The San Benito County Chamber of Commerce honored the people, businesses and organizations Oct. 21 who work to support their community in a variety of ways.
The Annual Awards Dinner and Dance was held at Leal Vineyards in Hollister.
The following were recognized by the chamber, along with proclamations from the cities of Hollister and San Juan Bautista, County of San Benito, and state assembly and senate:
• Woman of the Year: Maria Cid
Maria Cid, who owns Maria Cid Insurance Agency, dedicates her free time to various community endeavors. Among her efforts, she works with DACA students, the Edward Boss Prado Foundation and as board member for Youth Alliance. She played a pivotal role in raising awareness and support following the Gilroy Garlic Festival shooting.
She was named chair of the San Benito County Chamber of Commerce Foundation, vice chair of the SBC Chamber, board director for the Latino Family Fund, board director for 6th Street Studios and Art Center and recently an Ambassador for the Gilroy Foundation. She graduated from Leadership Gilroy Class of 2022, raising $74,000 with her classmates for Gilroy Veterans Hall.
Cid said she and her family have been “welcomed with open arms” in San Benito County.
“This community has so much love, they just give with all their heart,” she said. “I’m so grateful for this award that I’m receiving.”
Cid thanked her family for being the first to help out with every fundraiser and event she supports.
“Without their support, I couldn’t give back the way that I do,” she said.
• Man of the Year: Ramiro Rodriguez
Ramiro Rodriguez is the owner/operator of R&R Labor and Crown Sanitation, and vice president of Infinity Solutions.
Rodriguez is known to give back to the community through numerous sponsorships and donations, including supporting the Kelly Freitas Memorial Golf Tournament, Lady Baler Golf and local football teams.
“This award received today is not just a reflection of individual efforts; it’s a celebration of the love, support and faith of this wonderful community, my dear friends and most importantly my incredible family,” he said. “I promise to do my best to be a positive force in this community and will always strive to be a better husband, a better father, a better son, a better brother, a better grandson, a better uncle, a better business owner, and most importantly a better community member as long as the good Lord allows me to live.”
• Large Business of the Year: Pacific Scientific EMC
Pacific Scientific Energetic Materials has been operating in Hollister since 1975.
The business develops and manufactures advanced pyrotechnic components and subsystems, used in a range of aerospace and defense applications, such as emergency egress and flight termination systems.
• Small Business of the Year: La Catrina
La Catrina, which opened in 2014, is a family owned and operated Mexican restaurant located at 449 San Benito St. in downtown Hollister.
The restaurant serves many events, oftentimes supporting local nonprofits and business functions. It also provided meals to those in need through programs such as Great Plates during the Covid-19 pandemic.
• Entrepreneur Business of the Year: MMM Churros
Mike and Priscilla Jones launched their home-based business MMM Churros in 2020, and are in the process of opening locations at the Northridge Mall in Salinas and downtown Hollister.
The couple and their three children are involved in the business, which participates and donates to a variety of community events.
• Non-Profit Business of the Year: Girls Inc. of the Central Coast
Girls Inc. of the Central Coast organizes programs focused on leadership and self-empowerment for girls ages 8 to 18. These programs are held at 30 school sites in San Benito, Monterey and Santa Cruz counties.
• Agricultural Business of the Year: Central Ag Supply
Jim and Tricia Gillio own Central Ag Supply LLC, 4364 Bolsa Road in Hollister.
The business provides products and services for those in the agricultural industry, and is a frequent sponsor and promoter of local events and businesses.
• Service Business of the Year: Gavilan College
Gavilan College is currently constructing its San Benito campus.
The new campus, located on Fairview Road near the Highway 25 intersection, will be built in phases. The first phase will consist of a 35,000-square-foot multipurpose building with eight classrooms equipped with the latest technology to allow distance and remote learning, according to Gavilan College officials. The building will include lab space, support services, limited food service and collaboration spaces.
• Green Business of the Year: RJR Recycling
Established in 1995, RJR Recycling is a family owned and operated business.
The business, which provides various recycling, hauling and junk removal services, often contributes to many local school and nonprofit events.