Celebrating ‘Spirit of Solano’
By Robin Miller
RMiller@TheReporter.com @RobinMiller1883 on
It was a packed house at Fairfield’s Hilton Garden Inn for lunch Thursday
afternoon as civic and business leaders from across Solano County gathered to
honor companies they feel best exemplify the “Spirit of Solano.”
The annual event marked its 19th year honoring Solano County’s chambers of
commerce and businesses, each chamber selected for embodying a spirit of
helping the community and improving the local quality of life.
Vacaville’s chamber nominated and honored its business of the year, Kaiser
Permanente, with chamber board president Tracy Mitchell noting the healthcare
provider’s commitment to Solano county dating back to 1946, when it first
opened its Vallejo facility until today, with its new Vacaville Hospital
designated a Level II trauma center.
“Each year, Kaiser Permanente provides nearly $5 million in grants and
sponsorships to nonprofit organizations serving Solano and Napa counties, in
addition to providing subsidized health care to many low-income families,” he
noted From Dixon, family-owned Cattlemen’s Restaurant was honored with the
chamber noting “their long relationships in Dixon have been extremely important
to the success of their business.”
Abby Becker accepted the award and in brief comments said the restaurant
“realizes the important of giving back to the community that has supported us”
and thanked the community and chamber for the years of support.
The Fairfield-Suisun Chamber honored Chick-filA in Fairfield and The Salvation
Army Kroc Center in Suisun City.
Chick-fil-A franchise owner Annette Fortney thanked the chamber for its support
and offered a word of encouragement for young people, who may still be looking “for
their dream” and uncertain of their future. “Yes, you can,” she said. “If I did
it, you can as well.”
The Salvation Army’s Capt. Jonathan Harvey was also grateful and vowed to
continue to uphold a “vision of excellence” laid out for the center, which
provides a host of programs from art to music, education and recreation.
“We are proud to be able to serve this county,” he said. “Tens of thousands
visit and use the facility and like the song says, you ain’t seen nothing yet!”
The Vallejo Chamber of Commerce recipient brought down the house, though.
Medic Ambulance and the Manfredi family (its owners) were honored by the
chamber for being “all that is good in business and the community,” said Tom
Atwood, chamber board president. He noted that from the founding of the
business in 1979, the firm has grown from 10 employees and 2 ambulances, to a
company with 225 employees and 75 vehicles serving Solano, Sacramento and
Placer counties. In addition he noted the company’s plan to open new
headquarters in Vallejo in 2015 that will include a state-of-the-art dispatch
center, education center, and logistical and administrative office.
Rudy Manfredi then took the stage and joked that he’d been waiting for the
honor for years. Praising Vallejo, he quipped that when his family came to
America and landed in New York, he wanted nothing to do with the big city. “I
said, ‘No, I want to go to Vallejo!’” he insisted, as the crowd roared with
The list of chambers and honorees included: Benicia Chamber: Alonzo & Small
Insurance Agency, Inc.
Dixon Chamber: Cattlemens Fairfield-Suisun Chamber: Chick-fil-A and The
Salvation Army Kroc Center Filipino-American Chamber: Skyview Memorial Lawn
Solano County Black Chamber: U.S. Military Veteran Family Resource Center, Inc.