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Our View: Award winners are Auburn’s stars

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It is the people who make Auburn the fantastic community we call home. Some of those people manage to stand out by selflessly giving of themselves to others. They deserve our gratitude and recognition. On Friday night Auburn honors its own at the State of the Community Dinner. Among those being recognized are: Business of the Year: Community First bank. Community First has led the effort to find the Boys & Girls Club of Auburn a new home. The locally focused bank moved its headquarters Downtown, creating jobs and beautifying the top of the hill on Lincoln Way. Working with the Boys & Girls Club and myriad volunteers, the bank is helping create a permanent and exciting new home for Auburn’s children. Auburn Cultural Award: Auburn’s Cultural Award winner Jennifer Keck will be recognized for her dedication and perseverance in making the Auburn Symphony a cultural gem of the community. Keck, who is going on five years as the symphony’s executive director, has helped promote the orchestra through community outreach projects involving seniors and youth. Symphony music director and conductor Michael Goodwin praised Keck for always putting the orchestra first. Healthcare Award: Dr. Theodore Bacharach has touched dozens of lives in his four decades working as a doctor in Auburn. A private practice physician who went on serve on Sutter Auburn Faith Hospital’s board of directors, Bacharach also taught as a member of the Pulmonary Department at UC Davis. Bacharach is so beloved by the community, he can’t walk the halls of Sutter Auburn Faith without being stopped and hugged by colleagues. It’s his heart that makes him deserving of this award. Educator of the Year: Bart O’Brien. For more than 30 years, O’Brien has tirelessly worked to educate area school children. The 58-year-old superintendent of Placer Union High School put students first, whether he as working with young Colfax ski racers, offering curriculum choices or volunteering through Auburn Rotary Club. The self-described “jack-of-all-trades” educator has led by example, most often with a smile and kind word for those around him. Friend of Agriculture: Teena Wilkins will be recognized for her efforts to make the Auburn area a destination for wine lovers. She has also given long hours to promote buying local fruits and produce, meat and flowers. She has also led the way in creating the Auburn Winery Trail and Placer Hills Winery Trail, promoting agri-tourism that brings much needed dollars into the local economy and preserves open space. Friend of Recreation: Laura Pinnick, whose enthusiasm, energy and volunteer spirit led to the creation of the Ashley Memorial Dog Park will be honored for her successful efforts. Led a four-year fund-raising effort that made the park a reality. The community effort utilized volunteer labor and created one of Auburn’s most-used park facilities. City Volunteer of the Year: Glenn Tonkin will be honored for bringing a better cable TV provider to town and his heroic efforts to make public access television available to everyone. He has served as chairman of the Auburn Telecommunication Commission and president of Auburn Community television’s board of directors... Auburn-area County Employee of the Year: Barbara Besana was District 3 Supervisor’s pick because of her work both as administrative services manager with the Place County Sheriff’s Department and many volunteer efforts in the community. She’s a longtime Auburn Boys & Girls Club leader and her service with Auburn Rotary ranges has ranged from playing a major role organizing its annual barbecue to spending two weeks as a volunteer leader at the organization’s youth leadership camp in the Sierra. Vernon Gould McCann Award: Bart Ruud, an ultra volunteer and hands on worker will be recognized for his extraordinary community service. Through Auburn Rotary he has donated countless hours for Project Auburn and other volunteer efforts. And his personal mission to help veterans returning from service transition successfully back into the community has been awe-inspiring. Those honored Friday night should serve as role models for our community. We are all in this together. By recognizing and confronting our local challenges and rising up to solve any problems we face together, our community will become stronger and our lives will be enriched. Congratulations to all of this year’s winners.