Celebrate local leaders this week at the ’s .
To be held Thursday at noon at the , the eighth annual event recognizes individuals who have made great contributions to the residents and businesses in Union City.
“There are a lot of volunteers and leaders in our community that do a lot that go unnoticed,” said Dana Hernandez, executive director of the Union City Chamber of Commerce. “We think it’s important to recognize them. It also really brings the community together. It encourages businesses and other members of our community to follow suit and do good in their community.”
The event will honor four individuals, including an employee from the City of Union City, an employee from the , a volunteer of the year and a Chamber business member. The Chamber will also award a local business with the “Best Green Business” award, in conjunction with StopWaste.org.
This year’s winners are:
Nancy George, Director of the (Education):
Nominated by the New Haven Unified School District, George redesigned the New Haven Adult School’s programming this school year in order to allow the school to stay open after almost being shut down due to the district’s budget cuts. She is also a chairperson of the New Haven Equity Task Force and a key member of the New Haven Kids Zone, a new program to provide “cradle-to-career” services for at-risk students.
“[George] is a true believer in the importance of providing equity in our society, be it for adults whose needs were not met by the system, for young people who have been underserved through no fault of their own or for families impacted by poverty, unemployment, crime or other societal ills,” nomination forms said.
Cindy O’Brien, President of the (Volunteer of the Year)
O’Brien will be honored Thursday for her dedication to Union City’s youth.
“As a retired teacher from New Haven, [O’Brien] has demonstrated an honest and thoughtful passion for kids in our district,” said O’Brien’s nomination forms. “She has led the New Haven Schools Foundation the past two years helping New Haven schools and teachers overcome budget cuts and shortfalls.”
In 2011, O’Brien and the Foundation gave out more than $50,000 to local high school students, along with $6,000 in mini-grants to teachers in 2010. She also helped raise more than $50,000 to save co-curricular programs at James Logan High School in 2011 and is committed to raising $50,000 more in 2012.
, retired police chief (Government):
Nominated by City Manager Larry Cheeves, Stewart ended a more than 35-year law enforcement career last month when he retired from his position as Union City’s police chief. But Stewart has protected and served his community in more ways than one.
“It is not only what Greg has accomplished in his professional life that serves as an inspiration, it is how he has served his community in his personal life that illustrates his selfless commitment,” Cheevs wrote in his nomination form.
Outside of his work duties, Stewart has been a member of community service groups Knights of Columbus and Union City Lions Club is a regular volunteer at Our Lady of the Rosary Church where he and his wife help feed those in need.
(Best Green Business)
One of the biggest suppliers of produce packaging in the country, the 175-employee company recycles 900 tons of plastic a year. According to the company, that translates into a 70 percent diversion rate of the company’s waste. Emerald Packaging’s “green” culture and focus also helped them grab a 2008 Alameda County Green Business award.
Jody Stowers, General Manager at is also being honored with the Chamber business award.
The Community Spirit Awards Luncheon will be held from noon to 1:30 p.m. Thursday at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, located at 32083 Alvarado Niles Rd. in Union City. Tickets are $35 per person.
For more information, or to RSVP to the event, contact Dana Hernandez at 510-952-9637 or email@example.com.