PITTSBURG -- When David Nelson moved to Pittsburg in 2006, he made it his mission to make good things happen in his neighborhood.
Those efforts gave him the nod for Pittsburg's Citizen of the Year, an award he received at a luau-themed Chamber of Commerce dinner held last week that also marked the installation of a new president, P.J. Quesada of Ramar Foods International, and board of directors for fiscal year 2013-14.
In presenting the award to Nelson, Quesada said the Citizen of the Year award is given to a person whose volunteer efforts show creativity, vision and leadership and have a positive impact on the city.
"My energy level -- because of this -- is higher. I'm on fire and have a lot of things I want to do for this community," Nelson, 64, said in accepting the award. "I look forward to a long journey together with you."
Nelson and his wife, Ruby, moved to a neighborhood near Pittsburg's Old Town following his retirement from working in both public and private sector jobs, most recently in Oakland's risk management division. Soon after they moved here, Nelson started organizing events so that neighbors could get to know each other, a neighborhood watch group and other activities.
In 2012, Nelson started a blog -- vnylcitygov.blogspot.com -- to let residents know of local events that were happening, an online venture that eventually expanded to have a citywide focus. He is a regular presence at City Counciland school board meetings.
"Mr. Nelson has adopted Pittsburg," Mayor Nancy Parent said. "He started by keeping his neighborhood involved in what was going on in Pittsburg and expanded it. He is just a very positive Pittsburg person and a great ambassador for the city."
To that end, Nelson is revamping his blog to make it even better.
At the chamber event, homage was also paid East Bay Karate-Do, which was named the city's business of the year for providing safe, family-oriented martial arts instruction to students of all ages.
"This is the type of business we like to see -- family-owned and being dedicated to improving the community," said outgoing chamber president Ron Rives.
Listed below are the 2013-14 board of directors for the chamber: Doris Bedford, Bedford & Associates; Silvia Hernadez, Hernandez Income Tax Service; Mike Hilton, Food Source; Reginald Huey, Sutter Delta Medical Center; Pedro Ramos, Far West Sanitation; Paul Rives, law offices of Rives & Rives; Jackie Seeno, A.D. Seeno Construction Co.; Tim Stone, Ready Print; Dan Scales, Dan Scales Funeral Services, Inc.; Arrienna Lombard, State Farm Insurance; and Brad Nail, Economic Development Consulting,
Contact Eve Mitchell at 925-779-7189. Follow her on Twitter.com/EastCounty_Girl.
Citizen of the year: David Nelson
Business of the year: East Bay Karate-Do
Veteran of the year: Darnell Redd, commander of American Legion Post 151. Was a technical sergeant in the Air Force reserve, where he received training in aircraft management, served in Desert Shield in 1991 and was awarded several medals for his military service.
Educator of the year: Miranda Viechec-Lingbaoan, for educating and inspiring fourth grade students at Heights Elementary over the past five years. In cooperation with some colleagues, she also obtained a $30,000 grant for teacher professional development and student technology.
First responder award: Brian Scott and Raychel Whedbee, Pittsburg Police Department, for actions resulting in the arrest of a man who fired a gun at them while on patrol in February.
Special recognition award for local resource recovery agency: Delta Diablo Sanitation District, which was selected as California's mid-size treatment plant of 2012 by the California Water Enviromental Assocation, the second time the district has received the award in the past five years. The district also received a national award attained by only 1 percent of wastewater treatment plants for being 100 percent in operating compliance with its national pollutant discharge elimination system permit for eight consecutive years.