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Meece earns Ripon Police Officer of Year honors
Ripon Policeman of the year Steve Meece, right, stands with Assemblyman Bill Berryhill. - photo by HIME ROMERO
RIPON – Stephen Meece had something to smile about when he left Ripon’s Spring Creek Country Club Thursday night.

Toting a plaque and a certificate, Meece – a member of the Ripon Police Department – was bestowed the honor of being named Ripon Policeman of the Year for 2010. The award was presented by retiring Police Chief Richard Bull during the Ripon Chamber of Commerce annual Installation and Awards dinner.

“It’s great – you go out and do what you love to do and people decide to honor you for that, and that feels really good,” Meece said. “When you’re doing something that is making a difference, and people recognize that it’s making a difference, that’s a great honor.”

And award was given out to retiring board member, Ripon Fire Chief Dennis Bitters, and another award for business of the year was awarded to Marcus and Shelley Shahen and Steve Gikas for the Ripon Roadhouse.

And outgoing board member Chuck Roots – who serves as the pastor at Ripon Free Methodist Church – had nothing but great things to say about his time on the board, and how important the Chamber is in a community like Ripon.

“It was a great experience to be a part of an organization that is friendly to businesses and tries to get other people to come in – it’s an organization that’s dedicated to our community,” Roots said. “That kind of personal interaction helps make Ripon the kind of place where people want to live.”

Also honored Thursday night was Jerry Terpsma of Ripon Christian School as the Educator of the Year for 2010.His award was presented by Ripon Christian High School Principal Mary Ann Sybesma. Bull honored Brian Heath of Ripon Police Department’s V.I.P.S. program as the Public Safety Volunteer of the Year.

Ripon Consolidated Fire District Chief Dennis Bitters presented the award for Fireman of the Year for 2010 to Jeff Heald, and also honored Keith Haines as the Public Safety Volunteer of the Year for 2010.

The new executive board that was installed Thursday night featured Ron Douma of Ina’s Travel Center as president, Attorney H. Thomas Beck as vice president, Assistant Vice President of Bank of Stockton Danielle Pierce as secretary, and Marge Imfeld who works as a manager at Re/Max Executive Real Estate as treasurer.

New chamber directors that were installed were Lori Adams of PMZ Real Estate, Cliff Jorgensen of the Allstate Insurance Agency, Retired Ripon Unified Superintendent Leo Zuber, and co-owner of Friend’s Salon Janell Zuidervaart.

Returning board directors include Helen Caetano of the Tank House Gift Shoppe, Oak Valley Community Bank Manager Kristine Griesheimer, retired Ripon Police Chief Elden “Red” Nutt, and Dean Uecker of Uecker’s Farmer’s Insurance Agency.