Photos by Samantha Bengtson
Luigi’s Restaurant was named the 2017 Business of the Year. Pictured from left are: Rosalie Sanchez, Ben Velez, Assembly member Anna Caballero, Mayor Maria Orozoco and County Supervisor Simon Salinas.
Below, 2017 Volunteer of the Year Linda Fellows shakes hands with Assembly member Anna Caballero; and Gonzales Chamber of Commerce recognized Fabiola Moreno (second from left) and Cindy Aguilar (center) as the 2017 Youth Volunteers of the Year.
GONZALES — Gonzales Chamber of Commerce celebrated local businesses, volunteers and personnel from the city, fire, police and school districts during “A Night With the Stars” on March 24.
Several of Gonzales’ industries gathered together at the American Legion Hall to recognize outstanding volunteers and personnel and the Business of the Year, which was awarded to Luigi’s Restaurant.
“Thank you guys so much,” said Luigi’s owner Ben Velez. “We really appreciate it. We work hard and we love to do it for the community of Gonzales.”
Luigi’s Restaurant opened in Gonzales nearly five years ago this May. The restaurant most recently was a recipient of the Monterey County Business Council’s “Small Business of the Year” award.
The Chamber also recognized the 2017 Volunteer of the Year Linda Fellows. Fellows spends time volunteering with the clothing closet and the food pantry and is a volunteer all around town.
“I really do want to thank Gonzales just for being Gonzales,” Fellows said. “Our clothing closet is totally stocked by people that donate from Gonzales. Everybody in Gonzales is helping out. Everybody in Gonzales is taking care of Gonzales.”
Continuing with the volunteers, the Chamber placed a spotlight on the 2017 “Youth Volunteer of the Year,” of which there were two, Cindy Aguilar and Fabiola Moreno. Aguilar and Moreno attend all the City Council meetings and the School Board meetings, representing the youth in politics.
“I just wanted to thank everyone that is here because if it wasn’t for your support, supporting the youth, I wouldn’t be here,” Moreno said. “Community service has become part of my life and something I enjoy doing.”
Aguilar said, “For me this is actually really super duper special. When my mom and I moved here in 2009, we received a lot of help from our community. When it comes to serving my community, it has been my pleasure.”
The next award was from the Chamber, the “President’s Choice Award,” given and selected by the Chamber President Rosalie Sanchez.
“I am very happy to announce that our Secretary Sheryl Bailey has been selected as this year’s President’s Choice Award,” said Sanchez. “She’s dedicated a lot of time to the Chamber. When we did the Home Decorating Contest, she was out there with me.”
All the award recipients received certificates from not only the Chamber of Commerce, but the City of Gonzales, County Supervisor Simon Salinas’ Office, and Assembly member Anna Caballero.