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September 29, 2023

Local Scene: Chamber of Commerce announces annual award winners

Author presents book on historic Dunne family

On Sept. 24 at 2pm, the Gilroy Historical Society will present author Kevin Akers at the Gilroy Library, speaking about his book “The Dunnes of Brittas,” a fictionalized account of a local family.  

Akers said he was intrigued when he read many letters from his Irish ancestors. He researched the genealogy, visited their ancestral home called Brittas and wrote this story of their endurance and immigration to California.

James Dunne of Hollister was part of that story. His marriage to Catherine O’Toole Murphy in 1862, a Morgan Hill widow, united two wealthy landowners who influenced the development of the Santa Clara Valley. They and their children and their former spouses have a marble monument in Old Saint Mary Cemetery in Gilroy where they are buried.

For information and to register, visit

Chamber announces annual awards

The San Benito County Chamber of Commerce and Foundation recently announced that Marilyn Ferreria and George Nava were selected as the 2022 Woman and Man of the Year. They are among a short list of award winners who will be honored at the chamber’s 101st annual awards dinner on Nov. 12 at Leal Vineyards’ new venue, Olea. 

Other 2022 Chamber of Commerce award winners are: Hazel Hawkins Memorial Hospital, Large Business of the Year; Running Rooster, Small Business of the Year; Fireclay Tile, Green Business of the Year; C&N Tractors, Agriculture Business of the Year; AG Entertainment, Entrepreneur Business of the Year; JRG Attorneys at Law, Service Business of the Year; R.E.A.C.H., Nonprofit of the Year. 

The purpose of the “Man of the Year” and “Woman of the Year” award is to recognize and honor residents living and serving San Benito County as role models for continuous and outstanding volunteer service to the community, says the chamber’s announcement. Nominees do not have to be chamber members. 

The awards Review Committee considers only work done in a voluntary capacity, length of service, benefit to the community, and the spirit in which the work is done. 

The “Business of the Year” award recognizes and honors businesses in the county that have shown creativity, overcame obstacles and provided excellent customer service, says the chamber’s announcement. 

The San Benito County Chamber of Commerce & Foundation’s mission is “to uplift and showcase our diverse business community while also recognizing individuals whose resilience stands above all else,” the chamber’s announcement added. “The Annual Awards Dinner is an opportunity to honor some of the leading change makers in San Benito County while also celebrating them with the rest of the community.”

Hazel Hawkins Hospital CEO Steve Hannah said the hospital is “honored” to receive the Large Business of the Year recognition. 

“Hazel Hawkins Memorial Hospital has proudly served the residents of San Benito County for 115 years,” Hannah said. “From ancillary services and support services to our direct patient care team, everyone takes pride in the work they do and the services they provide to our patients and their families.  We are pleased to share this distinguished award with our staff which recognizes their excellence in patient care and celebrates their service to our community.”

Meet University Women for lunch

On Saturday, Sept. 24 the Gilroy Branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) will hold a get-acquainted membership lunch.

Those who have a bachelor’s or associate’s degree and want to meet others who may share their interests and values are welcome to attend. Information about AAUW’s projects, public policy positions and social events will be shared. 

The lunch for current and prospective members will be held in the garden of a private home in Gilroy. There is no charge. RSVP to Judy Bozzo at 408.607.1621.

Founded in 1881, AAUW is a nonprofit organization that supports equality in education, careers and civil rights. The Gilroy Branch includes members who live in San Benito County.

Hollister offers business loans

The City of Hollister is offering low interest business loans for restaurants, commercial non-kitchen businesses and ADA upgrades.

To gain more information or to find if your business qualifies, call 831.636.4300, ext. 1010, or email [email protected].

Apply for downtown parklet

The City of Hollister is accepting applications from businesses in the Downtown District that are interested in a parklet.

For more information and to find out if your business qualifies, call 831.636.4300, ext. 1010, or email [email protected].

Staff Report
A staff member wrote, edited or posted this article, which may include information provided by one or more third parties.

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