Monday, December 8, 2014

Celebrating ‘Spirit of Solano’

Celebrating ‘Spirit of Solano’

By Robin Miller @RobinMiller1883 on Twitter

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 laughter.

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.