CITIZEN OF THE YEAR – JIM O’NEIL
Jim has been at the forefront of community service. Over the years, Jim has been involved in a variety of committees, community commissions and organizations — the Jamestown Area Planning Commission, Board of Supervisors Planning Commission, Rescue the Jamestown Jail Committee, Leadership Tuolumne County, Chairman of the Friends of the Columbia State Park, Sonora Rotary to name a few.
He has volunteered his time, energy, passion, and commitment for major endeavors for many years. Jim served as Chairman of the committee for the Jamestown Walk of Fame project, which connects the town of Jamestown to the State Historic Park, Railtown 1897.
He is currently the Chairman of the Mural Project, which will point the way to Railtown 1897 from Main Street in Jamestown and include depictions of the rich and vast history of the region. Jim is tireless in his efforts to make our community a better place.
When the Jamestown Family Resource Center was struggling and in need of community support and creative ideas. A committee was formed to take on the job of raising funds for the immediate need and to create a long term sustainability plan. Jim stepped in as a volunteer and provided leadership and his business expertise in heading up the group. With his guidance the committee has exceeded its goals and kept the doors open of this much needed community resource.
Jim genuinely cares about our community and shows this everyday through his guidance and mentoring. He sees no barriers to success. He is truly an inspirational community treasure.
EXCELLENCE IN GOVERNMENT – SHELLEY PIECH
Shelley has served Tuolumne County for more than 25 years starting at the old Tuolumne General Hospital. She has served in the Treasurer Tax Collectors Office running the Revenue Recovery operation while serving as the Assistant Treasurer/Tax Collector. She was appointed Treasurer/Tax collector and won election two years ago.
Since her first day serving as Treasurer/Tax Collector, Shelley has worked hard to do the best job possible for the residents of Tuolumne County.
Shelley has led the way to make Tuolumne County one of the first two Counties in California to settle the issues with Airbnb increasing our Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) revenues dramatically.
Shelley has demonstrated her initiative and creativity in carrying out her job as an elected representative to a new level and helped put Tuolumne County in a leadership role in solving issues for small counties. Shelley does not spend a lot of time talking – she spends her time making it happen for all of us.
ENTREPRENEUR OF THE YEAR – GINA PROCK
Gina is the personification of this category. She has lived in Tuolumne County since 1992 and owns Micro-Tronics, an electronics manufacturing company creating many jobs by employing in excess of 20 employees. Together with her husband, Hal Prock, she also owns Auto Tech & Tires, which they purchased 3 years ago.
Gina sits on the Civic Advisory Board for Sonora Regional Medical Center, is an Ambassador and on the Special Events Committee of the Tuolumne County Chamber of Commerce, and is the Youth Director for Black Oak Lanes Youth Bowling League.
Gina can be found at almost any fundraiser in Tuolumne County either coordinating the Silent Auction or bidding on the items, which she usually re-donates to another function.
She has steadily grown her business over the years all while being extremely involved in the community and helping in whatever way she can.
SMALL BUSINESS OF THE YEAR – BOONE’S MEMORIAL
Boone’s Memorial is one of Tuolumne County’s oldest continuously operated family businesses. It was originally started in Missouri, in 1881 by the grandfather of the present owners, Jerry and Gordon Boone. The company then opened its doors in Columbia in 1959.
In addition to tombstones, Boone’s Memorials offers commemorative plaques, vases, historical markers and cornerstones using the finest granite, in numerous colors that come from all over the United States.
This family run business believes in quality, family tradition, and supporting their community and does so through various outreach and donations.
ADMINISTRATIVE PROFESSIONAL OF THE YEAR – JENNIFER BROWN
Jennifer has been the Executive Administrative Assistant to Ron Patel, CEO Black Oak Casino Resort, for the past 3 years. Jennifer’s background has always been to help, assist and offer solutions in whatever position she has worked.
Jennifer seeks perfection in her own work, but is sensitive enough to know that the work of others may not necessarily be perfect! She maintains absolute confidentiality at all times, can problem solve, plan, and excels in stressful and sensitive situations.
Jennifer readily assists any employee from a number of different departments, as well as that of the CEO. Anyone that works with or nearby Jennifer will always say what a joy she is to be around, while displaying a professional and most congenial work ethic.
NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATION OF THE YEAR – SONORA YOUTH FOOTBALL & CHEER
Sonora Youth Football & Cheer is a youth football and cheer program covering the areas of Sonora, Jamestown, Columbia, Don Pedro, and Groveland. Athletes in the program start at age 7 and go up to high school.
The goal of the organization is not only to carry on a winning tradition of Tuolumne County football but also to instill positive influences on its members. The organization is made up of community volunteers with the common goal of instilling honesty, integrity, and respect for the game. They work closely with Sonora High as a feeder program for an easy transition for their athletes. Go Junior Cats!
TEACHER OF THE YEAR – MICHELLE BENNETT
In the time that Michelle has been a teacher at Jamestown Elementary School, she has proven herself to be a rock star! Michelle teaches Language Arts and Social Studies to 7th and 8th graders. In addition to her teaching responsibilities, Michelle is the Student Activities Director and coordinates all the activities for the school, as well as teaches the leadership class.
She facilitates community service for her students and can be seen at every event volunteering her time and supporting her students.
Michelle took on the task of taking her students to Washington D.C (she teaches American Government). She not only raised all the money for every student to go at no cost to them, (over $40k), she escorted 20 students during the summer for the one week trip. Many who had never been out of Tuolumne County!
From day one of teaching, Michelle poured her love and passion into her teaching and her students. In less than 3 years, Michelle has become the teacher everyone wants their child to have.
STUDENTS OF THE YEAR
Carley Capello – Sonora High
Carley is a senior at Sonora High School. She strives each semester to achieve her best and acts as a support and role model to other students through her work ethic and caring attitude. Carley serves the student body as the Assistant Student Body President as well as participating in the Athletic Training Program.
Outside of school, Carley works at the Diamondback Grill and MOCSE Credit Union, and is well known for her hard work, dedication, and positive attitude.
Moriah Loomis – Summerville High
Moriah always has a smile on her face and always works hard. She is currently employed at TJ Maxx, where she received the Associate of the Quarter Award and Revive Cafe.
Moriah has also traveled to Mexico on multiple outreach trips through Azusa Pacific University.
Moriah is respected by her peers and the staff of Summerville High. Her positive attitude and the joy she brings to the room. Moriah consistently demonstrates a fantastic work-ethic, willingness to learn, positive attitude and amazing character.
Randie Scott – Tioga High
Randie is a senior and Student Body President at Tioga High School and participated in various sports. She has dedicated herself to becoming a better athlete by working out and practicing her track throws in her spare time.
Randie is employed at Pine Mountain Lake Grill, and is pursing a career in the Culinary Arts. Randie enjoys giving back and has done numerous community service events and is always a big supporter of Tioga High School in the local community!