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Calendar >  Heroes of Vista Honors Local Business, Community & Education Leaders Last Friday

Heroes of Vista Honors Local Business, Community & Education Leaders Last Friday

By   /  March 25, 2024  /  No Comments

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TR Robertson – Over two hundred people gathered in Downtown Historic Vista’s Vistonian venue on Friday afternoon to honor local business, community and education leaders at the 13th Annual Heroes of Vista celebration. This yearly event is sponsored by the Vista Chamber of Commerce and the Vista Education Foundation. Funds raised at the event go to support students in the Vista Unified School District assisting with scholarships, programs, equipment, and a myriad of other needs for the students of Vista. More information on their program can be obtained at www.vistaeducation.org. The Vista Chamber’s mission is “to facilitate activities, strategic partnerships, promotional and education opportunities to benefit member businesses and to remove barriers to successful business enterprises”.

  • Charcuterie Boards on each table.

The Heroes of Vista celebration is also sponsored by Dr. Bronner’s All-One, Vista Firefighters Association, Kingdom Kutz, Vista Unified School District, California State University San Marcos, Maria Ljubic, EDCO, Solatube, Allen Brothers Mortuary. The Beverage Sponsor this year was Children’s Paradise, 360 Photobooth Sponsor Embroidery Image and Printing Sponsor 760 Print.

As attendees checked in, they were treated both outside of The Vistonian and inside to musical entertainment compliments of Kainga Music. Charcuterie Boards were on each table offering a variety of samples for guests to enjoy. After a short welcome from Zeke Corley, Chair of the Vista Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, the program began with a presentation of colors by the Vista High School Air Force Jr. ROTC and the National Anthem. Zeke then introduced Vista Chamber CEO Rachel Beld and Chamber Director of First Impressions Kent Leithold. They explained the purpose of this awards ceremony and the importance of supporting the Vista Education Foundation. President of the Vista Education Foundation, Vince Hinojosa was introduced and after a short presentation he introduced a video, shown hanging on a large screen at the side of the venue, that showed how the funds raised were used in the district.

  • Rachel Reld speaks to the audience about getting involved with the Vista Education Foundation.

The presentation of awards began with the introduction of County Supervisor Jim Desmond who introduced the Veteran of the Year Colonel (Ret.) Vincent J. Lostetter, Jr., Director of the Vista High School Jr. ROTC program. After the presentation, Colonel Lostetter was greeted by a number of his Jr. ROTC cadets, and they received a standing ovation from the 200+ attendees. The next two presentations were made by California State Representative Laurie Davies. Representative Davies announced the recipients for Firefighter of the Year and Sheriff of the Year. Both the fireman and the two sheriffs introduced had unique stories about incidences they were personally involved with that saved the lives of several of the citizens of Vista. The Firefighter of the Year was Ian Wong-Welch and the Sheriffs of the Year were Deputy Kyle Ambat and Deputy Justin Gillett. They were joined on stage by a number of members of their departments.

  • Vista Chamber CEO Rachel Beld and Nick Ljubic Chamber Champion Adam Brooks, Alchemy Print

Next on the program were a number of Education Awards. Vista Education Foundation President Vince Hinojosa introduced each of these award winners. During their video presentation the people that had nominated the award winners and people that worked with the winners as well as video of the winner working at their various schools was shown to the audience. The 2024 Education winners were: Administrator of the Year Emyr Rich – Principal of Vista Magnet Middle School, Arts Educator of the Year – Carol Jones – Theatre Teacher from Mission Vista High School, Technology Educator of the Year – Rya Hege from T.H.E. Leadership Academy, Classified Person of the Year Dave Shaputis – Plant Lead from Bobier Elementary School and Health Care Person of the Year – Carol Oliver – Health Tech/Attendance from Major General Raymond Murray High School.

Chamber CEO Rachel Beld next handed out Longevity Awards to businesses honored the length of time as Chamber members. In attendance to receive their awards were representatives from Allen Brothers Mortuary – 60 years a member, Vista Firefighters Association – 35 years, Watkins Wellness – 35 years, Excel Engineering – 30 years. Also receiving awards, but not in attendance, was Magnus Blue LLP – 40 years, John Shakarian Jeweler – 35 years, The Haven Country Club – 30 years, BioFilm Inc. – 30 years and Mama’s n’ Papa’s Pizza Grotto – 25 years.

The Nick Ljubic Chamber Champion was presented by CEO Rachel Beld to Adam Brooks, Alchemy Print, for service to the Chamber and the Vista of Vista exemplifying the energy, enthusiasm and dedication shown by Nick Ljubic during his time as a Vista Chamber of Commerce member.

The Business Awards given out were the result of 3 business nominees selected for each of the five categories. The final decision was determined by other participating Chambers based on a series of criteria they evaluated and awarded points for determining the champion for each category. The first award was given for Businessperson of the Year, the presentation made by last year’s winner Denisse Barragan from J & R Auto Body and Paint. This year’s winner was Lisa De Jesus from ADU Gurus. The Non-Profit of the Year was presented by Matt Koumaras, Director of the Vista Boys & Girls Club. This year’s winner was Choices in Recovery. The next presentation was for New Business of the Year, presented by Aaron Gobidas from GoBeRewarded Marketing. This year’s winner was Kingdom Kutz owned by Donnell Hilliard. The final two business awards were presented by Zeke Corley of Your Insurance Place. The first was for Small Business of the Year, this year’s winner Allen Brothers Mortuary and the final award for Large Business of the Year going to Chick-fil-A Vista. Accepting for Chick-fil-A Vista was the owner/operator Luis Gomez.

The final award for the evening for Heroes of Vista, was presented by Vista Mayor John Franklin. This award was the Lifetime Achievement Award. The winner this year was Jack Larimer, Director of the Vista Historical Society. Jack is a lifelong resident of Vista who served for years with the City of Vista Planning Department. In 2002 he retired and went to work with the Vista Historical Society and has devoted his time in expanding the history of Vista collection and memorabilia in the VHS Museum.

Another successful Heroes of Vista came to a close and those attending were encouraged to attend some of the restaurants and breweries participating in offering dinner specials. These included the Vista Village Pub, Lamppost Pizza, Jackson’s Sports Bar and Grill, Best Pizza and Brew, Prey Brewing, Belching Beaver and Mexico Viejo.

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