DISCOVERY BAY -- Discovery Bay's State of the Town gala recognized quite a few locals over the weekend for their contributions to the community, but the true winners of the night were the schools of Discovery Bay.
"We have chosen to not just have an event to award our winners and hear from our local dignitaries, but to find a venue where we can give back to our schools and community," explained outgoing Discovery Bay Chamber President Rita Caruso.
Caruso said that this year's gala far exceeded those of the past.
"This was our seventh annual event and the turnout was by far the largest we have experienced in many years," she said.
Caruso estimates that after expenses the Chamber will have raised nearly $3,000, money she said that will benefit all three Byron Union School District schools that serve their town.
"We had a huge success with our live and silent auction," she said. "Our local businesses, schools and community really raised the bar on the donations which made this possible." While the evening's festivities included a repertoire of the "State of" everything, including the town, Delta and chamber, it also recognized its top citizen and business as voted by the town's own people via an online survey.
Receiving top honors of the evening, Jim Mattison was selected by his fellow neighbors as this year's Citizen of the Year.
"Jim is very active in the community and very deserving of the recognition," said Kevin
Chamber Vice President Bryon Gutow agreed.
"That is really kind of in a nutshell what he does," Gutow said. "Jim is a very dynamic individual in Discovery Bay and he contributes a lot of his time and efforts for bringing some very amazing events to our community."
Mattison said that he is pleased by the recognition.
"It certainly was quite an honor to be recognized for all the volunteer stuff that I do," he said.
With a chuckle he added, "It's kind of that thing where everyone knows Jim and if you ask Jim for help with anything, he will figure out a way to get it done ... they just know that my heart is really into it."
Mattison said he is most highly recognized for his service with St. Anne's Catholic Youth Organization basketball league, serving for the past 14 years as a coach, referee and athletic director.
He is also active in the Discovery Bay Lions Club, where he will take over as president of the town's largest service organization in June.
"It's all about the community, the community, the community," he said.
While still fairly a newcomer, Intero Real Estate Services, is already making a name for itself in the waterfront town receiving this year's honor as Business of the Year.
Intero owners, Bryan and LeeAnn Hogge noted in the gala's program that their company's "vision is to fully embrace the people and communities we serve. We believe that being a great company involves not only serving clients with the best of our abilities, but also serving the agents and employees who make our company number one."
While not part of the online survey, the Chamber chose to also celebrate its schools by recognizing Byron Union School District's Teacher of the Year Kevin Lindell.
BUSD Superintendent Ken Jacopetti said the Lindell was selected for many reasons. He said, "He's a role model, a man of integrity and a true gentleman. He is that teacher that our students will never forget."
Lindell, an algebra teacher at Excelsior Middle School, has really raised the bar for his students and in turn they rose to the challenge.
"Algebra is a challenging subject to teach; classrooms throughout the country struggle to achieve success in teaching algebra," Jacopetti said. "Mr. Lindell has demonstrated some of the highest results in teaching Algebra I have ever seen."
In closing, Caruso bestowed her President's Circle Award onto Cathie Marples of Marples & Associates Realtors.
Caruso said she selected Marples because "she is involved in so much in our community and is considered a pillar of this community."