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Overy earns Mayors Award for her generous gesture
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LATHROP – Patricia Overy is the latest recipient of the Mayor’s Award of Distinction.

The medal and recognition certificate that comes with the award was presented to the Manteca wife and mother of four by Mayor Kristy Sayles at the last regular meeting of the City Council. After the presentation, the council and the audience gathered in the Council Chambers at City Hall gave an overwhelmed Overy a standing ovation and prolonged applause.

The six-year Lathrop city employee was recognized for giving up her position to save the job of a co-worker in the finance department who was among those being laid off as part of the continuing effort to balance the current fiscal year’s budget which, at that time, was still running a $1.5 million deficit. In the short speech she gave before the council on March 1 when she announced her decision, Overy said. “My hope is that the community of Lathrop will survive this difficult economy.”

The beneficiary of Overy’s unselfish sacrificial act was 63-year-old Sharon Singleton who has worked for the city as an accountant for the last six years. At the time of her resignation, Overy has worked for seven years as an accounting technician in the finance department.

When she came to the award presentation, she and her family, along with Singleton, had just returned from New York where they were interviewed by Inside Edition, a popular syndicated television news magazine. It was an all-expenses-paid travel for the Overy family and Singleton courtesy of Inside Edition. Overy said they have not yet been informed by the producers as to when the episode will be aired.

“What an honor it was to work with everybody. Keep in touch,” she said after receiving the Award of Distinction from the mayor.

The council members heaped praises on the generous-minded former city employee.

“Thank you for the sacrifice that you made,” said Councilman Sonny Dhaliwal.

“What you did is really – there’s no word for it – it was a beautiful gesture,” said vice mayor Martha Salcedo as she struggled to find the right words to say.

Council member Robert Oliver, who was next to receive an appreciation award from the mayor after Overy, said her selfless act sounds close to the scripture quote, “There is no greater love than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:13)

After her March 1 speech before the council, Overy said that she decided to step down because she felt she “could cope with the loss of a job better than” Singleton.

Also, while Overy would have been able to “bump” another worker had she decided to stay on the job, Singleton did not have that opportunity, said Overy who is the SEIU (Service Employees International Union) representative or shop steward for the city’s union employees.

City Manager Cary Keaten said that Overy’s courageous and generous act was consistent with her work ethic at city hall and her role as union representative.

Overy said her husband was surprised when she told him of her decision, “but he supports me one hundred percent,” she said in earlier interview with the Bulletin.

Her husband works for the City of Tracy where he has been employed for seven years.

“We have health coverage through my husband’s job so we’ll be all right there,” said Overy who plans to start looking for another job after she has spent “a little time with the kids.”