BRENTWOOD -- While some seniors devote their retirements to sports and leisurely pursuits, longtime couple Ray and Henrietta Fontes have graciously given much of their golden years to Brentwood and its residents.
Upon both retiring in 1988, the active couple has spent the past 25 years serving their city in various capacities from the local Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion posts to the East Contra Costa Historical Society and the Brentwood Women's Club. Even after being married for 52 years, the pair is usually together and both were honored last weekend as the 2012 Brentwood Citizens of the Year by the Brentwood Chamber of Commerce.
"Both find joy in being with people and they love to be involved," Brentwood Chamber board member Fred Ehler said. "They love doing things together and always go together."
The Fonteses have volunteered at the Brentwood CornFest's security and beer booths for 25 years and more recently at Blues, Brews & BBQs. They help to make events like dances, parades and flag raising ceremonies special for Brentwood's American Legion and VFW posts by decorating and cleaning up.
Brentwood Mayor Bob Taylor described them as a humble and down-to-earth couple who does much behind the scenes at local charity events.
"This couple unites and they make it all good together," Taylor said.
Henrietta also served as vice president of the Brentwood Garden Club, district chaplain of the VFW Ladies Auxiliary, president of the American Legion Auxiliary and financial secretary for the Brentwood Senior Citizens Club.
Ray is a Korean War veteran who met Henrietta on a blind date. They were married in 1960 and raised three children in Hayward before moving to Brentwood in 1986.
When they are not volunteering, Ray raises birds and enjoys woodworking and crafts, including restoring 100-year-old carousel horses. Henrietta is an avid sewer who gives most of her creations away, according to Ehler.
"It is a character test that you clearly passed," said outgoing Brentwood Chamber President Paul Kelly of the Brentwood Citizen of the Year honor.
The 2012 Brentwood Business of the Year was The Monthly Grapevine, which was recognized for its creativity, integrity and donating 20 percent of its publication to local charities each month through free advertising. Started in 1996, the local publication features local businesses, services and events.
"Every community could benefit from such a business in their midst," Kelly said.
Reach Paula King at 925-779-7174 or firstname.lastname@example.org.