Monday night was memorable for many in Hilmar, especially Hilmar Cheese Co. as they were the first company to receive the Hilmar Chamber of Commerce award for Distinguished Citizen of the Year.
“This is the first time we are giving the award to a company because they have worked together in unity,” said Carlos Rocha, member of the Hilmar Chamber of Commerce and assistant principal at Elim Elementary School. “It was obvious that everyone felt very strong about who should receive this award.”
Every year, the Hilmar Chamber of Commerce receives nominations for the Distinguished Citizen of the Year award and after over 10 years of recognizing individual citizens in the community, a company was finally nominated by many residents.
Hilmar Cheese Co. is very active in the community. They are a major donor every year for Legacy Circle of Emanuel Medical Center and their efforts have helped build a women’s birthing center, improve emergency services and sustain hospice to the local communities. They donate to cancer research by participating in the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life. Hilmar Cheese has also help improve more than six miles of walking trails at the Rita Blanca Park, given scholarships for local students pursing agricultural degrees and donated to Hilmar Helping Hands.
“We, as a community, aren’t only on the map because of Hilmar Cheese but we are better because of the kindness of Hilmar Cheese,” Rocha said.
Rocha also credited Hilmar Cheese with assisting in the Dairy Festival, and volunteering with the local 4-H clubs, churches and much more.
“There isn’t a place in the local area that they haven’t opened their heart to,” he said.
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