BRAWLEY – Clyde Shields was announced as the 2013 Branding Iron recipient to a packed house at Stockmen’s Club in Brawley, Thursday night.
Shields was the 43rd person to be named to Brawley’s highest honor given for lifelong duty and dedication to the town.
The Branding Iron award was started in 1976 with Earl Harriss being the first on the roster of Brawley’s past Who’s Who.
Bob Hahn, retired past president of Community Valley Bank introduced his good friend and spoke of Shield’s many accomplishments.
Clyde Shields began his young adult life as an Air Force Pilot stationed in Japan where the first of his four children was born.
In 1957, he moved to Brawley. His youngest son, Todd, wrote a letter from Saudi Arabia, where the civil engineer presently is working on his current project. Bob Trimm read the letter to the audience which in part said, “The town of Brawley received a great gift when Clyde arrived here 57 years ago.”
Shields was the founding member of many longstanding civic organizations and institutions, two being Brawley Beautification, Inc, and Community Valley Bank. He spent 14 years as a trustee on the B.U.H.S. school board, coached baseball, was a Rotarian for 52 years as well as many more community jobs.
Shields joked after being handed the coveted Branding Iron plaque by Kristen Sharp, Cattle Call Queen, that he realized he had a knack for accepting jobs that didn’t pay.
His son, and business partner, Jon Shields, also spoke about his father. “Thirty years ago when I started working for Dad, people would ask me if Clyde Shields was my father. Now they say, ‘You sure look like your father’.”
He went on to mention his father’s exceptional skiing feats, including helicopter skiing and being able to take on black diamond slopes anywhere in the world. “The amazing part is he didn’t learn to ski until his mid-40’s. That just shows you the grit of my dad, he doesn’t give up.”
The Chamber also highlighted their year which included ten ribbon cuttings of new businesses, a new high for the city. Katie Figaro, the Chamber’s new executive director, spoke of the many new events they held such as Chamber Breakfasts that featured different speakers to help businesses navigate through health care regulations and tough economic climates. Figaro mentioned they will continue these breakfasts, but expand to joint chambers with all towns participating.
She spoke of the “Cash Mob” of e-blasting members to meet at a local business and shopping. The three businesses this year included San Sebastian, the Hospital Gift Shop, and Green Patch Nursery.
A future event will be Teacher of the Year dinner.
The glitzy evening was enjoyed by all, and the talk of the table were the oversized, but delicious, steaks donated by National Beef. Desserts were provided by The Rock Coffee Shop and Café.