Rancho Cordova Honors Volunteers
Cordova Community Council pick for Rancho Cordovan of the Year is Tracey Harris. Said MC Ken Rudolph at the awards presentation, “Tracey... does not set his schedule for time off until he knows when he will be need-ed to help make the fireworks explode at the Fourth of July or help the Air-show fly.” --Photos by Rick Sloan
Jenny Arnez, third from left, accepted the award for Campus Life at Mills Middle School – Outstanding Service by a Faith Organization. “Campus Life is now revving up at Mitchell Middle School,” said Ken Rudolph, MC at the Community Volunteer Awards ceremony. “Plans are in motion to expand to Cordova High School as well.” --Photo by Rick Sloan
On March 10, at “Get Your Golden Ticket,” the Community Volunteer Awards program, Tracey Harris was named the Rancho Cordovan of the Year. Harris received the honor for his untiring work for the community over a period of years, in many capacities, including helping Moose Lodge golf tournament to raise more than $54,000 for the Cordova Food Locker.
“Tracey, so many people know you, so many people love you, and so many people are here tonight because they want to join us in thanking you for all you do for our community,” said Ken Rudolph of Good Day Sacramento, Master of Ceremonies for the event.
Harris expressed his gratitude for the honor. “We couldn’t do it without everybody that’s here in the community,” Harris said. He shared a memory of going with his friends to the Jerry Lewis Twin Cinema as a child to see Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, which was the theme for the night.
The program started out with the Sunrise Elementary School Choir singing and acting out songs from that movie. Led by teacher and director Trevor Harding, the kids in costume created a fitting start for the 18th year of this annual event. After their rousing performance, Rudolph presented the eight awards for the various categories of volunteer work.
Jim Purvis received the Distinguished Community Service award for his paralegal work with Senior Legal Hotline and Neil Orchard Senior Activities Center in Rancho Cordova. “I feel good when I help people help themselves, and give them information that they then use to have power to resolve their problems,” Purvis said.
Kaiser pediatrician Catherine Vigran, who will retire next month, earned the Outstanding Service to Youth honor for her care for kids in many ways above and beyond her service as a doctor. “I’d like to let everyone know what a pleasure it’s been to work in this community and to see children grow up and go on to do what they’re going to do to make their contribution,” Vigran said.
Outstanding Teen Service Award went to 13-year-old Anthony Lacayo. An 8th grader, he racked up 150 hours of volunteer service last year. “You can count on him, and he volunteers with his whole heart,” said Linda Burkholder in her nomination letter. “He stands out for his ever-willing spirit, his reliability and his passion for helping others.”
The “We could not have done it without you” award went to David McFarland. As pastor of New Life Center on Zinfandel Drive, McFarland was afraid his preschool would not be able to continue during the recession in 2008. He built a children’s train, and with that and the influx of students transferred from Cordova Neighborhood Church, the preschool continues on. Now the train adds special flavor to many community events.
Campus Life at Mills Middle School, an arm of Youth for Christ, received the honor for Outstanding Service by a Faith Organization. Coordinator Jenny Arnez accepted the award. “This is a team award,” Arnez said. “They love kids so much that they share their whole lives. They do life together. And that’s why kids are impacted by what happens at Mills.”
The Distinguished Community Service Organization went to Whisker Warriors, unsung heroes operating to reduce animal overpopulation and promote responsible pet ownership. “It takes a herd of cats to get things done,” a representative for the group said. “So I’d like to recognize our entire group.”
Chick-fil-A was honored as Distinguished Community Business Partner, Rudolph citing the words of founder Truett Cathy: “Nearly every moment of every day we have the opportunity to give something to someone else – our time, our love, our resources.” Owner/operator of Chick-fil-A Rivergate Cordova, Liviu Vizitiu, has taken this to heart. “Our passion is really anything that’s got to do with youth and education, we’re there,” Vizitiu said. “We know that the future is in our youth and we want to partner with that... I can’t wait to continue to work with all of you and help as much as we can in this community.”