Lee was among a lineup of those receiving awards at the annual Celebrate Santa Paula/Citizen of the Year banquet held March 1 at the Community Center.
Jose Melgar, a past recipient of the Beautification Award and a Chamber Board Director, presented the recognition to Lee, who opened his Santa Paula practice in 2012.
“It’s a beautiful building on Main Street,” just east of 8th Street that Melgar said also housed the city’s first dentist, Dr. Brown.
Built in 1926, the two-story building “Evokes an era of when detail and beauty were important” features of architecture in homes and businesses alike.
Vintage photographs of Santa Paula are what Lee uses for decorating his office spaces.
Melgar said the Santa Paula Historical Society also declared the structure the “Building of the Decade,” a location that Lee “turned into a thriving business,” with his orthodontist practice.
A graduate of UCLA Dental School, Lee next attended Columbia University where he became president of his postdoctoral program’s class.
An Eagle Scout who has remained active in the Boy Scouts organization, Lee was California Boys State representative, honored numerous times as a dental student, was a champion UCLA soccer player, and has served as Bishop of the LDS Church of Santa Paula. He has also been active in professional organizations, was an educator both for his professional peers and teaching for children, a lecturer, and a writer.
Lee told the crowd at the March 1 awards ceremony that he was 22-years-old when he proposed to his wife, Debbie.
“I didn’t have a job and when it came close to us getting married,” he was asked “What do I do? I said I don’t know…and then Debbie helped me become an orthodontist,” every step of the way through school to opening the practice.
“I’m just happy,” said Lee, “to be getting the award for being the prettiest!”
The annual awards dinner featured the State of the City Address by Mayor Jenny Crosswhite. Chamber honors were awarded to Citizen of the Year Harold Edwards, Dr. Sam Edwards Lifetime Achievement Award winners Dianne and Dudley Davis, Community Service Awards to Elvia Hernandez and Carlos Juarez, Non-Profit of the Year Blanchard Community Library, Business Beautification Award — Santa Paula Orthodontics Jared T. Lee, DDS MS, Small Business of the Year Red Hot Foods/Santa Paula Salas Co. Burma and Butch Baselice and Large Business of the Year Bank of the Sierra.
Many elected officials and community leaders attended the annual dinner including Supervisor Kelly Long, Vice Mayor Ginger Gherardi and Councilmembers Clint Garman, Martin Hernandez and John Procter.