Light shines on Dunsmuir citizens

Joseph E. Villaseñor
Mayor Kathay Edmondson presents Ronald Manfredi the Alexander Dunsmuir Award as his wife, Dorothy, cheers with the crowd before them at an awards banquet on Saturday.

Community members gathered Saturday night to honor Ronald Manfredi as this year’s Alexander Dunsmuir award winner and Linda Guzman as Citizen of the Year during a banquet in the Dunsmuir Community Building.

Guzman, a former Dunsmuir mayor, is best known for her work with kids. “I was looking for a small city to live in after living in Oakland,” said Guzman, who settled in Dunsmuir in 1997. She has since been a bus driver, a teacher’s assistant and a volunteer at Dunsmuir Elementary School. She is one of two remaining founding board members of The Kids’ Factory Family Resource Center, where she spends time volunteering. She’s also a behind-the-scenes volunteer for the Rotary Club and many other community events.

Guzman was joined Saturday night by her son, daughter-in-law, mother and husband.

After the dinner catered by Terry Spikes of T. Spikes Catering Events and Red’s Cajun Cookin’, friends and family took a moment to praise the two honorees for their positive roles.

Manfredi was ear-to-ear smiles when he accepted the Alexander Dunsmuir award.  

Manfredi is best known as the owner of Manfredi’s Food and Gas Depot on south Dunsmuir Avenue.

A lifelong south county resident, Manfredi’s involvement in the community has included 40 years of service with St. John’s Catholic Church, 19 years on the Dunsmuir Elementary School Board, 19 years on the county fire board and 20 years as a member of the Dunsmuir Chamber of Commerce. He has supported community events, scholarships and fundraisers.

One friend teased that she “should have married Ron,” while her own husband and Manfredi’s wife Dorothy listened among a chuckling audience.

Evidently service to the community is not an indicator of temperament. Where as Guzman had a prepared speech and was not one to revel in recognition, according to her husband and manner, Manfredi was less than microphone-shy. While others walked up to the microphone and said a few words of praise for both honorees, none took to the mic like Manfredi, who blamed his spurts of short, happy, multiple speeches on the “Irish” in him.

Both the Dunsmuir citizen awards are considered to be equally prestigious. To receive the Alexander Dunsmuir Award you can live anywhere, be living or deceased, and should have served the Dunsmuir community for at least 10 years. To be awarded Citizen of the Year you have to live in Dunsmuir and should have served the community for at least five years. 

Linda Guzman, seated second from left, was named as this year’s Dunsmuir Citizen of the Year. She enjoyed the awards banquet on Saturday night at a table with her family.