Citizen of the Year Don and Debbie Johnson

Santa Paula Chamber of Commerce announces award winners

January 20, 2016
Santa Paula News

The Luncheon will be held Wednesday February 24, 2016 11:30 am at Casa Del Mexicano. Tickets are $40 each. Look for ticket sales to open in the next week. We look forward to honoring Santa Paula!

The Luncheon will be held Wednesday February 24, 2016 11:30 am at Casa Del Mexicano. Tickets are $40 each. Look for ticket sales to open in the next week. We look forward to honoring Santa Paula!

      Citizen of the Year

Don and Debbie Johnson are valuable members of the Santa Paula Community who have tirelessly given their time and care to multiple service clubs and non-profit organizations all of which have benefitted the community in immeasurable ways. They co-founded The Santa Paula Citizen Patrol as well as co-own the Santa Paula Times. Don and Debbie hve been  associated with The Boys and Girls Club Santa Paula, The Santa Paula Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Merchants, Moonlight at the Ranch, The Santa Paula High School Education Foundation, and The Santa Clara Valley Wellness Foundation to name only a few. They have given time and care to our beautiful city and they are extremely deserving of our many thanks and appreciation.

Business of the Year

Calavo: Turning a delicious but odd-shaped fruit into a household favorite wasn’t in the plan when a group of grower-hobbyists banded together in 1924 to form the California Avocado Growers Exchange. And two more years would pass before Rudolph Hass of LaHabra, California, would plant the state’s first Hass avocado tree.

At the time, avocado growers had no quality standards, no distribution channels, and only one facility, a packinghouse in Vernon, California. During that first year, the Growers Exchange packed 18,000 pounds of avocados from that packinghouse and, in doing so, launched an industry.

Though the Vernon packinghouse has long since closed, the company that sprang from that Growers’ Exchange - now known  as Calavo Growers, Inc. - is still going strong some 81 years later. In 2005, this publicly traded, diversified, global agribusiness packed approximately 35 percent of the California avocado crop, nearly double the market share of its closest competitor. Three modern packinghouses - strategically located in Santa Paula and Temecula, California, and Uruapan, Michoacan, Mexico - teem with productivity and thrive on volume, packing approximately 200 million pounds per year. The company is now headquartered in Santa Paula, California and employs more than 500 people.

      The Sam Edwards Lifetime Achievement Award

Tom Lugo has been the President of St. Vincent de Paul for the last 6 years and a member for over 15 years.  He leads a group of volunteers and   every Thursday they provide food, clothing and financial relief to approximately 350 families per week. They also go to Ventura to feed 150-200 homeless men, women and children with funds they raise. The Lugo family has lived in Santa Paula for over 50 years. The Food Share event takes place every Thursday at St. Sebastian’s from 1-4:30 pm. 

Non-Profit of the Year

The Mission of the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Clara Valley is to enable young people, especially those who need us the most, to realize their full potential as productive, caring and responsible citizens. The Club’s programs focus on five areas of youth development: Character and Leadership Development, Educational and Career Development, Health and Life Skills, The Arts and Sports and Recreation. Specifically, the Club offers numerous programs including homework assistance, computer literacy, sports leagues, Robotics and other activities designed to build confidence and promote self-esteem. Through these various activities, youth gain knowledge, skills and attributes to be successful in life and to make wise choices about issues they face as they navigate the challenging journey from childhood to adulthood.

Community Service Award

Santa Paula Hospital, the ‘hospital on the hill,’ as it is affectionately known to the residents of the Santa Clara Valley, was re-opened by the County of Ventura in 2006.  The 49-bed hospital has all the services found in a larger facility, and last year was awarded the Cal Noc Award.  It also holds the distinction of being a ‘Baby Friendly’ Hospital, one of only 315 other hospitals in the entire country.  Santa Paula Hospital is a jewel in the community.




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