The St. Helena Chamber of Commerce announced its annual Community Service Award winners last week.
The awards went to Clif Family Winery for Business of the Year, Stacey Bressler for Citizen of the Year, Jimmy Adams of Sunshine Foods for Employee of the Year, and Soroptimist International of St. Helena for Nonprofit of the Year.
“Each year we have a great number of worthy candidates and this year was no different. In looking over the nominees, I found that once again St. Helena is a town filled with exceptional businesses and individuals. Their collective accomplishments should make us all feel proud,” said Chamber President and CEO Pam Simpson.
The winners will be honored at an event in early spring. Details will be announced soon.
Business of the Year
“Clif Family Winery was a great choice, I can’t think of a nonprofit in town who didn’t benefit from a Sip and Savor this year,” Simpson said. “The Bruschetteria food truck was truly innovative on its own but the quality of food and the hospitable service makes it St. Helena’s newest treasure. The culture at Clif is also what really impresses people. The staff energy and comradery can be felt everyday and they know how to make customers feel like family.”
Businesses are chosen based on how well they consistently model best practices, are innovative, provide outstanding customer service, and are environmentally progressive. But the Chamber’s criteria also includes giving back to the community. In 2016, Clif held about 15 fundraising events for local community groups like Nimbus Arts, Girls on the Run, St. Helena Food Pantry, St. Helena Public School Foundation, Napa Bike Coalition, Napa Valley Land Trust, and Soroptimist Sunrise Club.
On Jan. 18, Clif kicks off its 2017 Sip & Support program with a volunteer rally at Clif Family Winery from 4 to 7 p.m. This event at the Clif Family tasting room, Velo Vino, will gather together community partners for an evening of socializing and learning about numerous volunteer opportunities. Community groups in attendance will be the Center for Volunteer & Nonprofit Leadership Marin-Napa, Girls on the Run Napa & Solano County, Jameson Animal Rescue Ranch, Land Trust of Napa County, Napa Bike Coalition, Napa Valley Vine Trail, Nimbus Arts, St. Helena Farmers’ Market and Sunrise Horse Rescue. Guests will be encouraged to find new ways to get involved and give back in 2017. The Bruschetteria Food Truck and Velo Vino also will be open for dinner service during the event.
Citizen of the Year
Stacey Bressler is a behind-the-scenes powerhouse with energy and diplomacy to get results, the Chamber said. Some of her accomplishments include serving as boardmember of the St. Helena Hospital Foundation, St. Helena Farmers Market, and current board president of Friends of the Cameo Cinema and Planned Parenthood.
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“Stacey does everything from the high-level planning to the meanest chore with equal enthusiasm. St. Helena is richer because she is here,” said Piper Cole, fellow Friends of the Cameo boardmember.
“As a resident of St. Helena for close to 20 years, I have met and worked with many people deserving of the award of Citizen of the Year, but in thinking of Stacey Bressler and all that she does for so many different organizations and nonprofits that we all care so deeply for, and there are MANY, with her dedication and consistent commitment she is clearly my very first choice,” said nominator Christy Palmisano.
Employee of the Year
“Jimmy Adams is the quintessential example of excellent hospitality — always smiling and welcoming. He goes out of his way to make everyone feels comfortable and important,” the Chamber said. “He is the ambassador for St. Helena we all should aspire to be.”
Nominator Heidi Holzhauer wrote, “Jimmy is the best because he has such a great attitude and he always remembers something from our last conversation. He has a great work ethic and sense of humor. And he is fast and efficient at his job!”
Nonprofit of the Year
“Small but mighty,” is how current Soroptimist International of St. Helena president Yvonne Vosti describes the 62-year-old club.
Since its establishment in 1954, the St. Helena chapter of Soroptimist International has given away more than a million dollars in local scholarships and grants. These monies, raised by the club’s volunteer members — most of whom still work full-time — have helped send countless St. Helena students to college and summer camp, as well as on educational trips to Yosemite, Sonora, and Washington D.C.
There are dozens of single and/or widowed mothers throughout the Napa Valley and beyond who have gone back to school or completed vocational training with the help of Soroptimist in St. Helena and its annual professional grants, including the Live Your Dream Award.
Kristi Trebotich, winner of the club’s 2015 Live Your Dream Award, exemplifies the sort of woman lifted up by Soroptimist International. Trebotich, a former stay-at-home mother of four, went back to both work and school when her husband Yuri was diagnosed with cancer. That was six years ago. Working against the clock and her husband’s terminal illness, Trebotich, with ongoing help from Soroptimist of St. Helena, completed her nursing degree last month — not quite a year after Yuri’s passing.
As Trebotich admitted the week she completed her degree, “I honestly couldn’t have done this without the support and encouragement of Soroptimist of St. Helena.”