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Santa Maria Chamber Honors Ed Murray, Bob Orach at Annual Awards Dinner

The 97th annual awards also recognizes Heritage Oaks Bank, Salon Studio 23 for contributions to the community

Councilman Bob Orach, center, receives the Robert Grogan Public Service Award from the Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday night. Standing with Orach are Trent Benedetti and Glenn Morris.
Councilman Bob Orach, center, receives the Robert Grogan Public Service Award from the Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday night. Standing with Orach are Trent Benedetti and Glenn Morris.  (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

A top volunteer, a longtime city councilman and pair of businesses were recognized Wednesday night in Santa Maria where the common theme was the value of giving back the community.

The Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce and Visitor & Convention Bureau hosted its 97th Annual Awards Dinner at the Radisson Hotel with approximately 300 people in attendance.

New chairman Ed Carcarey from Mega 97.1 and Downtown Fridays spoke about the importance of business people being involved in the community.

“Serve your city and watch your business grow,” Carcarey said a pastor friend told him. “Serve your city with the same passion that you’re growing and serving your business.”

Recognized were people and businesses known for their community involvement including Ed Murray who received the Robert P. Hatch Citizen of the Year Award, Councilman Bob Orach with the Robert F. Grogan Public Service Award, Salon Studio 23 as Small Business of the Year and Heritage Oaks Bank as Large Business of the Year.

Murray, a retired stockbroker, was cited for his years of service to the community, including his frequent stints as master of ceremonies at events.

“This is huge, but so deserving,” Murray told the crowd with his trademark sense of humor. 

Earlier he remarked the trick to winning the award was having his son, Eddie Murray, as chairman of the Chamber’s board.

Eddie Murray choked up as he announced his father’s award, saying it was a long time coming. 

Inge Garvin from Salon Studio 23 holds the Small Business of the Year Award presented by the Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday night. Click to view larger
Inge Garvin from Salon Studio 23 holds the Small Business of the Year Award presented by the Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday night. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

“My dad, he’s totally deserving of this,” Eddie Murray said. “He’s pushed a lot of our clients and friends to give when they did not want to give. There’s a lot of things built in this community that are built because he pushed and we owe a lot to him.”

His community service locally began when he was called to help with a celebrity golf tournament, bringing actors — including his brother Bill Murray, John Candy and others. 

“That got me involved in a bunch of other things,” Ed Murray said.

The 36-year Santa Maria resident, and his wife Lisa, also have been active in Court Appointed Special Advocates working with several youths who come from families where violence and disrespect were common.

His master of ceremonies gigs propelled Murray directly into roles as president at the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Maria Valley and Santa Maria Valley YMCA. 

The community service also helped his business, he noted.

“Santa Maria’s a town where you can make a difference,” Murray said. “You can really join a board, a charity, whatever and get involved and make a difference in this community. And people will know it — they’ll know that you made a difference. 

He added, “It’s a town that’s so special and I’m so proud to be here.”

His childhood stint as a caddy in Illinois served as the inspiration for the 1980 film Caddyshack and landed the Murray brothers — Ed, Bill, Andrew, Joel, Brian and John — in the Western Golf Association’s Caddie Hall of Fame last year in Lake Forest, Illinois. 

His parents, who had nine children in all, instilled the importance of community service by being involved in various organizations, Murray said.

Ed Murray was presented with the Robert Hatch Citizen of the Year Award by the Santa Maria Chamber of Commerce. Click to view larger
Ed Murray was presented with the Robert Hatch Citizen of the Year Award by the Santa Maria Chamber of Commerce. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

“You want to feel like you’ve left something and you did something for the good of the community,” Murray told Noozhawk. “I feel like I’ve done it and passed it on to my kids, just like my dad and mom passed it on to me.”

Orach’s honor came as he gets set to wrap up 30 years on the City Council later this year. 

As someone who knew Grogan, the former 26 year city administrator the award is named for, Orach said he was especially honored by the recognition.

Through his four decades of involvement in the city, Orach has been active in creating the local youth soccer and other recreational programs. 

“It’s just phenomenal because you can be involved in good things happening, hopefully, for the community,” Orach said.

Brooks Wise, executive vice president & commercial banking division manager, and Valerie Moya, branch manager, accepted the top large business award on behalf of Heritage Oaks Bank.

In addition to applauding his employees for their passion and dedication to customer service, Wise noted the Santa Maria Valley’s nonprofit organizations.

“It’s amazing the good work that you do and it’s good work being done by good people,” Wise said, urging those at the dinner to pat each other on the back as thanks for helping the community.

Heritage Oaks, which opened in 1983 in Paso Robles, has offices throughout San Luis Obispo County plus in Santa Maria, Goleta and Santa Barbara. The firm also has loan production offices in Oxnard. 

Salon Studio 23 led by Inge Garvin who was joined by her team of stylists and family members, received the small business award.

The shop offers hair cuts and coloring in addition to makeup and facials.

In addition to these awards, Pastor Doug Brogren of Heritage Evangelical Presbyterian Church was named Ambassador of the Year while a pair of departing board members, Trent Benedetti and George Majoue, also were honored.

As one of his last duties, Eddie Murray presented the relatively new Chairman’s Award to Diane Alleman-Stevens, a longtime Chamber of Commerce Ambassador who also volunteers for the Santa Maria Police Department and assorted organizations.

“My philosophy has always been you give back to your community,” Alleman-Stevens said. 

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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