“Never doubt that a group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has,” Margaret Mead once noted. The Lodi District Chamber of Commerce celebrates this community spirit by honoring Lodi’s most valuable asset, its citizens, during the annual meeting and outstanding citizens awards dinner on Thursday at Wine and Roses Hotel and Restaurant.
Honorees include Deanna Enright Volunteer of the Year Paul Anderson; Agribusiness Person of the Year Bruce Fry; and Ray A. Hirning Street Faire Volunteers of the Year Tim and Sheri Aguilar. Darrell Drummond will be honored at the event as Citizen of the Year, and the evening will include special recognition of the 2013 Leadership Lodi class.
Anderson epitomizes the meaning of “volunteer” in everything he does.
“Paul’s cheerful smile and positive attitude, dedication and willingness to serve for the betterment of Lodi is infectious, and the reason why he is our Volunteer of the Year,” said Chamber President/CEO Pat Patrick.
Anderson, who grew-up in Stockton and graduated from Franklin High School, spends his days as the director of marketing and public relations for Servpro of Lodi, which provides restoration after fire, water or mold damage.
But he does not stop there. He tirelessly offers his time and talents to numerous organizations: the Rotary Club of Lodi, the Lodi Association of Realtors, the Lodi Chamber Hispanic Business Committee as past treasurer, Associates Networking Group as founder, and the Lodi Chamber Ambassador Committee as co-chairman.
Anderson is the creator of the popular Facebook page Wine Country Social, which keeps everyone up-to-date on Lodi wineries and events. And he is set to begin his term as a Chamber of Commerce board member this year.
“Paul simply gets things done. He is always willing to help and serve others, and it is an honor to have Paul as an associate and friend,” said Dale Immekus, chair of the Chamber’s Ambassador Committee. “Being chosen as Ambassador Volunteer of the Year is a just reward for his selfless efforts.”
Fry is the vice-president of operations for Mohr-Fry Ranchers and the president of Fry & Son L.L.C. He grows and manages winegrapes and dry beans. Fry oversees irrigation scheduling, safety training for fertigation (the combination of fertilization and irrigation), equipment set-up, mechanical grape harvesting, equipment operation and personnel supervision.
“Farming is in your blood. You can’t be forced to do it, because it is hard work, but I just knew from day one that this is what I wanted to do,” Fry said.
He and his wife Lora have two daughters, Mohrgan, 12, and Julia, 10. In addition to his duties with the farm and family, Fry has taken on a multitude of leadership responsibilities.
“Bruce’s love for farming and Lodi, his willingness to serve, vast experience and knowledge of industry issues makes him an invaluable asset to not only the Lodi winegrape industry, but all of agriculture,” Patrick said.
Fry’s seemingly endless participation includes involvement in numerous organizations for the winegrape industry. He was a member of the Lodi Woodbridge Winegrape Commission Research Committee from 1997 to 2005, and the group’s board of directors from 1999 to 2003. Additionally, he was Research Committee chairman and was involved in the development of the Lodi Rules for Sustainable Winegrowing.
He is past director of the Lodi District Grape Growers Association Board of Directors, and served as their president from 2003 to 2005. From 2001 to 2010, he represented District 3 as a director of the California Association of Winegrape Growers.
He is also involved in the Farm Bureau at both the local and state levels, and recently returned from the American Farm Bureau annual meeting in Texas.
“It is an honor and privilege to receive the Agribusiness Person of the Year. I have been blessed with great parents, family and role models in my life. My dad, (Jerry Fry), received this award in 1977 and again it belongs to him in 2014,” Fry said. “My father taught me along the way and is my role model. He has always said that everyone should put in their time and do their part, and that is what I have been doing and will continue to do, because I love my job and I love agriculture.”
To this end, Fry has been at the forefront regarding issues affecting San Joaquin County agriculture by his involvement with the City of Lodi Greenbelt/Community Separator Task Force, San Joaquin County Glassy Winged Sharpshooter Task Force and the Winery Ordinance Task Force.
Fry encourages farmers and ranchers to become involved with their local commodity group, water district, farm bureau or any other activity to voice their opinion on how they want their dollars spent and policies or laws changed.
“If not, someone else will do it for you and you might not be happy with the results,” he said.
Tim and Sheri Aguilar
A volunteer dynamic duo, the Aguilars are the Ray A. Hirning Street Faire Volunteers of the Year. The pair have been married for 11 years, are both native to the Central Valley and have careers in real estate.
“We arrive bright and early at 4 a.m. the day of the Street Faire to pass out coffee and donuts to participants ... Who doesn’t love coffee and donuts?” Sheri said.
They continue their Street Faire day by helping out with the drink booths, golf cart taxis and anything else that is needed.
“Sheri and Tim have been involved in the Street Faire for over 20 years. They are always the first to arrive — which is before dawn — and the last to leave long after dark,” said Chamber Events Manager Sandi Somers.
Tim Aguilar graduated from Stagg High School in Stockton, where he participated in various sports including football and baseball. From there, his love for sports took him to coach many Little League baseball and youth soccer teams. His coaching skills lead him to the position of head umpire for the Manteca Little League and refereeing high school and youth football for over five years. Tim Aguilar also gives his time to the Harvest Carnival and Season of Giving, and has even played Santa, delivering gifts to those in need.
“Volunteering at the Street Faire over the years has been personally rewarding for us, but being named as the event’s volunteers of the year is a tremendous surprise and honor,” Sheri Aguilar said.
She is a graduate of Galt High School, holds a Bachelor of Arts in Christian counseling and is a Leadership Lodi graduate. She has two grown children, Joshua, 24, who serves in the Air Force, and Rachel, 22, who works at the Harp Learning Institute while attending college.
Besides the Street Faire, Sheri Aguilar has given her time and energy to the Lodi Pregnancy Resource Center, Horizon Harvest Carnival and Season of Giving Tree, and served as the 2013 president of the Lodi Association of Realtors.
Tickets for the Lodi District Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting and Awards Dinner, which include a gourmet dinner, are $80 per person and can be purchased at www.lodichamber.com or by calling 209-367-7840, ext. 100. Doors open at 5:30 p.m., and dinner begins at 6 p.m.