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.”
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.
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.
The following honorees were celebrated at the 2014 Napa Valley Community Awards
Outstanding Community Visionary:
Napa Mayor Jill Techel
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.