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Manteca honors Charlie & Bobette Giles by naming park after them

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POSTED November 19, 2009 2:38 a.m.
It’s an All American story of a hardworking husband and wife, who loved each other, loved their families, loved their workers, and loved their community.

Charlie Giles – who founded Mountain Valley Express with one truck and fueled its growth with honesty and putting his employees and customers first – would hire struggling young adults he came in contact through the Boys & Girls Club who beat the odds to stay on the straight and narrow.

Bobette Giles – after she closed up for the evening at the Burger Tree – would take leftover food from the day to feed the homeless who camped nearby.

Those two gestures were just a small part of the ways that the couple impacted the lives of Manteca residents.

On Tuesday, the Manteca City Council unanimously decided to honor the couple that has since passed away by renaming Bay Meadows Park  adjoining the Boys & Girls Club that they put their heart, soul, and money into – in their honor.

“Charlie (and Bobette) was an All American story,” said Jay Holmes, speaking on behalf of the Boys & Girls Club that asked for the park name change. “They did a lot of stuff behind the scenes.”

The couple’s behind-the-scenes efforts were legendary among organizations and individuals who have worked over the years with the less fortunate and those struggling to turn their lives around.

Charlie was a recovering alcoholic who never missed an opportunity to help someone else struggling with their demons connected with the bottle.

They were on the ground floor of raising money and founding the Boys & Girls Club three decades ago. Their monetary contributions to the club over the year approached $500,000. That, though, wasn’t enough for them when it came to helping kids. They worked the bingo games, crab feeds, and telethons. When a young boy whose family had limited financial means was being honored from the club and required a suit and tie, Giles – along with the late Don Stewart – would take them shopping and make sure the boy wouldn’t be embarrassed when they were being honored.

Both were active in the St. Vincent de Paul Society while Charlie served as a Manteca Morning Rotary Club member and Bobette was a Manteca Soroptimists member.

Giles founded Mountain Valley Express in 1967. He started with one truck specializing in less than truckload hauling. His big break came when Dana Corp. called him to haul freight. He didn’t have a truck available so he rented a U-Haul and backed the small truck up next to the loading docks at Dana right next to large trucks from more established carriers. His spunk impressed Dana and Mountain Valley Express was on the move.

Mountain Valley Express today has 320 employees, 400 pieces of equipment, five locations, and annual revenues of $26 million.

Giles has been inducted into the Manteca Hall of Fame for his successful effort as a businessman and civic-minded community member.

“The renaming of the park is well deserved,” noted Councilman Vince Hernandez.
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