The J.J. Crosetti Building at the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds was decked out New Orleans style for the Pajaro Valley Chamber of Commerce & Agriculture awards dinner held on Saturday, January 26th, where our own Willy Elliott-McCrea, Executive Director of Second Harvest Food Bank Santa Cruz County, was named Man of the Year.
Willy, who began working at the food bank in 1978, said, “Sometimes I am asked after 35 years how do you keep doing it? Truthfully something inside me ignites when I see such a need and connect that need together with the compassion of our donors who are the life-blood of Second Harvest. I appreciate the acknowledgement, but truly it has been the greatest privilege I could ever have dreamed of, thank you.”
The event featured a buffet dinner, raffle, silent and live auctions and the awards program. Videos featuring the honorees gave the audience an in-depth look at the contributions each individual and organization has made in their community. What was particularly interesting was seeing how these community leaders have worked together over the years to improve the lives of their neighbors.
Other honorees included:
Woman of the Year: Georgeann Cowles Eiskamp
Event of the Year: 2012 Santa Cruz County Fair
Organization of the Year: Pajaro Rescue Mission
Business of the Year: S. Martinelli & Co.
Lifetime Achievement Posthumously Awarded: Bruce Woolpert (1951-2012)
“Our community has come together for one common purpose: That every child has the opportunity to grow up healthy and successful and that families and seniors have the food they need,” Willy told the audience. “I love reading the thank you notes about what this food has meant. I love seeing the thousands of young adults who once needed our help and now are thriving, raising their own families and giving back to the community.”
Congratulations to everyone and thanks to the Pajaro Valley Chamber for putting together such a great event.