(Left) Rotarian of the Year Maria Bombara had asked that instead of the traditional plaque lauding her devotion to duty that a donation be made to the Rotary Scholarship Fund. Right: Dudley Davis (right) was honored with the Santa Paula Rotary Gale Mason Award by Chris Wilson (left) overseeing his last meeting as president of the club.

Gale Mason Award lauds Davis,
Bombara honored as Rotarian of the Year

July 31, 2015
Santa Paula News

The Santa Paula Rotary year ended with high honors for several club members including Dudley Davis, who was honored with Gale Mason Award, and Maria Bombara, lauded as Rotarian of the Year.

The awards came during the demotion of President Chris Wilson following his year of club leadership.

The late Gale Mason (1912-1993) was known to the community to be energetic, tireless and generous, and his efforts also garnered him the title “Mr. Santa Paula Rotary” for his dedication to the Santa Paula club and the organization. He was twice honored as Rotarian of the Year, served as club president 1956-1957, and as club secretary for an astonishing 27 years. 

Said Wilson, “Dudley has set a great example of giving to the community,” in the spirit of Mason but in a different way.

Dudley and his wife Dianne, former owners of Do Right’s Nursery, years ago took it upon themselves to decorate the historic Downtown with hanging baskets of flowers.

But not only did they supply the baskets and flowers, said Wilson, “But out of their own generosity they made sure the baskets were watered and maintained,” regularly so they would be enjoyed by local residents and tourists alike.

These baskets soon expanded throughout Santa Paula and in the Downtown they were joined by sidewalk planters.

The couple also founded the Santa Paula chapter of the national America in Bloom organization, and has taken on beautification projects throughout the city. Dianne Davis remains the president of AIB, which is entered for the second year in the national beautification competition.

A Rotary Club member since 2008, Davis received a Paul Harris Fellowship - including the PHF certificate, pin and medallion - to go with his honor as the Gale Mason Award recipient. It was Davis’ second Paul Harris Fellowship.

“Plenty of guys deserved this,” said Davis, “and it sure wasn’t me...”

Bombara, a Past Rotary President who joined Santa Paula Rotary in 1998, is Club Secretary, was lauded by Wilson and Past President Mike Mobley.

She was chosen Rotarian of the Year said Mobley for a simple reason: “I don’t think we could function without Maria...” 

Wilson noted that Bombara had decided that instead of the usual gift of a plaque noting the recipient of the Rotarian of the Year award, “Maria wanted the money to go into the Scholarship Fund,” that  benefits graduating Santa Paula High School achievers.

“I am actually speechless,” said Bombara. “It’s such an honor to be in Rotary,” and so many Rotarians deserve recognition. 

Being a Rotarian, she added, “Is truly a privilege and an honor...and everyday I thank god for Rotary!”

Bombara, also a Paul Harris Fellowship recipient, has been deeply involved in various Rotary activities including the Pumpkin Patch.

Later in the meeting newly installed Club President Judy Phelps congratulated the honorees noting “Maria could be the Rotarian of the Year every year...”

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