By Peggy Kelly
Santa Paula Times
Norman Wilkinson was honored for doing something that most other people would never get away with...telling them where to go!
Wilkinson was honored at a recent Santa Paula Rotary Club meeting for an amazing 34 years of planning the delivery routes for hundreds of boxes of food and toys for the annual Christmas Basket Program.
This year Rotarians and supporters provided 500 Christmas Baskets to pre-qualified needy Santa Paula families and each basket was delivered early Christmas Eve morning.
2014 Christmas Basket Co-Chairs Carlos Juarez and Jason Cole were joined by Mike Mobley in making the presentation to Wilkinson, who for decade after decade used his own knowledge of city streets- garnered during his 25-year career as the city’s Public Works Director/City Engineer-and maps to plan the approximately 12 routes.
Planning such deliveries said Juarez, is “A daunting task...”
So daunting in fact that this year the effort required a multi-Rotarian team working under Wilkinson’s direction.
“And to think Norm did this all these years on his own,” said Mobley. “It’s amazing...”
Wilkinson, who retired from the city in 2002, was presented with a gift card to Hozy’s Grill.
“We also thanked Norm for all his help on Christmas Eve morning at the Community Center,” where Carlos noted Rotarians and volunteers gathered for the delivery paused in their work to recognize Wilkinson’s long time effort in telling them where to go when it came to delivering Christmas Baskets.
Noting Wilkinson’s decades of dedication to the annual Christmas Basket Program and others deeply involved in he annual effort, “I have nothing but praise for the whole team,” said Rotary President and Santa Paula Fire Chief Rick Araiza.