Santa Paula Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year Alex Flores wanted the Future Farmer of America he advises to stand with him as he made remarks in which he shared credit with his students. Flores, a Santa Paula High School teacher and Agriculture Academy coordinator, received a gift basket from the FFA filled with his favorite goodies among other honors at the March 18 Santa Paula Chanber awards celebration.

Alex Flores, Ag Academy, FFA advisor honored as Citizen of the Year

March 25, 2015
Santa Paula News

Alex Flores is known by many titles, from Agriculture Academy coordinator and Future Farmers of America advisor to Dr. Alex for his touch in working with ill animals.

Now Flores can add Citizen of the Year to the list after the Chamber of Commerce honored him last week for a myriad of community service.

Flores was lauded March 18 at the annual Chamber Awards Luncheon held at the Limoneira Visitors Center. Also recognized were Large Businesses of the Year California Resources Corporation and the hometown Santa Paula Community Bank and Small Business Fria. Familia Diaz was honored with the Sam Edwards Lifetime Community Achievement Award and Citizens for a Safer Santa Paula were recognized with the Community Service Award.

Chamber President Fred Robinson presented the award to Alex, a native of New York who despite his boyish appearance has taught at Santa Paula High School for 16 years. 

Flores teaches agriculture, serves as the FFA advisor and coordinates the Agriculture Academy and, noted Robinson sets the example of community service emulated by his students.

“I’ve known Alex a number of years and he’s very humble and unassuming,” said Robinson. “He is shy, doesn’t like the spotlight but Alex exemplifies what a teacher should be,” including “building the character” of his students and not just raising their academic skills.

Future Farmers of America students presented Flores with a gift basket filled with his favorite items and noted their admiration and affection for their advisor.

Those that nominated Flores offered numerous reasons for his selection: one noted “Alex instills in his students the value of community service, respect, and the importance of personal appearance. His students look you straight in the eye, and offer a firm handshake … ”

Flores and his students “always prepare a large entry of livestock each year for the Ventura County Fair,” and the Santa Paula FFA “has been one of the highest honored youth organizations at the fair. His students always win many awards, and the entries bring the highest return on investment.”

Flores, read a nomination, “spends many hours, including evenings and weekends with his students, ensuring their animals are well tended, properly fed, and exercised as needed. For his touch in working with injured or ill animals, his students have nicknamed him ‘Dr. Alex.’ ”

“Alex always brings his infectious smile and warm personality to work each and every day, and offers hope and encouragement to ensure that his students are fully prepared to be successful and productive citizens in life … ” 

And “Alex teaches by example, always volunteering at community events, including Moonlight at the Ranch, The Rotary Club Pumpkin Patch, Kiwanis Citrus Festival, Bike Path clean up, and much more, always working side-by-side with his student volunteers.”

Although the FFA always accepts donations, monetary return has never been a factor in Flores and his group’s wide community service.

Flores told the chamber that “First and foremost I want to introduce my wife Laura … she does exist! And my mom is here as well.”

And Flores asked that the FFA members that had presented him with the gift basket — and whom typically were helping at the chamber event — “To stay up here,” as he could not do his community service without them.

“Wherever we are,” Flores said students’ work hard to be a part of and to benefit their community, often accompanied by their parents who show a higher interested in their children’s activities and well-being.

Flores said he is “thankful” for the selection of Citizen of the Year but admitted to wondering “why, why me?” 

There are many leaders that help shape the world but it starts with the sense of community and teamwork in acting with others to help others.

And, noted Flores, “When the kids help out,” they all experience leadership, and as they go on to college they fine-tune their activism. And, when they return to Santa Paula, Flores said they would return as better leaders capable of helping the community in even more ways.

Flores is so admired that in 2011 he was honored as the Chamber’s Educator of the Year and in 2012 SPHS students selected him to be Grand Marshal of the Homecoming Parade.

Flores, who has two children, Elijah, 10 and 7-year-old Emma, also received proclamations from the offices of Ventura County Supervisor Kathy Long and Rep. Julia Brownley.

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