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Saturday’s Community Recognition Ball honored Powell Helems and Mary Tabbert with the prestigious Gateway Award for their service in helping organize the local evacuation shelter during the October fires.

The 19th Annual Community Recognition Ball, sponsored by the Napa Valley Vintners, also presented Recology-American Canyon’s General Manager Tom Phillips with the Business of the Year award, Kent Barnes with Firefighter of the Year, and Michael DeBorja and Amber Monteleone with Youths of the Year.

Organizational awards and certificates of appreciation were also presented at the event, held in the Community Center Gym.

The Gateway Award is the community’s top honor acknowledging long lasting and impactful community service in American Canyon.

Mayor Leon Garcia described Helems and Tabbert as dedicated members of the American Canyon Community Emergency Response Team (AC-CERT) whose “expertise, leadership and dedication proved valuable during the October fires.”

Helems and Tabbert took on leadership roles in organizing and training community members in skills essential to volunteers responding to disasters.

American Canyon High School was designated as the evacuation shelter for residents of Calistoga. Helems and Tabbert were some of the first volunteers at the shelter to register other volunteers and coordinate their assignments.

They worked closely with the shelter manager to assist with operations on site as well to establish ham radio communication with shelters at Napa Valley College and Cross Walk Church in Napa. This link was a critical need when other modes of communication were lost due to power outages.

Helems and Tabbert demonstrated leadership and organization skills in daily debriefings with the shelter manager and volunteers that focused on improving operations, anticipating needs and providing resources for evacuees.

Their interactions with volunteers and evacuees during the emergency “were sensitive and compassionate, contributing to a shelter environment that provided reassurance and stability to individuals and families being served,” according to a press release produced by the city of American Canyon.

Business of the Year

For the fourth year, a local business was honored for its significant community service contributions.

Phillips received the Business of the Year award, which Councilmember Mariam Aboudamous described as representing “everything that we wish our businesses to be.”

Recology and Phillips were credited for being extremely generous towards the American Canyon community with their time and resources, with no fanfare for themselves.

Firefighter of the Year

Firefighter of the Year Barnes was described by Councilmember David Oro as “a passionate advocate for patients in their time of need.”

During his 12 years with the fire district, Barnes has led its Relay for Life team for nine years straight. He helped revive the CERT program three years ago, and continues to teach the CERT program throughout Napa County.

He also has taught at the California Police/Fire Cadet Academy for the past three years in American Canyon. Most recently Barnes has been helping to revitalize the Explorer Program, which provides training to young future firefighters.

Youth of the Year

DeBorja and Monteleone received Youth of the Year based on their academic success and volunteer work.

Both students are on track to be valedictorians, and are active members in the school. They have held leadership positions in the Key Club.

Councilmember Kenneth Leary described DeBorja and Monteleone as having “displayed tremendous heart for this community and have modeled how to serve with compassion and kindness.”

Organizational Awards

Each service club and nonprofit organization nominates their “shining star of the year” to receive an Organizational Award. The 2018 Organizational Award winners are as follows:

Marcie Harris (American Canyon High School)

Kristin Einberger and Clarence Mamaril (Kiwanis)

Victor Leach (Holy Family)

Nancy Nabrynski (KHOPE International Parish)

Ken Tiger (Friends of the American Canyon Library)

Heather Piazza (American Canyon Community & Parks Foundation)

Patti Krueger (American Canyon Arts Foundation)

Karina Servente (Canyon Oaks Elementary School)

Debbie Brace (American Canyon Middle School)

Chelle Castagnola (American Canyon Chamber of Commerce)

Clarence Mamaril (Parks and Community Services Commission)

Janelle Sellick (AHI Swim Team)

Javier Hernandez (AC Atletico FC)

Frank Lee (Holy Family Men’s Club)