In a brief ceremony at Vertigo Coffee in San Juan Bautista on Nov. 24, the San Benito chapter of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) honored local Wayne Norton with its 2020 Veteran of the Year award.
“Wayne was nominated by a board member of LULAC, “San Juan Bautista City Councilman Cesar Flores said, “for all the work he does in the community. Everybody gave Wayne a thumb’s up and we all think he is a good choice. He has done a lot of good as a member of Rotary and is an all-around asset to the county.”
Flores presented the award alongside Mickie Luna, former Hollister council member and founder of San Benito County’s LULAC Council, and Vince Luna, LULAC veterans committee chair. The presentation had been intended for Veterans Day, however the plaque was not ready in time.
Norton, a veteran of the Vietnam War, has served for eight years on the Aromas Water Board, was on the founding staff of Anzar High School, and has served on the board of directors of the San Benito Senior Council. He also ran for Board of Supervisors District 2 on Nov. 3.
“It is a great honor to be recognized as Veteran of the Year by LULAC,” Norton said. “Previous recipients have all been people who have given to the community and it makes me happy that every year they recognize veterans who continue to contribute. I am proud that I have been an advocate for justice and rights for young people and seniors.”
Norton received an acrylic plaque with an engraved inscription reading “San Benito County LULAC Council #2890 on the Occasion of its 27th Annual Veteran’s Breakfast is profoundly honored to recognize Wayne Norton, US Army, for Courage, Sacrifice, and Loyalty to County and Community.”
Norton pointed to one 2020 project which brought him personal satisfaction: providing Wi-Fi to students who do not otherwise have access.
“Our major endeavor this year in the Rotary Club has been to try to bridge the digital divide in our school district,” Norton said. “About 20% of the student body in our district does not have access to the internet. We have equipped five buses that we park around the district that helps resolve that issue. We are also working to extend Wi-Fi coverage to the school parking lots to help students that way as well.”
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