Business / Economy

Gavilan announces community spirit awards

Three local awards will be presented in Hollister on Oct. 22

The Gavilan College Board of Trustees announced the winners of the 2014 Community Spirit Awards, which are presented annually in each of the communities served by college. The awards honor the people and institutions that contribute to improving the quality of life in each community. Each of the three sets of awards includes an individual, a business, and an organization.

The 2014 awards for San Benito County will be presented to Ruth Erickson, Comstock Community Farm, and San Benito Bene at the Hollister Downtown Association Breakfast sponsored by Gavilan College on Oct. 22.

Information about this year’s winners was provided by their nominators:

Ruth Erickson
When asked, Ruth Erickson will say that she’s a community advocate. To advocate means to be a supporter, and a believer, but also to encourage. Believing in her Community, she does not advocate for the status quo or “it’s always been this way – it’s never going to change” but, encourage that organization, that city department, that elections department, that county department, the local health care system to extend services, look at new ways of delivering services, being more responsive to all members of the community; developing new programs of diverse cultures and inspiring us to look at our local and national history through her years of visiting classrooms throughout San Benito County and events at the county library. By providing for cultural exchanges through the Sister Cities Program and international student exchange programs, Ruth’s enthusiasm for introducing others to the wonders of other cultures became a significant and enriching part of life in San Benito County. The concept of “fun” in fundraising has been a personal mantra – it’s always been more fun to lug glass jars of pennies collected from students enrolled in the San Benito County schools so that “the children will feel part of the effort we’re making to bring the bookmobile back."
Believing in her community, Ruth has contributed her insight to the county Grand Jury; the 156 Bypass/Measure A Committee; was a founding member of school and community-related action committees; advocated for the provision of streamlined ways of filing forms, conducting business, getting answers to community members’ questions. As president of the Hollister Airmen’s Association, she has sustained the enthusiasm of pilots (which she isn’t) and the plane owner (which she is not) and has been a significant part of our community’s interest in the growth and importance of the Hollister Airport.
Comstock Community Farm
This organization supports learning and partners with educational institutions while helping provide farm-fresh organic food to the less fortunate. They provide K-12 students with interactive interdisciplinary hands-on activities related to the production of healthy food to support curriculum with real-world experiences at their family farm. Comstock Community Farms partnered with Gavilan College Computer Graphics and Design department to provide environmental design students with an opportunity to learn about sustainable design practices while developing a completing a housing and educational facility for this organization. This project enabled students who had little knowledge of the needs of agricultural residents to learn how to support users unique needs. Students also gained knowledge about reuse of building materials and farm practices. This community resource helps students learn about the importance of sustainable practices in all aspects of life.
San Benito Bene
San Benito Bene deals and collaborates directly with area talents and innovative artisans. It is a “One-Stop” gift shop in an artistic environment with hometown friendliness. San Benito Bene was awarded the 2013 Retail Business of the Year and Best Locally Made Products. The nomination said: “I love this store and the owner is so friendly and truly loves what she does. It is filled with local products. The owner, Kathina Szeto, is a perfect representative and promoter of our local community. This award was designed for people and businesses like this.”

BenitoLink Staff