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Oakhurst Area Chamber Chamber of Commerce Hands out Annual Awards

OAKHURST – The Oakhurst Area Chamber of Commerce recently held its first meeting of the new year to vote for the Man, Woman and Business of the Year Awards.

With many local business’ and citizens being nominated the recipients for the 2020 Oakhurst Area Chamber of Commerce awards go to the following:

Business of the Year: Camarena Health

Photo Courtesy of Joelle Leder Photography

Camarena Health is a community-based healthcare provider serving families and communities in Madera, Chowchilla, Coarsegold, and Oakhurst. For 40 years, the patient-centered philosophy has driven the level of high-quality care Camarena Health is committed to providing to everyone who walks through its doors.

Since opening in 1980 with a practice of 1,500 patients, Camarena Health has grown to become the largest provider of primary care services in Madera County serving nearly 50,000 patients in its 17 state-of-the-art facilities.

In 2012, Camarena Health opened its first health care facility in Oakhurst to provide residents with access to affordable medical services. A few years later, they opened their first dental facility to meet the growing needs of residents to have access to oral health services.

With limited to no access to afterhours care in the community of Oakhurst, Camarena Health opened their first Urgent Care facility in Eastern Madera County, November of 2019. Between Camarena Health’s three Oakhurst facilities on Road 426, they are able to provide the following services; family medicine, pediatrics, behavioral health, health education, dental & dental health education, insurance enrollment, and urgent care services.

In 2020 Camarena Health was able add a Community Liaison, Joelle Leder-Rule in Oakhurst to better serve their community partners, participate in local meetings, and conduct outreach events. Such opportunities have included; community health fairs, National Health Center Week celebrations with patients and staff, Creek Fire N-95 Mask giveaways, Camarena Health Holiday Canned Food & Blood Drives, and numerous sponsorships to local agencies.

2020 has presented a pandemic and devastating fires that have impacted staff, patients, and the residents of Oakhurst and surrounding mountain communities. Through it all Camarena Health has continued to focus on its mission to provide the highest quality health care to the communities it is privileged to serve, in a caring and compassionate manner.

Woman of the Year: Melanie Barker

Melanie Barker grew up in the area, and is a graduate of Yosemite High School. She joined the U.S. Navy not long after high school. After a 10 year career as a marketing executive administrator, Melanie got her real estate license, and has been licensed for 15 years. She was immediately involved in community events and the real estate industry.

Melanie will tell you she’s passionate about serving the real estate industry and our local mountain communities. She is the co-owner of Gemini Real Estate Group with business partner, Shelly Adkins. Together, along with their agents, they are top producing agents in the area. In 2020 they had a sales volume of $16,000,000.

“It’s an honor to help so many people with their real estate dreams of ownership, or assisting a seller move on to new opportunities”, said Melanie.

In the area of local community involvement, she has served on the board of directors for Boys & Girls Club, Oakhurst since 2013 and is a past President. Prior to that she was involved from 2005-2018 in El Capitan Foundation which was a scholarship nonprofit established to support the local community college in Oakhurst.

She joined the Oakhurst Area Chamber of Commerce board of Directors in 2015 serving as President in 2017. Melanie has also served on the Chamber Foundation,  Chamber Alliance, chaired the Christmas Tree Auction to benefit the Boys and Girls Club, ran for honorary mayor of Oakhurst benefitting Manna House. These are just to name a few organizations she’s been involved with locally.

Melanie says, “I fundamentally believe in giving back to my community. I love our mountain community and think it’s so worth volunteering and building relationships”.

Melanie has also held numerous leadership positions within the real estate industry over the past 14 plus years. She has been a 2 time president of the Yosemite Gateway Association of REALTORS(R) as well as director and Treasurer for the Fresno Association of REALTORS. She is currently a board member for both the California and National Association of REALTORS.

“I am humbled by this award and recognition of truly what is a team effort to support and serve our communities”. Melanie Barker

Man of the Year: Dan Rule

Photo Courtesy of Joelle Leder Photography

Dan has been an avid supporter of the Oakhurst Community since his arrival 10 years ago. Dan has worked for Sierra Tel for 30 years and was very familiar and active with the area before actually moving here.

Here is a short list of some of the community involvement Dan has participated:

  • Past President and Director Oakhurst Area Chamber of Commerce
  • Past Chairman Oakhurst Fall Festival and German Fest
  • Past President Oakhurst Sierra Rotary Club
  • Co-Chair of the Oakhurst Sierra Rotary Santa project
  • Oakhurst River Parkway clean-up organizer
  • President Sierra Ambulance Service
  • Past Chairman  of the Eastern Madera County Economic Development Coalition
  • 2019/20 Rotarian of The Year
  • Director Eastern Madera and Mariposa Counties VOAD (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster)
  • Chairman of the Eastern Madera County Emergency Preparedness Task Force

Presidents Award: Laura Norman  

Photo Courtesy of Joelle Leder Photography

Laura has lived in the Oakhurst area for 29 years where she raised her family and has worked for Sierra Tel for 20 years. Laura is an avid horse woman and has been involved in 4-H and FFA most of her life.

Laura was very familiar with Oakhurst as she grew up in Yosemite National Park. Laura has been an active community member since deciding this was the community where she wanted to raise her family.

Here is a short list of some of Laura’s accomplishments and participations:

  • 2016 Woman of the Year
  • Founder and Chair of our local Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD)
  • Eastern Madera-Mariposa Counties VOAD
  • NorCal VOAD Board Member
  • President Yosemite High FFA Boosters
  • Chapter and Regional Red Cross Community Liaison
  • Co-Chair Women In Business
  • Oakhurst Area Chamber of Commerce Secretary

Chamber Board President Dr. Bob Brosi chose Laura for the Presidents Award because of Laura’s willingness to do so much. Laura stepped up this last year during a year of turmoil and unknowns with a positive can do attitude.






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