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Calendar >  12th Annual Heroes of Vista Gala Held at The Vistonian Honors Community Residents

12th Annual Heroes of Vista Gala Held at The Vistonian Honors Community Residents

By   /  March 14, 2023  /  No Comments


TR Robertson -The Vista Chamber of Commerce and the Vista Education Foundation once again presented the annual Heroes of Vista Gala, held for the second year in a row at the Booze Brothers facility on S. Santa Fe Avenue called The Vistonian. A rainy Friday did not deter hundreds of attendees from filling The Vistonian to both receive awards and honor recipients receiving a variety of awards handed out to civic, business and community leaders for success in their chosen fields of endeavor. The Title Sponsor for the event is Tri-City Medical Center along with Gold Sponsor SDGE and Table Sponsors California State University, Children’s Paradise, Dr. Bronner’s All-One, EDCO, Erickson-Hall Construction, Green Oak Ranch, J&R Auto Body & Paint, MAAC, the Sheriff’s Department and Vista Unified School District.

Dave Baldwin, Vista Chamber Chairman of the Board, began the event by introducing the emcees for the early evening affair, Vista Chamber CEO Rachel Beld and Vista Chamber Director of First Impressions Kent Leithold. The National Anthem brought everyone to their feet as members of the Vista High School Junior Air Force ROTC Color Guard presented the colors. Rachel and Kent welcomed the audience and reminded everyone that the Vista Chamber of Commerce will be celebrating its 100th anniversary in June. They also introduced several dignitaries attending such as Vista Mayor John Franklin, City Council Members Joe Green and Daniel O’Donnell, Vista School Board members attending and numerous others. Rachel and Kent also discussed the partnership the Chamber has with the Vista Education Foundation and the importance of this organization in its support of the Vista Unified School District as well as other community groups and the Moonlight Youth Theatre. The presentation of the awards began with numerous Community and Vista Unified School District Awardees first announced. Video presentations of people receiving the award and people speaking about the person or group receiving the award was shown on a large screen on a wall of The Vistonian. A variety of presenters came to the podium to give a brief introduction to the award and the winner, followed by the video presentation. The awards announced in the order of their presentation were:

As people began to arrive, checking in at the entrance, they saw a beautifully designed interior with each table decorated with a center piece charcuterie board with a variety of cheeses, meats and other items from Bleu Oak Charcuterie. Drinks were available offering ten beer choices from Booze Brothers Brewery as well as wine, champagne, and seltzers. A mix and mingle cocktail hour gave those attending a chance to meet with old and new friends as music was supplied by the newly formed Rancho Buena Vista Mariachi Club.

Award Winners:

Community Award

Healthcare Hero – Steve Dietlin, CEO, Tri-City Medical Center

Vista School District Awardees Unified

Administrator of the Year – Tracy Zachry – Assistant Principal, Casita Center

Classified Person of the Year – Georginne Smith – Office Manager, Mission Vista High School

Technology Educator of the Year – Dewayne Cossey – Director of Information Technology, District Office

Art Educator of the Year – George Doyle – Teacher, The Leadership Academy

Healthcare Person of the Year – Holy Gruver – Licensed Vocationnal Nurse, Roosevelt Middle School

Community Awards

Firefighter of the Year – Michael Saldana

Sheriff of the Year – Deputy Jorgen Pederson and Deputy Frank Ramos

Veteran of the Year – Master Sergeant Rudy Moreno, USAF (Ret.)

Dave Baldwin was awarded a plaque for his service as the Chairman of the Board for the Vista Chamber of Commerce. Longevity Awards were announced, first given to the Vista Irrigation District for 50 years of membership with the Vista Chamber. Peter Kuchinsky, Director of Division 3, accepted the award for VID. Not in attendance but mentioned as receiving Longevity Awards was Eckert & Sons for 70 years of membership and Sycamore Greens Apartments for 35 years of membership.

Continuing the awards, the Nick Ljubic Chamber Award winner was announced, this year going to Terry Woods, Vista Chamber Executive Board Member and owner of North County Daily Star. His years of service and dedication to the community of Vista was detailed in the video presentation. Following this, the awards ceremony continued with the Non-Profit of the Year Business Category portion of the program, the nominees were introduced, followed by the winner.

Business Categories

Non-Profit of the Year – Winner – Assistance League of North Coast

Others nominated – Green Oak Ranch and MAAC Project Head Start

Businessesperson of the Year – Winner – Denisse Barragan, J&R Auto Body and Paint

Others nominated – Amir Khodor, CardConnect and Lisette Hart, Yoga Branch Studio

New Business of the Year – Winner – SVN Vanguard

Others nominated – ADU Gurus and Giddy Up Pup Pet Resort & Spa

Small Business of the Year – Winner – Sunny Days Sunshine Center

Others nominated – CopyMax and Mikko Sushi

Large Business of the Year – Winner – EDCO

Others nominated – Applied Membranes and Earthlite

The final award for the evening was the Lifetime Achievement Award, presented this year to Trudy Bronner CFO of Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps. Trudy has facilitated over $2 million in donations since 2002 to local community and youth focused organizations, such as the Boys & Girls Club of Greater San Diego, San Diego Children’s Discovery Museum, Palomar YMCA to name a few of the groups.

As the event came to a close, Rachel and Kent encouraged those attending to take advantage of the dinner specials being offered at 508 Tavern, Belching Beaver, Best Pizza & Brew, Madera Kitchen, Nucci’s Italian Café, Prohibition Brewery, Vita Village Pub and Wildwood Crossing and Cantina.

Anyone wishing to host an event at The Vistonian can go to www.vistonianvenue.com or contact Venue Manager Kristina Fitzsimons at kristina@vistonianvenue.com.


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  • Published: 1 year ago on March 14, 2023
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  • Last Modified: March 14, 2023 @ 4:55 pm
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