Rich Somers, recipient of the Ray A. Hirning Street Faire Volunteer of the Year Award.
Lodi's Street Faires don't just happen on their own.
For the past six years, Rich Somers has been in on the months of planning and meetings necessary to see that the semi-annual event goes on, offering helpful suggestions and comic relief to those involved.
Then, two days before each Street Faire, Somers sets out on the streets of downtown to put up no parking signs. Preparations continue the next day, as Somers returns to prepare two-way radios for the event, assign golf carts, ready spaces for food vendors and assist with dinner for 70 other faire volunteers.
The morning of the Street Faire finds Somers, an employee at Servco Foods and a 20-year Lodi resident, up at 4 a.m. to help vendors check in and find their spaces, and any other tasks that need to be done.
Somers has been involved with BOBS for eight years as a baseball coach, and has been active in Boy Scouts of America. He is also an ambassador with the Lodi Chamber of Commerce and volunteers at all chamber functions.
David Diskin, recipient of the Deanna Enright Volunteer of the Year Award.
A chance encounter with a Lodi Chamber of Commerce representative at a Lodi Street Faire led to several years of volunteer service for David Diskin.
A Lodi resident since 1995, Diskin first joined the Ambassador's Committee, greeting new businesses to town and volunteering at chamber events.
Then Marilyn Storey, the chamber's director of operations, suggested he join Leadership Lodi. A year later, Diskin and the class of 2004 had raised $8,000 to help children use city buses to get free rides to the library and the Boys and Girls Club. The project was called Lodi FAST Pass.
In 2005, Diskin continued his support of Leadership Lodi by joining the group's steering committee and helping with the Blankets of Love project for the class of 2005. Diskin, who last year started his own business, Applied office, recently became co-chair of the steering committee.
Each week at the library Diskin gives public classes on Microsoft Excel. He also helps Lodi house with their newsletter and Web site. He is also working on Web sites for the Women's Center, Kiwanis and the Animal Friends humane society. Diskin logged more than 280 hours of professional work for these organizations in the past year.
Frances Reilly, recipient of the William T. Harkins Outstanding Citizen of the Year Award.
Many say Frances Reilly embodies the spirit of volunteerism in Lodi.
A Lodi resident for 39 years, Reilly has spent many years devoting her time to developmentally disabled citizens of San Joaquin County. She and a small group of family members in 1970 partnered with Sister Madeline Hanot to create a board and care home for the developmentally disabled, the Hanot Foundation Board and Care Home. Reilly has also been a member of the Hanot Board of Directors.
Reilly is a member of the Alicante Auxiliary at Lodi Memorial Hospital and served as Pink Lady in the past. She serves on a number of committees, sponsoring fund-raisers for all areas of the hospital. Reilly has volunteered at the hospital for more than 30 years.
Reilly is also active with the Catechism class for the developmentally disabled at St. Anne's Parish, and often drives participants to the Saturday program.
In addition, Reilly has been an active member of the Royal Order of the Moose for 20 years, spending hundreds of hours volunteering at functions. For 11 years, Reilly has been a partner with the Lodi Police Department, working eight hours a week, mostly tagging abandoned vehicles, directing traffic at events and other assignments.
Joe Valente, recipient of the Agribusiness Person of the Year Award.
Some could say agriculture is in Joe Valente's blood.
A lifelong Lodi resident, Valente grew up on his family's farm east of Lodi, growing alfalfa, tomatoes and barley.
Valente, who has worked for John Kautz Farms as a vineyard and orchard manager for 26 years, attended Tokay High School and was an active member of the agriculture department. He served as the first chapter president of Tokay Future Farmers of America, later attending San Joaquin Delta College, where he graduated with an associate's degree in plant science.
While at John Kautz Farms, Valente has put in place multiple integrated pest management programs, including Wood Duck and owl boxes.
Valente has been a member of the Tokay FFA advisory committee for 25 years and was instrumental in developing a vineyard and orchard learning center, and has coached the FFA grapevine pruning and judging teams.
Valente is the current first vice president of the San Joaquin County Farm Bureau, a delegate for the farm bureau at the state convention, as well as a member of the group's executive committee.
- News-Sentinel staff.