A kind art teacher, an adventurous grandfather, an ideal neighbor, a teacher of math and fitness and a caring tutor are the esteemed subjects of essays written by local students for Vacaville's 11th annual Tribute to Seniors Day.
The winning Senior Mentor writings show the respect and affection the young essayists have for neighbors, teachers and relatives who have made a difference in their lives. Their admiration is exemplified by a line in the grand prize-winning essay written by Brittani Klindworth about her mentor, Jane Millmann: ''Mrs. Millmann will always be there for me. And I want her to know that I love her for who she is and that she can count on me.''
For her essay, Brittani will be awarded a $200 U.S. Savings Bond. Winners of $100 saving bonds are four other young writers: Lucero Trujillo, Stephanie Justino, Brooke Sullivan and Dejalove Thomas.
Here are the five winning Senior Mentor essays:
By Brittani Klindworth
The senior that I choose, who is very special to me, is Mrs. Jane Millmann. I began to love Mrs. Millmann the moment she walked into my first-grade classroom. She was my art teacher, but last year she retired. I knew I would never have another art teacher like her.
I have to say it was Mrs. Millmann who opened the doors of art to me and I have loved art ever since. I will always remember and thank her for doing that for me. I have painted many pictures with her and she has taught me many things, like brush techniques, respect, kindness, passion for the things you love and, most of all, love. She has told me to love art, to paint the way you feel and see the picture you are to paint.
She is very special to me the way she is, and, as I get older, I realize that she is like an older version of me when I think of myself as an adult.
Mrs. Millmann has helped me in many unique ways. Like when my dad got sick and had to stay in the hospital, Mrs. Millmann offered to let me and my sister stay at her house. When she does something nice for my family or others, it always tells me how kind, loving and respectful she is. Through that small act of kindness she did my family a huge favor. As they always say, "One little thing you do can make a big difference" and that is true. My mom was able to visit my dad and know that her daughters were in good hands.
Another time when she was kind was when she invited me over for art lessons. It was just she and I together, teaching me art. She always had something new for me to learn, like how to paint with acrylic paints or watercolors. It never was boring. Through these lessons I am the improving artist that I am today.
During shared moments like these in my life, the two of us have created a special bond. This bond is not weak, but strong! And will continue to grow. This bond was created during all the fun times we've spent together and the love we share. This bond will always, and I mean always, remind me that during the hard times, like when my dad was sick, and the happy times, like during art lessons. Mrs. Millmann will always be there for me. And I want her to know that I love her for who she is and that she can count on me.
In my opinion, Mrs. Millmann is a wonderful and loving person. I know that I can look up to her. I would like to thank her for the kindness that she has showed me and my family and for loving me.
I feel very lucky to have met her and to have her as a family friend.
• Brittani Klindworth, 11, is a sixth- grader at Notre Dame School. She is the daughter of Thomas and Bess Klindworth.
By Lucero Trujillo
My favorite senior is a teacher named Mr. Mark Horrigan. The reason why he's my favorite teacher is because he helps me with my algebra. He never makes me feel like I am stupid and don't know anything. If I were to get something wrong, he would simply just show me how to do it. He does a lot of work on the board so I can visually understand it.
I don't know how old he is, but he did say that he was older than 55. He makes me laugh a lot because I always bring chips and soda and he always says "I can't believe you're eating that junk," and I always ask why and he says "It makes you live less, don't you want to enjoy life?" Which makes me think a lot about taking care of myself.
He tells me that he wakes up at 5 in the morning to exercise. He says that he eats only three meals a day and washes his hands constantly. He also told me that he stopped going to fast-food restaurants five years ago because it's not healthy for your body.
All of the things that he tells me really inspire me to do better with my health and the way that he dedicates and helps me with my homework really inspires me a lot.
If I have to have a geometry class, I would love for him to be my teacher because he is one of the few teachers who helps me with my homework outside of class. This is why I choose him to be my favorite senior over 55 years old. And still looking young.
• Lucero Trujillo, 16, is a junior at Vacaville High School. She is the daughter of Blanca and Armino Trujillo.
By Stephanie Justino
Do you have someone special?
Well, I do. Her name is Maria.
Maria Martinez is our neighborhood friend. You can always see her watering her roses in the morning and saying hello to everyone who passes. To me she is the most caring person in Vacaville.
When I was 3, my baby brother got very sick. My mom called the ambulance. I was sleeping and Maria came to take care of me in the middle of the night. She still goes with our neighbors to the doctors when their kids get sick.
When I was in first grade she came to my school for Grandparents Day. She sat with me and all of the other kids that didn't have a grandparent with them. She was our adoptive grandmother for the day.
For Easter she always makes my brother and I these beautiful baskets full of eggs that she makes herself. She decorates them with stickers, colors and handmade animal figures that she puts inside them.
Last year she made a baby shower for a neighbor whose family lives out of the country. On Christmas she gives us cookies that she makes herself. They are delicious! It's something we look forward to every year. During spring, she gives me flowers from her garden for my room and cherry tomatoes for my brother.
Maria is so, so, so nice! She always thinks about others. That is why she is so special to all of us in our Vacaville neighborhood.
• Stephanie Justino, 9, is the daughter of Patricia and Hector Justino
By Dejalove Thomas
My grandpa's name is James E. Jackson. He was born May 9, 1954, in Illinois.
He is special to me because he has traveled many times in his life to many different countries around the world. He is a very adventurous person and I would like to travel and do amazing things, just like he did.
I will name some of the countries and tell you what amazing things he has done. He has been to Germany, Japan, Nigeria, Egypt, Afghanistan, Qatar and Oman. He also has been to Thailand, the Philippines, Pakistan, Greenland, Iceland, France, Italy, Sicily, Turkey, Hawaii, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Alaska. How did he get to go to all of these amazing places? Well, he joined the Air Force and the bases he has served at included Lajes Field in the Azores, Davis-Monthan, Travis, Norton, Chanute and Lackland.
Now I am going to tell you of his experiences and amazing things he has done. When my grandpa first joined the Air Force he wanted to be a pilot, but people told him he was too tall to fly a plane. He did not know that this was not true, but his dream was to work with planes, so he told himself if he could not pilot planes, he is going to do something that involved planes and he did - he worked on planes. He made the plane work. He also put huge parts together and he flew on the planes he worked on. He flew on the C-5, a plane that can carry anything. He has also been to the South Pole in Antarctica. His mission was to take scientists to Christchurch, New Zealand. The plane landed on a huge, thick patch of ice. My grandpa and his crew could not take off because it was so cold. The fuel had to be heated, the crew had to go outside and put heaters in the wheels and heat the hydraulic lines. It was 50 degrees below zero that day. After they took off, one of the crew asked Grandpa if he would like to work in the South Pole. He refused and said it was just too cold for him.
My grandpa also told me about Germany. He said the people there were really nice and fun. He told me about Greenland and Iceland. He says he does not know why or get why they are named that because Greenland is cold and Iceland is warm. He has also been to Egypt, as I said before and, yes, he has seen the Pyramids. Now I am going to tell you about the time he was in Nigeria. When my grandpa and the crew arrived in Nigeria they quickly realized it was a poor country. All of the roads there were made of dirt. When my grandpa arrived at a hotel, one of the best ones Nigeria has, it did not look like much at all. There was a guard standing at the door who looked at him as if he did not belong. Nigerians do not really like Americans, Grandpa told me. Grandpa could not wait to leave Nigeria.
I had to save my favorite country he has been to for last: Japan. He said the streets of Japan are very crowded. Everywhere you walk there is someone there and that there is something going on 24 hours a day.
Well, thank you for going on this journey with me about my grandpa and what I'll remember about him is everything he has told me. He also told me never to forget or give up on your dreams and goals - "Go out and get it!''
Grandpa said it has been nothing but an adventure to him.
• Dejalove Thomas, 17, is now living in Denver, Colo. She is the daughter of Lareesa Radcliff Thomas and Curtis Thomas.
By Brooke Sullivan
A senior many people know and love is Marilynn Anderson, a journalist known for her kids column, "The Link," in The Reporter.
Marilynn is a thoughtful person who helps kids out in her community. She is not just kind, but is also a genius when it comes to writing poetry, as can be seen when viewing her blog on Allpoetry.com, or her own Web site just for kids, poetryplanet.com. Not only does she help out the Vacaville community, but the world's by recycling and being resourceful in her everyday life. She is a gardener who respects Mother Nature.
If you have a question about Vacaville, Marilynn is the one to ask. She is an experienced Vacavillian who knows just about everyone. My family and I met Marilynn when my younger brother was in the second-grade (three years ago) and have been friends ever since. She teaches young children how to read and helps older kids by making a creative approach in the less-fun subjects.
Mrs. A, as she is known as by her students, is always there to help with book reports and other school projects. One of her favorite things to do with the leftover time she has with students is to make art projects, because she is also an artist. Looking into her teaching room, you would see a studio filled with art from kids of all ages, that of my brother's and mine included. Marilynn makes learning fun by making games and interviewing us for the newspaper.
So you see, Marilynn Anderson is not only a talented writer, artist, teacher and poet, but is also a kind and caring figure in our Vacaville community. She is a supportive person who makes friends with everyone who meets her. Because my brother and I have no grandparents close by, Marilynn is like an adopted grandmother to us.
Even though she may not have realized it, she has etched more than just history and arithmetic into our minds. Marilynn has paved the way for the future citizens of not just Vacaville but also the whole world, to grow up and be better people who will go to college and make a difference someday.
If every city were as blessed as we are to have people like Marilynn Anderson, the world would be a much better place. I do not know what we would do without her.
• Brooke Sullivan, 15, is a sophomore at Vacaville High School. She is the daughter of Cary and Lee Dowdy.
Cherished volunteers and mentors who normally operate behind the scenes will be brought on stage and into the spotlight Wednesday when Vacaville celebrates its older residents at the daylong ''Tribute to Seniors.''
This year, 12 seniors will be honored with awards at the event, five as mentors to young people and seven as all-round good citizens who feed the hungry, coach youngsters, support veterans, promote good causes and, in general, inspire others.
Profiled here are the seven outstanding seniors who were nominated for their community service.
Donna Sooter is no stranger to the Tribute to Seniors program. She has served on the event's organizing committee for the past several years. But this year she will step from behind the scenes and receive recognition herself, "for a little while at least." Her time on the stage will brief, she says, before it's time to get back to work helping out throughout the Tribute to Seniors day.
In addition to helping organize Tribute to Seniors, Sooter has been involved with the local veterans organizations for quite some time and for good reasons, as Betty Bryan writes in her nomination letter, below.
By Betty C. Bryan
It's about time! It's about a special lady! We have a lady among us who gives of herself unselfishly to the veterans and to the community.
My friend, Donna Sooter: military widow, Gold Star Mother and volunteer.
Donna was born Donna Dickey, 1929, in Mankato, Minn. She was raised in Wyoming and moved to Spokane, Wash., where she graduated from high school in 1949 and attended business college. She worked as a retail sales clerk until she met Walter Sooter, who was in the United States Air Force. They married in 1950, raised three children, Sandra, Gary and David, and have 11 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. Being a military family, they served in Germany and Morocco, and were stationed in Wichita Falls, Kan., and Abilene, Texas, Cheyenne, Wyo., Fairchild, Wash., and many more places. They finally settled into life at Travis Air Force Base where he retired after 25 years of service. After retirement, Donna was an assistant buyer for Frederick & Nelson until another move.
Walter and Donna lost both sons in the Vietnam War and Donna lost her husband in 1999.
Since that time, Donna has devoted herself to veterans organizations and volunteer work at McBride Senior Center. She has served on the Salute to Seniors committee for several years, has been a member of the Disabled American Veterans Auxiliary, has served as president of the American Legion Auxiliary for the past four years, is second vice president of the 40&8 organization and has also served as sergeant-at-arms for the American Legion Auxiliary District 5. Her many duties as president of the auxiliary include working on the Girls State interview panel and the citizenship and scholarship committees.
As a member of the Veterans Memorial Hall Association, she has helped organize and has worked with all the veterans organizations meeting at the Veterans Hall. You'll see Donna at the Fiesta Days Parade, Veterans Day Celebration, POW-MIA Remembrance Ceremony, the Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners, crab feeds, visiting the Veterans Home of California in Yountville and visiting returning soldiers at David Grant Medical Center at Travis Air Force Base.
She is always first in line to offer her support and time to others, from cleaning the Veterans Hall to helping raise funds or raffle prizes for the many programs of the different organizations or manning the phones when needed.
So it's about time we as a community recognize this woman who is not bitter about her great loss but is willing to move forward and help our veterans and military families and, thus, our community. God Bless America and people like Donna.
Despite being a very active member of our community and a frequent volunteer on numerous projects, Shauna Manina admits she is "not very comfortable with personal recognition of any type. I am a private person." So, to learn that she had been nominated as an Outstanding Senior came as a "big surprise" and did admittedly cause her a bit of discomfort. "I appreciate being nominated, but the recognition isn't important to me; what is important to me is to make this a better community. I love this community and do all this because it is the right thing to do."
Shauna absolutely loves working hard on all her projects, but in the background and out of the spotlight, notes Lewis Derfuss, who calls her "a behind-the-scenes leader, an organizer, a visionary ...''
By Lewis C. Derfuss
Shauna works for The Reporter as a special events/project coordinator, Newspapers in Education Coordinator, and an editor of Around Town Vacaville magazine.
A behind-the-scenes leader, an organizer, a visionary, a community pillar, a dedicated volunteer who inspires others to follow, and a friend. These words best describe Shauna.
My first acquaintance with Shauna was many years ago, when she appeared as a clown along with a Baskin- Robbin's representative at a campout at the Boy Scout Camp at Lake Berryessa, sponsored by Parents For Heroes. This is a support group for children and families of children with cancer, leukemia and other catastrophic diseases. Despite the unbearable 110-plus degree temperatures and the added heat that a full clown costume affords, Shauna kept her cool and brought joy to both the children (most of whom have since died) and family members alike. This was my first sampling of this outstanding senior.
It wasn't until years later that I would really come to appreciate the true untiring efforts of Shauna. This became more apparent as I was given the opportunity to support many of the community events that were either organized or orchestrated by Shauna. While serving the community as a commissioner with Vacaville Office of Housing and Redevelopment, she was instrumental in starting many of the activities that have been put on at the Vacaville CreekWalk. Some of these activities included the Friday night summer concert series that still go on today, Saturday car shows, jazz concerts, Kid Fest and many other activities.
Another vision of Shauna that I have been privileged to participate in and watch grow is the Basket of Hope Program that provides Easter Baskets to many underprivileged children. I have watched this fantastic program grow from providing about 200 baskets initially several years ago to more than 1,000 baskets this year.
Another major city event that Shauna plays a key role in is Merriment on Main, the community Christmas tree-lighting ceremony. She is the focal point for entertainment, refreshments, security, setup and any problems that may arise. Today we recognize some of our city's outstanding senior citizens for their contributions as we have for 11 years. Guess who was instrumental in ensuring this program continues every year? It should be no surprise, Shauna is again behind the scenes, serving in many capacities.
Although Shauna never got the opportunity to serve in the military personally, she is definitely a friend to the veteran. She has been a driving force in many veterans activities such as Veterans Day and 9/11 remembrance activities. She was not only instrumental in getting the veterans memorial at the CreekWalk, but when vandalism struck, coordinated efforts with the police department to establish a community watch program to counter the vandalism.
Shauna is also a member and liaison with several motorcycle clubs: ABATE and the Patriot Guard Riders are two that I am aware of. These groups are active supporters of the Basket of Hope, Christmas Toy Run and many other community activities. When anti-war protesters started disrupting and dishonoring our fallen soldiers' funerals, Shauna, along with the Patriot Guard Riders, were instrumental in discouraging protesters' activities and ensured the grieving families of fallen servicemen and servicewomen were afforded the uninterrupted privacy and honors deserved. Some of Shauna's continuous efforts were recognized when the Vacaville Veterans Memorial Building Board, representing all the Vacaville veterans organizations and their auxiliaries, selected her as the Non-Veteran of the Quarter in September 2003.
Shauna's works and acts of kindness go well beyond what can be highlighted in this short writing and many times will go unnoticed unless you happen to observe them. She is not one to talk about her good deeds and, if asked about them, she will humbly minimize that she did anything significant. She is an anonymous, behind-the-scenes doer who makes things happen. Her actions are driven by her heart and her love for people and her community, not her ego or a desire to be recognized.
Last, but certainly not least, Shauna is a friend who can be counted upon to be there making a difference. It is for these reasons that I proudly submit Shauna Manina's name as Vacaville's Most Outstanding Senior Citizen and hope you will help me recognize her at the 2007 Tribute to Seniors recognition ceremony.
"When you're doing what you enjoy, it doesn't feel like you're doing anything special," observes ''Rush'' Dally as he reflects on his Tribute to Seniors nomination. The Vacaville native will admit he is enjoying the spotlight the nomination focuses on him, and believes "it is an honor," but "I don't look at volunteering as doing anything special, because I am doing things I enjoy. So, to get the recognition is an added bonus."
And there are many things Rush enjoys doing, from coaching freshman football to serving as a volunteer firefighter, as outlined in the essay below.
By Shelley Dally
Most people who know Rush Dally have no idea how much he has done for the small community of Elmira and for the youth of Vacaville. Like his father before him, William Morris Dally, he just does what needs to be done, but he never touts it.
Rush has been a member of the Vacaville Rural Volunteer Fire Department for the last 26 years as well as a stint he did sometime in the late '50s. All of our married life, we have lived with a plectron in our home, calling him to aid someone 24-7. He is now 66 years old, probably one of the oldest firefighters in the district, and he still gets up in the middle of the night when that thing sounds off. He still gets dressed in that turn-out gear when it is 110 degrees out and fights back the flames of a grass fire. It is not something he talks about, but like his father before him, who was also an Elmira fireman, it is just something he does.
When Elmira had a crisis with its water supply, it was Rush who stepped to the forefront to bring the citizens of Elmira together with the folks from the state to find solutions. He called meetings and read hundreds of pages of documents. He worked on solutions. He worked closely with SID and Rural California Housing and a "city" water well was installed. A pumping station was built on A Street to filter and clean the water that had become polluted. Rush was there the whole time.
The youth of Vacaville have also benefited greatly from Rush's dedication to sports. Like many fathers, he coached his own son's teams of football, T-ball, baseball, soccer, basketball and bowling from the time they could be on a team until our youngest was finished with high school. Having been a teacher in Vacaville Unified School District, he always viewed his job as a coach as educating children about the game and teaching them to play it, to love it, so like him they could continue it for the rest of their lives. (As I write this, he is off and running to "old man's softball.") He was never the kind of coach who "yelled" at, belittled or favored children. He educated them.
Our sons are now both twentysomethings and he no longer coaches them (he's now playing with them on a Thursday night city softball team and bowling in leagues with them), but for the past last two years, he has helped coach Will C. Wood freshman football.
He walked in to volunteer, not knowing a kid on the team. He has dedicated every day of the season from after school until 6 p.m. to these kids, as well as the days and hours for summer weight training, football camp and coaches' training. He attends the games and sits with the younger teams during varsity games. The hours he puts in as a volunteer are incredible. I can often be heard asking, "You are going where?" with his response being, "The football team is having a fundraiser," or "I am passing water out," or "I am distributing uniforms today," etc.
"Staying active" and "wellness," are buzzwords throughout the media these days. But Rush lives this. He is not Mr. Bodybuilder, but he has been involved with and managed for a multitude of sports, including the "Buffalo Chips," for the past 30 years. He has been, and continues to be, on Buffalo Chips softball and bowling teams, showing those younger fortysomethings they have a good 20 years to keep on enjoying their sports. Throughout the past 30 years, he participated in city leagues in volleyball, softball, basketball and, one year, even football. He has been on countless bowling leagues, from teacher leagues to scratch leagues, from morning senior leagues to leagues that used to run from 9 p.m. until midnight.
I know I am his wife, and, of course, should just be proud of him and stay in the background, but no one knows the sum total of all he does except me, because he never says a thing. I don't want to wait to "eulogize" him some day with all he has done for our town, but instead I want to see him tearfully accept an award for outstanding senior, for that is what he is, and you can bet if he gets this, he will have tears!
"It's really important to provide families with food, especially families with children, and seniors, too," says Pat Havel, when she explains why she does so much volunteering for the Food Locker program at St. Mary's Church. "Many of the people we work with don't have health care, so we try to make sure they get balanced food and a selection of meats and milk when we have it; we're trying to keep people as healthy as possible."
Working in the background is where Haval is most comfortable and, as such, she had "no clue" her mother, Maxcie Negley, had "asked other people, my husband, my friends," enough questions to collect the information Negley needed to write the following nomination letter for her daughter.
By Maxcie Negley
I would like to nominate my daughter, Patricia Havel, as a candidate for a Tribute to Seniors Award for 2007 in recognition of her services to her church and this community.
From her early participation in training puppies for Guide Dogs for the Blind to her present position as volunteer director of St. Mary's Food Locker, she has been involved in many volunteer programs, advocating for those who don't have a voice, especially the homeless.
Pat has been a volunteer in the Food Locker program at St. Mary's Church since 1993. She became the director in 1994, and she supervises a staff of 50-55 individuals who collect, package and distribute food five days a week for the more than 1,500 registered individuals and families. She shares surplus donations with other organizations, such as Vaca Fish, The Storehouse and local migrant workers camps. She networks with Church Women United to provide personal hygiene kits to the homeless and provide them with information about other available community services.
In 1999, recognizing the need for better communications with the Spanish-speaking clients, Pat, at her own time and expense, enrolled in the summer session at the Spanish Cultural Center in San Antonio, Texas, where she completed these concentrated language classes.
Under her guidance, the Food Locker became a member of the Contra Costa-Solano Counties Food Bank, greatly increasing the Food Locker supplies and enabling the local groupl to receive financial help from FEMA. Pat, believing in the importance of teamwork, began networking with the Solano Catholic Social Services.
A valuable service to the community was her initiation of a joint program with DunGarven House, a day-care program for mentally and physically challenged clients. The Food Locker provided meaningful jobs, such as bagging beans and rice, for clients.
The Food Locker is only one of the many commitments Pat has undertaken. After she obtained a teaching certificate from Holy Names College in Oakland and additional graduate credits in theology from St. Mary's College in Moraga, she taught adult Bible studies in Spanish and English for 12 years and classes for aspiring converts to Catholicism at St. Mary's Church; Pat served as a sponsor for many of these candidates. She is a member of St. Mary's Women's Club, where she served as president for two years and is still on the board of directors. She was an active member of the Solano Deanery Council of Catholic Women at both the deanery and diocesan levels. Because of her belief in a sound educational program for the youth, she served as a member of the Notre Dame School Board of Directors for six years, and on several occasions, hosted students participating in the International Studies Exchange Program. She formed lasting friendships with the students and their families.
Aware of her civic responsibilities, Pat served 18 months on the Federal Grand Jury, traveling to Sacramento by car and Amtrak while continuing to carry out her other commitments. She is a tireless advocate for the homeless, having served on the board of directors of the Vacaville Community Welfare Association and the Vacaville Police Committee for the Homeless. Each year she goes to Sacramento to participate in the annual California Catholic Conference Lobby Day, speaking with her legislative representatives, advocating for the homeless. She actively helps unemployed persons find jobs, housing as well as helping others with citizenship applications.
Pat, 62, has lived in Vacaville for 12 years. Her husband, Nick, is a retired physician and they have four adult children. Three graduated from Notre Dame University and one from Loyola University in New Orleans. Three earned master's degrees.
Her spirit of service and giving to her community is a gift which she has passed on to her children who have worked in Habitat for Humanity, Volunteers in Action, with the Jesuit Volunteer Corp teaching underprivileged children. One served as youth director in a parish church.
Pat's most valuable contributions are speaking for those who have no voice, being true to her beliefs and helping others strive to achieve their potential, both personally and professionally.
"Some people come into our lives And quickly go. Some stay awhile And leave foot prints on our hearts And we are never the same."
- Author Unknown
"Solano County does not have a high-volume, low-cost, spay-and-neuter clinic," writes Doris Flood in her letter nominating Mabrey Scott and Kaye Juhl for Tribute to Seniors honors. "As a result, thousands of adoptable cats and dogs are euthanized annually because there are not enough people to adopt them."
Flood was in search of such a spay-and-neuter clinic when she crossed paths with the pet-loving duo of Scott and Juhl. When Flood learned what they do - strictly as volunteers - for animals in this county, she just had to let people know.
In fact, Scott and Juhl met as part of their mission to save animal lives and it wasn't long before the women agreed that two working on the same project is definitely better than one, Scott says.
"It is in our foreseeable future that Solano County will build an animal shelter," Scott says. "It would be a wonderful thing for our citizens if officials included plans for a high-volume, low-cost, spay-and-neuter clinic and attached it to the shelter. It would be an ideal solution" to prevent those many animals having to be euthanized each year.
By Doris Flood
I would like to nominate as outstanding seniors two ladies who work as a volunteer to make our community such a good place to call home. These two ladies are Mabrey Scott and Kaye Juhl.
They volunteer and spend countless hours of their time and many gallons of gasoline to provide a service to Solano County residents and save the lives of unwanted animals.
Solano County does not have a high-volume, low-cost spay and neuter clinic. As a result, thousands of adoptable cats and dogs are euthanized annually because there are not enough people to adopt them.
Ms. Juhl and Ms. Scott pick up and drive to and from a vet clinic in Auburn approximately 1,200 cats, kittens and dogs annually to be spayed and neutered. Think of the animals whose lives are saved by these ladies' time-consuming and heart-warming job.
Within one year one female cat can produce 12 kittens. This could result in an astounding 11,000-plus kittens within a five-year period.
Many Vacaville/Solano County residents harbor the mistaken idea that if they "drop off" their unwanted animals at a driveway or a rural area, someone will keep them and care for them. This is untrue! Most of these animals are killed by road traffic, starve to death or fall prey to foxes and coyotes.
In closing, repeat: Ms. Juhl and Ms. Scott are volunteers. They accept no personal payment for this service to the community.
"I think I have an idea who nominated me for this," laughs Mike Brocato, "but nobody's coppin' to it."
Brocato is a big supporter of the American Red Cross, and, when disaster strikes, he wants to help. "Everybody wants to do something, but you don't know what to do. It's easy to open your wallet or hold out a credit card, but sometimes you have to take it a little bit further."
And take it all further is exactly what Brocato has done, on at least two occasions, writes wife Jane and 15-year-old daughter Taylor, in their nomination essay, below:
By Janet Hardt-Brocato and Taylor Brocato
When disaster strikes, most people feel bad and want to do something, but don't really know what to do. Not Mike Brocato. Mike has always been a leader in all he does, providing the impetus and motivation needed to make something happen.
After the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, he organized a 24-hour telethon with United Artists Cable System and Showtime Network. He arranged for entertainers like Sammy Hagar and Grace Slick, along with local comedians and city leaders, to perform at the Channel 2 news station. The telethon raised $480,000! Mike donated the money to the American Red Cross to help with the much-needed disaster relief effort.
Again, in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina, he organized a neighborhood garage sale in which 10 families participated and donated their proceeds, Frederick & Nelson more than $3,000, to the American Red Cross.
Thank you for considering Mike for the many unselfish contributions he makes to our community. He is a deserving senior who never asks for recognition, but should be acknowledged for what he has done.
JoAnne Joye enjoys working on a variety of volunteer projects, particularly her work with the Soroptimists. She has been a member of this organization since 1987, and continues it because "it is a club that provides services of all sorts to the community, and I believe it is terribly important to support the community."
Her work on the Soroptimists' yearlong public awareness campaign on global warming issues means a great deal to her, says Jana Boyce in her nomination letter, below. Joye agrees that not only is it a rewarding assignment, but an important one as well. Although "I was surprised to be nominated, I am appreciative that one's service work can be recognized. That is nice. But, that's not why I do it; I do it because it needs to be done."
By Jana Boyce
JoAnn Joye and her husband, Martin, have been long-term residents of Vacaville. JoAnn is self-assured, reliable and organized. She is a multifaceted person with many talents. Before she retired from her practice as a Marriage, Family and Child Counselor (MFCC), she was a well-respected member of the medical community. Now that she has retired, JoAnn has kept busy with her community involvement.
She has been a Soroptimist member since 1987 and had many executive and committee roles. But she is taking a large leadership role in starting and chairing the committee on global warming and conservation that has the slogan: "Let's cool it." She obtained and staffed a booth at the Vacaville Farmers Market for Soroptimists to educate the community about global warming. She continues to lead the bulb-planting team for the Vacaville CreekWalk Place of Peace.
But JoAnn has many interests apart from Soroptimists. She is a member of the Vacaville Public Library Commission and a past member of the Vacaville Museum Board.
International travel has taken JoAnn to China and Africa. She has enriched us on her return with a travelogue of her adventures.
Although JoAnn is now a senior, she has a zest for life, learning, participating and volunteering that truly makes her an asset to Vacaville.