NORTH FORK – This is the 33rd year that North Fork residents will gather to honor one (or two) of their own for service to the community at the annual Citizen of the Year Dinner.
The event will be Saturday, Feb. 1, 6 p.m. at the North Fork Town Hall, sponsored by the North Fork Boosters, and includes dinner and a no host bar.
Last year’s winner Hansel Kern, along with his family and crew from the Kern Family Farm, will be preparing a feast of vegetable pot pie, barbequed meat, potato leek soup and a big salad bar. Juliette Thrapp of Wildflour Cottage Bakery is baking the rolls. District 5 Supervisor Tom Wheeler will be emceeing the evening’s events.
The North Fork Boosters accept nominations between mid-December and mid-January. Anyone can submit a nomination, with a letter expounding the virtues and contributions of their candidate.
All past winners are invited to participate in the selection of the new Citizen of the Year, gathering to vote for the nominee they feel is most worthy.
There are five nominees for Citizen of the Year 2013, designated by letters from community members –
David and Donna Fisher – Dave and Donna have worked tirelessly with the food bank and were instrumental in getting the Food Bank truck to come to North Fork. Thanks to David’s commitment and efforts, the Food Bank large truck comes once a month, and David is usually on hand to help distribute the food. This one project services over 200 needy families.
Ten years ago, Donna helped start the Grace Community Church twice-a-month community dinners that enable the less fortunate to socialize and enjoy a good meal. The Friendship Circle is also part of the church, and Donna helps in voting on and dispensing funds, with monies going to residents, school projects or other town organizations. Dave and Donna have also worked with the Thrift Store at the Grace Community Church to meet the needs of area residents.
Mark Logee – Mark recently retired from the Chawanakee School District as Maintenance, Building and Transportation Director, after 20+ years with the District making things run smoothly for our kids, teachers, parents, and all that came in contact with him.
Mark has served the past 13 years at the Logger’s Jamboree gate, has been the announcer at this event and has volunteered numerous hours doing maintenance on Town Hall and the Recreation Center. Mark has worked the Jamboree 4th of July Parade for more years then he would want to count, collecting the parade applications, lining up the contestants, providing the entries a number for the judges, making up a history of the entries for the announcers and in general putting on a great parade.
Mark has supported most of the local organizations and events by buying tickets and crafts, supporting the Fire Dept. Auxiliary B.B.Q., Mono Museum Thanksgiving Dinner, the Chili Cook Off; and pancake breakfasts, just to name a few.
Mark has been known to prepare the grounds at Town Hall for the Women’s Club Fall Festival Yard and Craft Sales without being asked. His friendly attitude, jolly personality, helpful ways, giving spirit, and countless hours of volunteer work help our community to be a better place.
Roger Robinette – Whenever there is an event going on in the area, Roger is there to capture it “on film.” A talented photographer, Roger is always willing and able to be there, whether it’s the Logger’s Jamboree or a grade school play.
He shares his photos on Facebook, with news organizations and with those who are the subject of his photographs. For the Squirrel Cage Theatre’s Valentines Dinner/Dance, Roger set up a photo area at Town Hall and took beautiful photos of singles, couples and groups, printing them out on the spot for barely what it cost to do the work. Guests were able to take home a professional photo of themselves all dressed up for a formal evening out.
It is thanks to Roger that North Fork has a digital diary of the local happenings for the past many years, and he is always willing to share with anyone who asks. Roger is a great photographer, a generous human being, and just an “all-around great guy.”
Janet Wheeler – Janet has been one of the leaders of the North Fork community for many years and has a reputation for being honest and fair in the real estate industry. She’s been a long time resident of North Fork and has been involved with community events for over 20 years.
Janet ís currently serving as Vice President of the North Fork Boosters and manages the rentals for Town Hall as well as spearheading the bar sales for events in which the Boosters are involved.
She has put in many hours working on North Fork’s main fundraiser – The Mid-Sierra Logger’s Jamboree. Her daughter is a past Queen of the Jamboree and her grandson was Little Logger last year.
Janet is always willing to give her time and go the extra mile to make community events successful.
Zelda Whitener – Zelda has volunteered at Grace Community Church and Thrift Store for 30+ years. She has helped with the Senior Nutrition Program and the surplus commodities as well as the brown bag program.
Always in good spirits, Zelda jumps right in on the heavy lifting, including carrying boxes of food. She has also volunteered at the Sierra Mono Museum for over 30 years, helping with classes as well as cooking every year at the Mono Dinner.
Zelda was born in North Fork and is a humble, hardworking person who never is looking for praise, but certainly deserves it. She had heart surgery a while back, and within a week or two went right back to work helping out, instead of using that as a reasonable excuse to take it easy for a while.
Zelda has been nominated before, and as in the past and in keeping with her humble nature , she has declined the nomination. Though Tom Wheeler tried to talk her into to accepting the honor, Zelda says she just does what she does because she loves it, and doesn’t want the spotlight on herself. Tom intends to honor her with a certificate anyway, but Zelda will just continue to go about giving to her community in her own quiet way.
Cost for the dinner is $10, with presale tickets on sale at the Buckhorn Saloon and North Fork Hardware. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. with dinner at 6, and introduction of the nominees at 7 p.m. Good Medicine will entertain during dinner.
Past Winners of Citizen of the Year:
1979 Marilyn Coelho
1980 Grant Sturm
1981 Paul Barnes
1982 Jim Zizzo
1983 Bob Quick
1984 Tom Wheeler
1985 Betty Lyons
1986 Blaine Shultz
1987 Tom Hebrard
1988 Charles Coelho
1989 Tal Carter
1990 Jim and Dot Morris
1991 Elaine C. Fink
1992 Beverly Cole
1993 Paul Vining
1994 Tom Digilio
1995 Charles Harrington
1996 Lloree Knowles
1997 Mary Myers
1998 Frank Verduzco
1999 Mark and Cindy Swarts
2000 Chris Stanley
2001 Cathey Thornburg
2002 Loretta McKee
2003 Tammy Armstrong
2004 Kirk and Alice Koda
2005 Volney Dunavan
2006 Bill and Gretchen Choate
2007 Augie and Cindy Capuchino
2008 Viola Carr
2009 Dave Smith
2010 Joan Constable (aka Connie Carpenter)
2011 Vincent and Ginny Smith
2012 Hansel Kern