Napa Valley Community Awards Honorees Feted; Mayor Named as 2014 Visionary

Mechanics Bank and Napa Chamber of Commerce present eighth annual event to honor local heroes.

Credit: Napa Chamber.
Credit: Napa Chamber.

Napa Mayor Jill Techel was announced as the 2014 Outstanding Community Visionary at Thursday night’s Community Awards ceremony, held at 500 First Street. 

Introduced by Dorothy Lind-Salmon as “someone who can see into the future and act in the present to collectively make the best happen for an entire community,” Techel accepted the award, noting “I am thrilled, pleased and honored to accept this award."

"Napa is a great place to work and live," she said,"and I’m glad to be here.”

The Wiseman Co. awarded the 2014 College Student of the Year, Cassarie Soungpanya of Napa Valley College with a scholarship. 

Her family’s first-generation graduate, Soungpanya expressed gratitude in her acceptance, with a special nod of thanks to her instructors at Napa Valley College: “I’m happy to positively contribute to the Napa Valley and thank you for the many opportunities I’ve had to give back to the community.”  

Napa Chamber of Commerce Chair Ken Frank, along with Mechanics Bank Chairman Michael Downer, welcomed nearly 200 guests to the event, which featured heartfelt video introductions of the honorees (including a humorous “interview” with Family Service of Napa Valley’s therapy dog, Shep). 

Chris Templeton hosted the event, during which each of the nine honorees was awarded a plaque from the Chamber, represented by Frank, and Mechanics Bank, represented by Assistant Vice President Alfredo Pedroza. 

They also received certificates of recognition from representatives from Congressman Mike Thompson, Senator Lois Wolk and Assemblymember Mariko Yamada.  

The Chamber and Mechanics Bank each year teams up with the Napa County Office of Education to also recognize the County’s Teacher of the Year. 

Christoper O’Connor summed up the essence of this year’s group of honorees well: “No matter how much we pour into what we do, the return is always greater.” 

Mechanics Bank has been a co-sponsor of the Community Awards for the past eight years, along with the Napa Chamber Foundation

This year, proceeds from the event are donated to the Adopt-A-School program, an organization aimed at connecting all schools in Napa County with businesses that will help further enhance local children’s educational experience. 

Following the ceremony, guests enjoyed savory bites from members of the Oxbow Garden Co-Op, including La Toque, Zuzu, Hog Island Oysters, Fish Story, Carpe Diem, Oenotri, The Thomas, CaMomi Enoteca and Kitchen Door

Wine was provided by Ca'Momi Winery, Jamieson Ranch Vineyards, St. Clair Brown Winery, Flora Springs Winery, Stanly Ranch Vineyard and Vermeil Wines.

The following honorees were celebrated at the 2014 Napa Valley Community Awards

Outstanding Community Visionary: 
Napa Mayor Jill Techel

Outstanding Community Booster: 
Michael Holcomb

Outstanding Nonprofit Organization: 
Family Services Napa Valley

Outstanding Nonprofit Employee: 
Mark Bontrager, Aldea Children & Family Services

Outstanding Healthcare Professional: 
Napa Valley Hospice & Adult Day Services

Outstanding Hospitality/Tourism: 
Teresa Graham, Napa Valley Tours & Transportation

Outstanding College Student: 
Cassarie Soungpanya, Napa Valley College

Special Project Recognition: 
Hilary Zunin, Napa Valley CanDo for the Napa Valley Give!Guide 

Napa County Teacher of the Year:  
Christopher O’Connor, St. Helena High School

--Info provided by Napa Chamber of Commerce.



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