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'Best of Turlock' honored at annual Chamber event
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Woods Furniture owner Dave Woods accepts the Small Business of the Year award alongside his brother Randy Woods, during a Chamber of Commerce ceremony on Friday. - photo by NANCY ANGEL / The Journal


Chamber Ambassador of the Year: Joy Biddle, executive director of Creative Alternatives

Volunteer of the Year: Jerry Powell, local Realtor and board member of the Turlock Salvation Army Corps

Special Recognition: Janice Virgo

Small Business of the Year: Woods Furniture

Corporation of the Year: Tower Health and Wellness

Youth Involvement Leader of the Year: Kathy Sanders

Educator of the Year: Glenn Blackley, eCademy Charter @ Crane

Higher Education Leader of the Year: Julie Fox, service learning director at California State University, Stanislaus

Humanitarian of the Year: Sylvia Cox, Off Center Thrift and Gift

Agricultural Leader of the Year: Ron Macedo, R.A.M. Farms and vice president of the Turlock Irrigation District's Board of Directors

Business Leaders of the Year: Dr. Antone and Anakeen Varani, The Dental Spa

Youth Citizens of the Year: Kelsee Derr, Pitman High School; and Katelyn McGinnis, Turlock High School

Citizen of the Year: Shirley Pok, vice president of development for Emanuel Medical Center

In a room filled with the best and brightest Turlock has to offer, the Turlock Chamber of Commerce took the opportunity to recognize outstanding citizens and their accomplishments in 2012 on Friday.

“This event is to honor the leadership of Turlock,” said Turlock Mayor John Lazar.  “These outstanding individuals have significantly contributed to the community.”

The Best of Turlock awards, held this year at the Assyrian American Civic Club, brought together Chamber members, community leaders and Turlock supporters.  The Chamber not only recognized its own board members and businesses, but individuals who made an outstanding impact in Turlock.

Recognition was given for volunteer work, outstanding businesses practices, and overall good citizenship.  Jerry Powell, who won Volunteer of the Year award, said that being involved is a satisfying feeling that is worth the hard work and effort he puts in.

“It’s an honor to stand here before you,” said Powell.  “I am humbled.”

Most winners said that they were surprised to be recognized, but all were thankful to their community for the honor.  Janice Virgo, who received a Special Recognition award, was on the verge of tears after being called to accept her award.

“What a surprise,” said Virgo.  “Thank you very much.”

The Best of Turlock winners all received a trophy or plaque from the Turlock Chamber of Commerce and the gratitude of their fellow Turlockers.