpinteria High Future Farmers of America — The Bill Dayka and Shane Watkins Families

» Carpinteria High Boosters Club — Bill Swing, Posthumously

» Carpinteria Lions Club — Lucas Seehof

» Carpinteria Masonic Lodge No. 444 — Jeffrey Moorhouse

» Carpinteria Senior Citizens Inc. — Art Taylor

» Carpinteria Valley Chamber of Commerce — David Godfrey

» Carpinteria Valley Youth Athletic Association — Kristyn Whittenton

» Carpinteria Woman’s Club — Larry Nimmer

» City of Carpinteria — Dale Olivas

» Girls Inc. of Carpinteria — Gail Persoon

» HELP of Carpinteria — Pat Arellanes 

» Rotary Club of Carpinteria Morning — Beth Cox

» Rotary Club of Carpinteria Noon — Alec Hardy

» Santa Barbara County SCORE — John Richardson

» United Boys & Girls Club of Carpinteria — Diana Rigby

The sponsors included Title Sponsor Montecito Bank & Trust, Gold Sponsors Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, GranVida Senior Living & Memory Care, Hickey Bros. Land Co. Inc., Latitude 34 Technologies, Meister & Nunes, Rabobank and many others. Flora contributors included Hilltop Flowers, Island View Nursery, Myriad Flowers, Westland Floral and floral designer Vera Welty.

The Carpinteria Valley Chamber of Commerce is dedicated to creating a healthy local economy and building a strong environment for economic growth and sustainability. It represents business to government, coordinates educational forums, hosts networking events, advocates for business-friendly legislation and promotes community.

Click here for more information, or call Donaldson at 805.684.5479.

Noozhawk contributing writer Rochelle Rose can be reached at [email protected]. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkSociety, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Become a fan of Noozhawk on Facebook.

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