The South County Chambers of Commerce is pleased to announce the winners of the local awards for “Citizen of the Year,” “Ken Talley Youth Service Award,” and “Business of the Year” for South San Luis Obispo County.

The Citizen of the Year Award is the highest honor bestowed by the South County Chambers of Commerce. This award recognizes outstanding and unselfish contributions to the South County community. There will be four citizens recognized for the Citizen of the Year Award, which represents one of these communities: Arroyo Grande, Grover Beach, Nipomo and Oceano. An additional honor, the Ken Talley Youth Service Award, recognizes an individual for outstanding contributions to youth in South County. The award includes a $1,000 grant to the local youth organization of his or her choice. The Business of the Year Award will recognize one business from all South County who has significantly strengthening the South County economy.

Glenda Guiton: 2018 Citizen of the Year for Oceano (posthumously)

Glenda came to Oceano with her parents in 1940 and lived there her entire life. She and her husband, Harold, raised their four children in their family home at the beach while they operated a real estate business in the attached office. Glenda was still active in Guiton Realty and working in the office at the time of her death in 2017. Known in the community for her involvement in civic affairs, kindness and patriotism, Glenda was the driving force behind the establishment of the Oceano Bicentennial Park in 1976. As the “the Flag Lady,” she raised and lowered the flag at the park for many years. She was a strong supporter of the Oceano Depot and the Oceano Kiwanis. Glenda volunteered at the Blood Bank for 25 years and was a member of the Oceano Improvement Association. When her children were in school, she was Camp Fire leader and PTA at Oceano School.

“She was a pioneer in the vacation rental business—first to do it and others who followed came to her for guidance on how to get started,” said her daughter, Linda Austin.

Mary DeJong: 2018 Citizen of the Year for Arroyo Grande

Mary has invested countless hours of volunteer service to the Arroyo Grande community in a vast number of ways. Her contributions include volunteering at the Chamber, beautifying the Village of Arroyo Grande with Arroyo Grande in Bloom and wrapping Christmas gifts for the police officers to give to underprivileged children. Mary also volunteered with the Clark Center for the Performing Arts since before its inception. She was co-chair of the promotion committee about 20 years ago, and she ushered at the theater once it opened. Mary also volunteered for the Arroyo Grande Police Department and filed crime reports for several years.

“I can’t even pretend to know everything she does because she never brags or seeks credit. I just know that when something beneficial to the community needs doing, Mary is always first in line,” said Michael Byrd of SLO HomeStore. “She’s a credit to our community.”

Eunice Lopez: 2018 Citizen of the Year for Nipomo

Eunice is involved in nearly every aspect of Nipomo according to the Nipomo residents who nominated her for this honor. She is the secretary of the Nipomo Recreation Board of Directors. She is the president of the Nipomo High School Boosters and vice president for the Mesa Middle School PTSA (Parent Teacher Student Association).  Eunice is secretary of Boy Scout Troop 450. She sits on the board of directors for Nipomo AYSO, Firefighters Auxiliary, AG Friends, and others.  She plans events and fundraisers with Olde Towne Nipomo and Rotary.

Eunice works countless hours on fundraisers, events and activities for the youth in the Nipomo community, in addition to working 40 hours per week at the County of San Luis Obispo Social Services office. She is involved with the Food Bank, homeless shelter and South County Youth Coalition. Although Eunice has four children of her own, she is known to treat all the kids of Nipomo as her own—buying tickets, donating money and contributing to numerous causes. She serves as a chaperone for field trips as often as possible, contributes to the youth via fundraisers, attends youth sports functions, and promotes a positive attitude.

“She definitely has a way to bring community members together to work for the betterment of Nipomo,” said Sarah Mendoza of Nipomo. “I have yet to meet a person in Nipomo who doesn’t know her name or who has a negative thing to say about her.”

Daryl Cameron: 2018 Citizen of the Year for Grover Beach

Daryl is a member of Nichols Foundation West, Inc. and a 10-year resident of Grover Beach. She has assisted several nonprofit agencies in the Grover Beach area including the South County Skate Park, Exploration Station, Central Coast Aquarium, the Clark Center for the Performing Arts, YMCA, and the Boys & Girls Club. Daryl and the Nichols Foundation were instrumental in securing plans to add a playground to Grover Beach’s Ramona Garden Park and an amphitheater at Camp Arroyo Grande. They also created a Growing Grounds Garden at Grover Elementary School. Daryl provided dogs at California Men’s Colony to be trained to help first responders. Nichols Foundation West, Inc. is also a major sponsor of the Stone Soup Music Festival and Street Fair that takes place every August in Grover Beach as well as the Santa Barbara Scholarship Fund.

Sandi Dewar: 2018 Ken Talley Youth Service Award

Sandi has been organizing 4H Huasna Valley for years.  She is nominated for the Ken Talley Youth Service Awards for the time and dedication she invests in the program for our youth.  She supports the kids, parents, and provides a great environment. Sandi is also involved in the “Great AGventure” for fourth-grade students in San Luis Obispo County in both Arroyo Grande and Paso Robles for over 10 years.

“She is a very friendly and caring person,” said Vince Perrine of Arroyo Grande. “She is easy to talk to and contributes hours of dedicated service to Arroyo Grande. Without Sandi we wouldn’t have a great 4H program. It’s a supportive, friendly environment for kids to participate.”

California Fresh: 2018 Business of the Year for South San Luis Obispo County

Highly rated on Yelp by locals and visitors alike, California Fresh Market in Pismo Beach is known primarily for its friendly, helpful staff and fresh food. Cal Fresh offers fresh organic produce, USA-only sourced Choice and Prime meats, a full-service health and wellness department and a large selection of local products on the Central Coast. Specialty items are often found here as well as hard-to-find craft beers, an extensive wine selection and premium liquors.

California Fresh Market’s success comes from producing delicious, scratch-made foods under their own brand which cannot be purchased anywhere else. These signature items are made in-store from their own recipes collected over a 53-year tradition beginning in their original store: El Rancho Marketplace in Solvang.  Some of their most popular signature items include in-store roasted coffee, scratch-made pies, rolls, fudge and organic artisan breads. Cal Fresh squeezes their own juices, makes their own sausages, smokes their own meats, and produces innumerable recipes in their deli every week.  Menu items change on a regular basis using a wide array of fresh, seasonal ingredients.  Cal Fresh offers its customers convenience: from the sushi bar, juice bar, coffee bar, salad bar, wing bar, soup bar, olive bar and sandwich bar. Shoppers enjoy high-quality, fresh-made foods that are ready to eat.

Locally owned and operated, California Fresh Market is very much involved in supporting schools, Rotary, clubs and numerous non-profit organizations in the area. Aside from their store in Pismo Beach, California Fresh Market also has locations in San Luis Obispo and Solvang. The Pismo Beach store employees about 160 people, and the entire company employs about 450 people.

These community awards will be presented at the Annual Dinner & Recognition Awards event hosted by South County Chambers of Commerce on January 30 at Loriana located at 500 West Ormonde Rd. Tickets are still available, and this event is open to the community. For more information, e-mail office@southcountychambers.com, or call (805) 489-1488. Register online at southcountychambers.com.