Around Town: Kudos all around at Chamber gala
by TP staff
Feb 22, 2013 | 3503 views | 0 0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Audience members at the Tracy Chamber of Commerce Winter Gala watch the awards presentation at the Grand Theatre Center for the Arts on Saturday, Feb. 16. Courtesy of Craig Saalwaechter
Audience members at the Tracy Chamber of Commerce Winter Gala watch the awards presentation at the Grand Theatre Center for the Arts on Saturday, Feb. 16. Courtesy of Craig Saalwaechter
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Dick Spence (right) receives the male Citizen of the Year Award from Ken Yasui, the previous year’s winner. The awards were presented on the main stage of the Grand Theatre Center for the Arts during the Tracy Chamber of Commerce Winter Gala on Saturday, Feb. 16. Courtesy of Craig Saalwaechter
Dick Spence (right) receives the male Citizen of the Year Award from Ken Yasui, the previous year’s winner. The awards were presented on the main stage of the Grand Theatre Center for the Arts during the Tracy Chamber of Commerce Winter Gala on Saturday, Feb. 16. Courtesy of Craig Saalwaechter
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Pam Warta received a plaque as female Citizen of the Year on the main stage at the Grand Theatre on Saturday, Feb. 16. Courtesy of Craig Saalwaechter
Pam Warta received a plaque as female Citizen of the Year on the main stage at the Grand Theatre on Saturday, Feb. 16. Courtesy of Craig Saalwaechter
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Munchies and mingling in the reception area Saturday, Feb. 16, was followed in the main theater of the Grand Theatre Center for the Arts by the presentation of awards to people who make Tracy tick.

It was all part of the Tracy Chamber of Commerce Winter Gala, which attracted several hundred Tracyites.

Capping off the awards presentations were those to male and Female Citizens of the Year — Dick Spence and Pam Warta.

In making the presentation to Warta, last year’s winner Linda Turner told of Warta’s willingness to serve the community in a variety of volunteer capacities. She and her husband, Dave, for 12 years chaired the Festival of Trees gala, the major annual fund-raiser for the Tracy Hospital Foundation.

Last year, the Wartas inaugurated Tracy’s Home for the Holidays, which stands to become an annual holiday event.

Ken Yasui, last year’s male winner, presented the male Citizen of Year plaque to Spence, who has been an active member of the Tracy Breakfast Lions Club fund-raising breakfasts and dinners for 36 years.

Spence also has been a volunteer with Brighter Christmas, Tracy Interfaith Ministries and other community programs.

Other awards went to:

• Business of the Year: Barista’s Coffee House operated by Harish and Nalini Patel.

• Professional of Year: John Frerichs of S.J. Frerichs & Son Insurance.

• Entrepreneur of the Year: Virna Hudson of Fresh Coat Painters.

• Chamber Ambassador of the Year: Karen Aranda.

• Organization of the Year: Hearts of Harvest Foundation.

Special recognition was given to three families who completed their tenures of operating longtime businesses in Tracy last year.

The awards went to:

• Richard and Pam Hughes, who closed Richard’s Men’s Wear in December after operating the men’s clothier and tuxedo rental business for 32 years.

• Sam and Joan Matthews, representing the Matthews family, which published the Tracy Press for 69 years before its sale in November.

• Gerard and Lynn Gonzalves, who operated Gerard’s Deli for 32 years before its sale in October. The Gonzalves were unable to attend the gala and received their plaque earlier.

Scott McFarland and Sofia Valenzuela, Chamber president, served as masters of ceremonies.

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