Gavilan hands out Community Spirit Awards

Trustee Lois Locci gives an award to Jae Eade representing the San Benito County CattleWomen.

More than 60 business leaders and heads of nonprofits, along with city and county officials, attended the Hollister Downtown Association’s quarterly breakfast meeting Wednesday at Running Rooster to share information about the school and hand out Community Spirit Awards.
Brenda Weatherly, executive director of the Hollister Downtown Association, said the quarterly breakfast meetings have been a tradition since 1986. She said the association has more than 180 members made up of businesses, associations and retired people.
“It’s an opportunity for all of to get together as a business community,” she said. “We have presentations and updates on what the different committees are doing. It’s a great way to network.”
Gavilan College sponsored the gathering. After Steve Kinsella, president of the college, gave an update on Gavilan’s change in direction due to recent state funding, board members of the college presented three Community Spirit Awards.
The Business Award was presented to the Pizza Factory; the nonprofit award went to the San Benito CattleWomen’s Association; and the individual award went to John Arballo.
Trustee Tom Breen presented the Business Spirit Award to Jennifer Cole of the Pizza Factory in San Juan Bautista.
“Dennis and Jennifer run the Pizza Factory and they help out nonprofits, Little League, football, San Juan School, the Red Ribbon Run and many more things,” Breen said in presenting the Community Spirit Award to her. “I know a lot of you here know how tough it is to run a business and I think it’s even tougher to run a business in San Juan, but Jennifer and Dennis are able to do that, so they get this year’s Community Spirit Award.”
Cole said she and her husband believe in the power of helping those where they live.
“We believe in giving back to the people who give to us,” she said. “San Juan is a tough place sometimes, and even though the Pizza Factory has been a business for 22 years, it’s taken a long time for people to say, ‘that’s some good pizza.’ They come in and see the pictures on the wall and the things we sponsor. It’s not about what we get. It’s about what we give back.”
She said her husband, Dennis, would have been at the meeting, but he was in Patterson opening a new Pizza Factory.
Gavilan Trustee Dr. Loise Locci presented a Spirit Award to Jae Eade, president of the San Benito CattleWomen’s Association. Locci read a long list of nonprofits and community efforts the association supports including: San Benito County Fair, 4-H and FFA, the San Benito County Heritage Foundation, the annual Farm Bureau Golf Tournament, a fashion show scholarship fund, and promoting the consumption of beef.
“We have 100 members and have been around since 1952, and we’re very active in our community,” Eade said after receiving the award. “We have a new project we’re working on to promote beef, which are placemats that we give to restaurants. We were able to get a grant from the Community Foundation because not only are we promoting beef, but we’re promoting San Benito County. We had 20,000 of them made and we thought it would take a year, but they’re almost gone.”
In another effort to promote beef, she said the association is copying the pink lawn flamingo phenomena.
“We have a herd of cattle that show up on lawns,” she said. “It’s so popular people don’t want to give them up. We also have a fashion show coming on Nov. 15. It’s open to the public and it’s going to be an awesome show.”
The third award, presented by Board Member Kent Child, went to John Arballo, coach of the Tri County Rebels.
“I first met John when he was a student at Gavilan College and played on the football team,” Child said. “He has carried on his football experience and most youth that have met him in San Benito County simply know him as coach. He has coached youth sports pretty much his entire adult life and made a difference in so many children’s formative years. He instills the virtues of family, service, getting an education, loyalty, honesty, and those kinds of things that get mixed up in the turmoil of athletics. But they’re the lasting lessons that continue with those individuals.”
Child said Arballo has volunteered his time for the Hollister Exchange Club for years to raise money to support youth.
Arballo said youth are the foundation of the community.
“I like to give them a good starting point and, hopefully, they’ll make the right decisions and someday they can contribute back to the community,” he said.

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