Weed recognizes standout people, businesses

Skye Kinkade
Above, Peggy Soletti and Jeanette Vinall with their 2014 Weed People of the Year awards last Wednesday evening at Abner Weed Plaza after the Carnevale parade.

Immediately after the Carnevale Parade last Wednesday, a crowd gathered at Centennial Plaza to recognize citizens, non-profits, and businesses that make Weed a better place.

First came the parade winners: the Mexican Folklore Dancers took first place for the second year in a row, said parade coordinator Alysia Garcia. Second place went to McDonalds, whose owners, Linda Carlin and Marilyn Yawnick, sponsored all parade entries.

Third place went to the Montague Lancerettes, an all-girls riding and drill team group. This was the first time the Lancerettes have ever participated in a parade, said Garcia, “and they did a great job.”

The Citizen of the Year award was shared by Peggy Soletti and Jeanette Vinall.

The retired teachers were chosen for their involvement with the community through the Sons of Italy and the Holy Family Church.

The two work as a team to organize rummage sales to raise funds for the church, and they are the co-captains for the Relay for Life’s Paesani E Famiglia team.

“These two go above and beyond and have provided many hours of community service,” said Garcia.

Newly appointed Planning Commissioner Donna Winger took home the award for Meritorious Service. She is also a dedicated Weed Pride volunteer.

Garcia said Winger is a relatively new Weed resident and the community is lucky to have her.

Posthumous recognition went to former Planning Commissioner Virgil Tuman. The award was accepted by his wife, Jeannie, and his two granddaughters.

Tuman worked as a volunteer firefighter, was a bus driver for Weed High School, and worked at Wonderland Distributing. He was a member of the Lions Club, a youth softball coach, and a member of Weed Pride.

The Best Educator award went to Weed Elementary School TA Socorro Sanchez, “who calls all the students ‘her kids,’” said Garcia. When she accepted her plaque, she was surrounded by them.

The Weed Family and Community Resource Center was recognized as Best Non-Profit. Since their formation about a year ago, WFCRC has provided activities, classes and other support for families and communities. Program manager Kelsea Ochs accepted the plaque.

Wonderland Distributing was honored as Best Business, with owner Rich Vanni accepting the award.

Since moving their warehouse to Weed, Wonderland and all its employees have immersed themselves in the Weed community, said Garcia. They support school programs, community fundraisers, events, and promote the city.

Vanni helps the Chamber with donations for the Chinese Auction and employees ensure the beer booths at Carnevale are stocked and operating properly at all times.