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Chamber of Commerce honors citys top citizens, businesses
Best of Turlock pic1
Tony and Melody Lema shake hands with Marty Jakosa as they accept the Youth Involvement of the Year award at the Turlock Chamber of Commerce’s 2011 Best of Turlock awards on Friday. - photo by ANDREA GOODWIN / The Journal

On a foggy night in one of the coldest months of the year, the Turlock Chamber of Commerce took the opportunity to recognize some bright spots in our community. The chamber held its Best of Turlock awards dinner on Friday to recognize outstanding citizens and businesses for their contributions and hard work over the past year.

“This event is one of those events that just brings together what Turlock is all about,” said Turlock Vice Mayor Amy Bublak.

The Best of Turlock awards, held this year at Larsa Banquet Hall, brought together chamber members, community leaders and Turlock supporters for a night of recognition. The chamber recognized not only their own board members and businesses but individuals who made an outstanding impact in Turlock. Winners were nominated by family, friends and chamber businesses.

“All of you are what make the chamber function,” said Sharon Silva, CEO of the Turlock Chamber of Commerce.

Recognition was given for everything from Agricultural Leader of the Year to Youth Citizen of the Year. Each of the winners was involved in volunteer work, outstanding business practices, or other overall good citizenship. Melody Lema, who won Youth Involvement of the year along with her husband Tony, said that being involved takes a lot of time, but it is well worth the effort.

“If you want to get involved that’s the key, just don’t say ‘no’ to anything,” Lema said.

 Most winners said that they were surprised to win anything, but all were thankful to their community for the recognition. Clark Hulbert, winner of Volunteer of the Year, said that volunteering in the community is good both for the town and for the volunteer.

“You get out what you put into it, and I think we all have a commitment to put in what we can,” Hulbert said.

The 2011 Best of Turlock winners all received a trophy or plaque from the Turlock Chamber of Commerce and the sincere thanks and gratitude of their fellow Turlockers.


2011 Best of Turlock Winners  


Shawna Casey

Ambassador of the Year


The Ambassadors are a prestigious and integral part of the success of the Chamber.  The mission of an ambassador is to serve as the public relations arm of the Turlock Chamber of Commerce with the general membership.  The Ambassador Committee desires growth of the Chamber membership, retention of the existing membership and interaction between the memberships as a whole.

Ambassadors accumulate points for the various activities that they participate in each month.  At the end of the year the points are totaled and the Ambassador of the Year is selected for the outstanding work and time that they provided the Turlock Chamber of Commerce. 

Clark Hulbert

Volunteer of the Year

Hulbert has been a part of the Salvation Army Advisory Board since 2002.  Not only does this gentleman give of his time and energy to the Salvation Army, but he has been a big support of the Turlock Chamber of Commerce, working with the Leadership Committee and serving as the chair in 2010.

It has been said that if you have heard of the 20/80 rule in work, it is easy to say that Clark Hulbert is one of the 20 percent.  He does everything he can to support and help the Salvation Army with its mission; he helped develop and plan the Kettle Kick Offs from 2002 to 2010, the 2009 Gala, coupon books and of course help the mission with keeping on their budget.

Clark not only brings expertise to his volunteer work, but a great since of humor.  People who work with Clark smile; he just has a joyfulness about him that is contagious.

The Stanislaus County Fair

Special Recognition


The Stanislaus County Fair has been a strong presence in the Turlock community by not only creating strong partnerships, but by also creating lifelong moments for members of the community.  This year, the Fair will be celebrating its 100th anniversary and it will be a momentous occasion.

From a summer weekend in 1911 to a 10-day community celebration 100 years later, the Stanislaus County Fair has promoted agriculture, education, entertainment and technology to generations of residents. Known throughout the west as one of California’s premier fairs, it is also home to many events throughout the year. These events, along with the annual fair, make the fairgrounds a strong economic engine, generating tangible benefits beyond the agricultural, cultural and educational tradition. In 2010, over 350,000 people attended fairs and events at the fairgrounds generating nearly $22 million in spending activity and creating the equivalent of 221 jobs. The fair is fun, but it’s an important business asset for the community as well.

With the partnerships, lifelong memories, education, and community involvement the 2011 Stanislaus County Fair celebrates its 100th Anniversary July 15 through 24. We’ll celebrate the rich traditions of Stanislaus County, its residents and its heritage.

Latif's Restaurant/ Bob KelliSmall Business of the Year Latif's Restaurant is not only the anchor of downtown, but it is a landmark of the community.  If you want to see someone or know what is going on in Turlock, just have breakfast or lunch at Latif's.  The staff is outstanding, the food is real and no one makes pies, like the pies from Latif's.The other morning, a friend had breakfast and the staff was saying how wonderful it was to be able to work for Bob, how lucky they were to not only have a job but to work for some who was a good as Bob was to his staff and community.  This spoke volumes to why Latif's is still going strong and a place everyone want to eat. ACME ELECTRIC / Buster LucasCorporation of the Year This year’s corporation of the year ACME ELECTRIC is one of Turlock's top businesses.  The company was established in 1970 by Bob Arent, and in 1979, Buster Lucas bought in as partner with a 50 percent interest of the company.  When Buster started as a partner there were seven employees and today the company has 32 employees.  ACME ELECTRIC is capable of handling any size commercial or industrial job. ACME currently funds a scholarship at Turlock High School and has sponsored many youth programs and local school programs from athletic teams to 4-H, FFA and Sober Grad Night events.Buster is a hometown boy who attended Chatom and Mountain View schools a graduate of Turlock High School.  He loves golfing with his wife, Maryanne and is a NASCAR, Warriors, San Francisco 49ers and Giants fan.  Buster and Maryann, and their two children, Ashley and Ali, have lived in Turlock all of their lives. Buster is also a past president of the Turlock Lions Club. Tony and Melody LemaYouth Involvement AwardThis year’s Youth Involvement Award is going to two receipts who have been very busy in working with the youth of Turlock since the spring of 1979, when Tony and Melody Lema started in Turlock Little League.  For the next 29 years, Tony and Melody served Little League in a variety of positions.  1978 was Tony and Melody’s first year as leaders in 4-H.  Both of them were with Turlock Hoof ‘n’ Horns. After a couple of years, the family changed to Denair Stockholders 4-H club, in which Tony and Melody served as assistant community leaders.  In 1983, Tony and Melody co-founded the Li’l Aggies 4-H Club. During the 20 years that Tony and Melody were in 4-H, Tony served on the Stanislaus County Leaders Council, while Melody served on the Regional and State Leaders Councils.  Melody and Tony attended several years of California State Leaders Forum, including serving on the Steering Committee, and Melody taught sessions for one year of the California State Leaders Forum.  They retired from 4-H when their oldest grandson started school, to concentrate on being grandparents.    Ed Felt

Educator of the Year

The Educator of the Year for 2011 has served the students, parents and school community of Turlock for over 20 years. Throughout his years of service he has been a coach, a high school administrator, and presently, a district administrator. 

Our Educator of the Year can be described as a true professional educator in many ways, his leadership, expertise and experience in curriculum and instruction, pupil services, and most recently business and facilities management, has repeatedly served to facilitate an array of district-wide accomplishments in the area of system-wide program improvement.

He genuinely believes in educating the whole child.  He understands that each child is unique and learns differently.  His support for school site administrators and for the many programs and services has always been to do what is in the best interest of the children.  This best interest includes maintaining safe and clean facilities, as well as making sure the upkeep of our schools is a priority for our maintenance and operations department.

Major Debi Shrum

Humanitarian of the Year

Debi Shrum came to Turlock in 2002 and she brought with her a lot of energy and enthusiasm.  She quickly became involved with the community as part of her job.  As the years went by she became more and more involved with different groups.  She works tirelessly to keep things at work running smoothly and still gives more than her share of time to the different groups in which she is involved. 

Turlock Together is probably the busiest time of the year.  She is the co-chair of the committee and works tirelessly making sure that there is food and toys for the less fortunate in the community.  She uses her resources at The Salvation Army to help in the collecting of the food and toys.  Christmas Day, the community center turns into a giant dining hall as the dinner is served to all who come through the doors, Santa visits with the children and the classrooms are turned into play areas for the children.

Yubert Envia

Agricultural Leader of the Year

Some people just know how to put Stanislaus County and California on the map.  This year's Agricultural Leader of the Year is certainly one of those people.

Yubert grew up in Turlock, graduating from California State University, Stanislaus with a degree in Business Administration.  Yubert Envia is truly one of those rare individuals in today’s world who found his niche in the ag industry with Foster Farms and has built his career in a business he loves.

Yubert serves his community in many ways. He is a past chair of the Turlock Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and this past year served as the chairman of the National Turkey Federation where he got to give one of California’s finest turkeys to President Barack Obama for a pardon.

Yubert's wife,  Holly, two kids, Kelly and Sean, joined him in Washington, D. C., along with his parents.  Yubert said this was a wonderful honor.

Ed Yonan

Business Leader

This year’s business leader is a role model for all to pattern themselves.  He is provocative with his participation in community efforts. In 1996, when his dad retired, Ed opened Yonan’s Jewelers on Geer Road in Turlock.   After a wonderful few years he decided to open Yonan’s Jewelers in Modesto. He soon got the opportunity to buy a flower shop. He thought it was a good compliment to the jewelry stores. The flower shop specializes in weddings and does over 150 weddings a year, along with funerals and daily work.Ed Yonan’s competitive drive and fierce desire to succeed is what has made Yonan’s a well known name in the community. He has given a lot back to the community. He is a member of the Exchange Club, Turlock Chamber of Commerce, Turlock Golf & Country Club, California Jewelers Association, and a contributor to many local charities.  Ed enjoys golf, fishing and spending time with his daughters and wife.     


Victoria Alvarado

Youth Citizen

Turlock's Youth Citizen for 2011 is a high energy young woman whose intelligence, unquestioned leadership skills and infectious personality draw praise and affirmation from even the most veteran instructors.  She has a stellar academic record, placing her in the top five students of her class at Pitman High School.

This year's Youth Citizen is an accomplished athlete in track and field and cross country.  She is also in the Chamber Orchestra as a violin player.  Even with all of her extra activities she still finds time to participate in the Key Club, which includes many community services opportunities as well as Future Business Leaders of America and the Mock Trial competition.  Her crowning achievement in the area of school activities is her role as Senior Class President.  Victoria has learned to balance her life with her extensive activities and even finds time for community service.  She is an exceptional leader with a winning personality who is an outstanding representative for all students on campus.   

Jeani and John Ferrari

Citizens of the Year

This year Turlock has a wonderful couple that has given so much over the years to the community in many different ways.  The committee decided that they wanted to honor this  outstanding couple for all they have given to make our community one that we are proud to live in and raise our families.

 Jeani and John Ferrari are longtime residents of Turlock and  farm many crops including walnuts, peaches and almonds.  John, a second-generation grower, and Jeani, an interior designer, have been married for 44 years.  They have three children, Justin, Damon and Paige, along with grandchildren,  Will and Pepper.

The Ferraris lead by example and have turned their passions into action in all they support – from healthcare, the arts and rebuilding the Carnegie Arts Center, farmland preservation, downtown revitalization and their church to name a few.