Local Benefactors Come Out to 4th Annual National Philanthropy Award Ceremony

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Bob and Carol Wilson win philanthropist of the year award.
Bob and Carol Wilson (center) win Philanthropist of the Year award.

EL CENTRO- National Philanthropist Day gave cause to honor local citizens, November 16, at the Old Eucalyptus Schoolhouse, who have shown genuine concern for others by donating money, time and treasures to notable causes in the Imperial Valley.

With every table filled, attendees enjoyed a local jazz musician on his trumpet while dining and mingling.

Keynote speaker, Greg Smith, took to the podium to start the program.

“Philanthropy is the selfless act of giving to those who need help,” Smith said, “and what an honor to speak at this year’s fourth annual National Philanthropy Award Ceremony.”

The main event was honoring local volunteers and philanthropist for their contributions.

Ten individuals were honored for Distinguished Volunteer. The Distinguished Volunteer Award is given in appreciation for the time and energy that each honored volunteer has devoted to the day-to-day operations and successes of their organization. A few mentions of the 10 individuals are Carla Kuhns, Maria Barrett, and Leigh Humphreys.

Distinguished Philanthropists were Larry Fleming and Miyoko Oshima Tenaska. Larry Fleming is Imperial Valley Girls’ and Boys’ Club board member.

Less and Terry Rodgers, owners of Imperial’s Rodgers and Rodgers dealership, were honored with Philanthropic Corporation of the Year. This award is presented to a corporation or corporate foundation with 50 or more employees that has demonstrated outstanding commitment through financial support and volunteerism, and encourages and motivates others to take philanthropic leadership roles in the community.

The award known as the Spirit of Philanthropy, or Volunteer of the Year Award, was presented by AT&T, and awarded to Jessica Solorio for her hard work and acts of kindness. This award is presented to an individual who has demonstrated excellence in volunteer service leading to significant outcomes for the community.

The second to last award is presented to an individual, couple or family. The leaders must have a proven record of exceptional generosity to a variety of philanthropic causes and who, through direct financial support and volunteerism, has demonstrated outstanding civic and charitable responsibility. Plus they look for those who encourage others to take philanthropic leadership roles in the community. Bob and Carol Wilson of Brawley were chosen as this year’s recipients.

The last, most noteworthy award, the Lifetime Achievement, is presented to those who have shown great sacrifice and altruistic acts throughout their career, either openly or privately, and have been a consistent champion of philanthropy, creating a lasting impact on the quality of life of the community and the organizations serving Imperial Valley residents.  This honor was conveyed to El Centro locals, Ben and Loretta Abatti, for their lifelong service to the community.