BRENTWOOD -- A husband and wife team who have dedicated their retirement years to local public service were recently deemed the 2012 Brentwood Citizens of the Year.
It would be difficult to find a Brentwood organization that Ray and Henrietta Fontes have not assisted in some way since moving to Brentwood from Hayward in 1986. The couple has been married 52 years.
"They are a couple that do everything together," said Jilda Fairhurst of the Brentwood Chamber of Commerce.
The outgoing duo have been volunteering at the Brentwood CornFest since it was called the Harvest Festival, and they also help out at Brentwood's Hometown Halloween and the chamber's annual holiday parade and golf tournaments. Local business owner Kathi Reed said that CornFest has survived for two decades because of dedicated volunteers like them, and they are good role models to younger generations.
"They are a great couple. They share common interests. They both just really enjoy what they are doing and appreciate each other," Reed said.
The couple said that they both enjoy Brentwood's small-town charm, and volunteering allowed them to make many friends there. They served as greeters and gift shop volunteers at Kaiser Permanente and were active in the East Contra Costa Historical Society.
"We have always liked helping people," Henrietta said. "We get more out of it than we give."
Ray, 79, is known for his longtime presence on the CornFest security team and his constant commitment to the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars posts in Brentwood. The Korean War veteran has dedicated countless hours to renovating and repairing the Brentwood Veterans' Hall.
"I am really glad that he got it," said local VFW Commander Steve Todd. "Every year, (Citizen of the Year) is someone in the know or some big person in Brentwood. It should be a true volunteer."
According to Todd, even illness does not stop Ray's philanthropic commitment. Todd described Ray and Henrietta as nice, polite and caring.
"He is a funny guy. You can just sit and talk to him," he said.
Henrietta, 78, also participates in a special reading program for children, is a past member of the Brentwood Women's Club and Garden Club and served as the first Legion's Ladies Auxiliary president. She also has participated in the Delta Informal Gardeners and recently joined Soroptimists.
Also being recognized at the upcoming event is The Monthly Grapevine, which was named Brentwood Business of the Year for 2012. The local magazine mostly consists of ads and business stories and has been an East County fixture for 18 years.
Reach Paula King at 925-779-7174 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
What: 2012 Brentwood Citizen of the Year and Business of the Year dinner
When: 6 to 7 p.m. Jan. 26
Where: Trilogy at The Vineyards, Club Los Meganos, 1700 Trilogy Parkway
Tickets: www.brentwoodchamber.com or at the chamber office, 8440 Brentwood Blvd.