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September 19, 2011

Gavilan College announces 2011 Community Spirit Awards

WHO:  The Gavilan College Board of Trustees is pleased to announce the winners of the 2011 Gavilan College Community Spirit Awards

greg martinezGilroy Business: Veterinarian Greg Martinez   Dr. Martinez offers videos of a wide range of problems that primarily dogs encounter. His website offers these videos and advice to anyone who is interested. Judging from the comments of the followers he is providing a valuable free service to not just the local community but to the broader community available through the internet.  There are no self-serving messages in here. All advice is free. It allows owners to make some informed choices about their pets. Dr. Martinez also volunteers with CMAP as a volunteer, and onscreen personality.


Gilroy Individual - Lisa Bruce      Lisa Bruce sees needs and silently works to make a difference in the lives of children.  Each year her service to children seems to grow. Five years ago, Lisa lost her job due to a disability. She struggled with depression over the loss of her job. She received a request from her children’s school to head their Adopt-A-Family program, providing a special Christmas to at least 17 local families per year.  While in charge of the program, Lisa expanded the program by obtaining bicycles for children who did not have a bicycle and by providing Christmas stockings with hygiene supplies for the entire family.   Giving bicycles became a larger focus. In five years over 300 bicycles and helmets have been given to South County children in need.  Lisa hopes to be able to supply 200 bicycles this Christmas, as she writes grants to Turning Wheels for Kids and to Specialized. Lisa’s newest project is opening a non-profit called Unspoken Works.  Through this non-profit she plans to provide school and hygiene supplies to children in need.  This year she is working to provide backpacks filled with the supplies required by the schools and hygiene supplies. She states she understands well what children and teens go through when families cannot afford hygiene supplies, as she was once one of those children. Lisa has also provided Christmas stockings and Easter baskets for the kids at Chamberlains services. She is on the board of directors for Chamberlain's Mental Health Services in Gilroy and Chamberlain’s Children’s Center in Hollister. Lisa Bruce has not received recognition for her work to the community from any organization.                                                                                                                              

vision literacyGilroy Organization – Vision Literacy    Vision Literacy is a non-profit organization that supports thousands of adults struggling with literacy.  Vision Literacy provides one-on-one and group tutoring, classes, and workshops for adults in need.  Some of the programs include reading and writing tutoring, computer literacy workshops (with hands-on support), GED preparation, leadership programs, and support with life skills, such as financial literacy, interviewing and resume writing.   Vision Literacy has been partnering with Gavilan College students in Service Learning.  Representatives from Vision Literacy have visited Gavilan to discuss illiteracy, the impact illiteracy has on families and communities, and the feelings of shame that are often associated with illiteracy.  Vision Literacy has provided orientations and trainings for Gavilan student volunteers.

recology logoMorgan Hill / San Martin  Business - Recology    Recology (formerly South Valley Disposal & Recycling) has been in business for over 30 years.  This company operates in Morgan Hill, Gilroy and South San Jose.  Whenever a non-profit organization requests a donation of services or dollars, Recology has proved to be a true corporate citizen. Three of their administrators have gone through the Leadership Morgan Hill program: Phil Couchee, Steve Luccetti and Julie Alter.   Annual contributions go to the Morgan Hill Mushroom Mardi Gras, Taste of Morgan Hill, No Bull BBQ, Gav Fest, AAUW Wildflower Run, Earth Day Celebration, IDC July 4th celebrations, Holiday Parade.  Recology provides dumpsters, trash pick ups and dollar donations.

Morgan Hill / San Martin  Individual  - Cricket Rubinophoto of cricket rubino     Cricket Rubino has lived and worked in Morgan Hill for over 30 years.  Her volunteer work includes being chairperson for the Mt. Madonna YMCA Board of Directors for over 10 years.  She manages their annual fundraising campaign, recruits board members and volunteers and trains them for phone solicitation. Cricket currently serves on the newly formed board for assisting senior citizens in Morgan Hill to maintain the Senior Center, providing seniors a facility, lunch, meeting friends to play games and socialize.  She is instrumental in forming a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization, as a fundraising arm.  Cricket is a 1999 graduate of Leadership Morgan Hill and has been the coordinator of this program for the past 10 years. Her own time and energy goes into the Leadership Excellence Award Dinner. Cricket volunteered her time at the Gavilan College Career Faire assisting students to write resumes in a professional format.  She was hospitality chairperson for the 2008 and 2009 Taste of Morgan Hill. She has been an active participant in the Youth Advisory Council (YAC).  She has not been recognized for these activities by another organization. 


photo of Brigid Wasson with catMorgan Hill / San Martin  Organization – Santa Clara County Animal Shelter in San Martin     The shelter takes in about 3000 animals per year, roughly half dogs and half cats. The cat adoption/reclaim "live release" rate is currently 66%, and the dog live release rate is 73%. The national average is 50%. In recent years the cat owner reclaims have doubled, thanks largely to a new and improved web site and other community outreach to help people find their missing pets. The cat adoption/rescue numbers also doubled, going from 500 a year to over 1000.  The medical department is extremely limited, so the shelter relies on donations, volunteers, and outside vet hospitals to take up the slack. Through an agreement with Carrington College's RVT program veterinary students complete credit hours at the shelter which helps the shelter do more spay/neuter surgeries and health checks.  By working with community businesses and volunteers, the shelter has increased the number of animals going to a “forever” home.


California Mutual Insurance logoSan Benito County   Business – California Mutual Insurance     This company and its staff has really gotten what "Serving your community" is all about!  They allow their staff to get involved with local non-profits and their committees during work hours.  CMI has provided to a lot of local non-profits in many ways such as meeting room space, raffle prizes, snacks, sponsorships and staff time for the SBC Rodeo, Hazel Hawkins Memorial Hospital Auxiliary and Foundation, Cattlewomen Association, 4-H, United Way, Hollister Rotary, YMCA, SBC Chamber of Commerce, Veteran Parade and the Hollister Downtown Association!  Their most recent "PLUS" is the development of their website to include a "Deal of the month" featuring local businesses and also a calendar that includes local public events.  They step outside the box to find creative ways to help locals.  Example: They lead "healthy walks" in February which included a weekly walk downtown and provided everyone with complimentary flashlights and bottles of water.  California Mutual Insurance is being nominated for their outstanding efforts to make SBC a better place to live, work and play.

San Benito County   Individual – Gordon Machado     Gordon has been  a Jaycee, City Councilman, Planning Commissioner and one of the founding members of the Hollister Downtown Association.  He also was a member of the Measure A committee. He currently is on the Hazel Hawkins Hospital Board of Trustees, and Airport Commissioner, a New Urbanism committee member and President of the Hollister Downtown Association, and serves on both the Design Committee and Economic Restructuring Committee. Gordon has had a tremendous impact on San Benito County over the years

community foundation logoSan Benito County Organization - The San Benito Community Foundation   This organization is being recognized for their considerable efforts to make San Benito County an even better place to live.  They do this in several ways.  They started a campaign to raise awareness to SBC residents and businesses to give where you work and live and why it is important.  They have achieved this through their development of their "Friends of the Community Foundation for SBC" and "Give San Benito", both which allows one to donate any amount to CF and have it ear marked to go towards ones particular interest such as community enhancement, health & social services, agriculture, arts & culture, etc. which in turn is donated to the local non-profits to achieve their particular goals.  They have developed a wonderful website to further the education of their mission and they included a public event calendar to help encourage people to support their local events.  They also launched a "Community Vision" and ask for the public "to share your vision" on what they want for their community via meetings, emails, or phone calls.  Their latest outreach are the beautiful banners in downtown Hollister that furthers their efforts to raise "local donations" awareness.  This organization, through the considerable efforts of a great leader and staff along with many volunteers, has really made a difference in San Benito County.


WHAT: This set of awards is presented annually to individuals, organizations, and businesses who contribute to the communities within the Gavilan Joint Community College. Three sets of awards are presented each year, in Morgan Hill, Gilroy, and San Benito County. Each set of awards will be presented at a breakfast in the community of those being honored.

Morgan Hill awards: October 6 at the Morgan Hill Chamber of Commerce Breakfast, 7:15 a.m. at the Morgan Hill Community and Cultural Center
Gilroy awards: October 19, Gilroy Chamber of Commerce Breakfast, 6:45 a.m. at the Hilton Garden Inn
San Benito County awards: Hollister Downtown Association quarterly breakfast, 7:30 a.m., October 26 at The Vault in Hollister

WHY: The awards were created in 1999 through Board Resolution 739, in order to promote and recognize service to the communities Gavilan College serves. A representative committee of the campus community reviews nominations and selects the award winners. Anyone may nominate an individual, organization, or business in the community for an award. All members of the community are invited to submit nominations for individuals, businesses, and organizations deserving of recognition. A nominee who is not selected may be renominated for the next year. For nomination forms and more information, go to or call (408) 848-4724.



Last modified: August 17, 2011
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