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Honoring 5 who care about Ripon
Chamber also installs new officers
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The Ripon Chamber of Commerce honorees are, from left, Eric Bolger, Ripon Police Officer of the Year; Neil Karsten, Educator of the Year; Pat Van Dorst, Volunteer of the Year; Joe Barkley, Business of the Year and Brian Pratt, Firefighter of the Year. - photo by GLENN KAHL

Five individuals dedicated to making the community a better place were honored during the 2013 Ripon Chamber of Commerce Installation and Awards Dinner.

The dinner took place Thursday night at the Spring Creek Golf and Country Club. The 100 plus in attendance were welcomed by Executive Director Tamra Spade.

In addition to the installation of the chamber’s new board members by Supervisor Ken Vogel,  the chamber recognized outstanding community leaders naming a Police Officer of the Year to a volunteer and two educators of the year during the scripted ceremonies.  Janell Zuidervaart is serving her second term as president and was chosen to make the award presentations.

Police Officer of the Year honors went to Eric Bolger with Pat Van Dorst receiving special recognition for her efforts that earned her Volunteer of the Year status.  Neil Karsten of Ripon Christian High School and Patty Goeppert of Colony Oak Elementary were lauded as the chamber’s choice for their outstanding educators. 

Business of the Year recognition went to Joe Barkley, general manager of Silverado Business Materials and Nursery, who was ecstatic with plaque presentation to his business owned by Thompson Building Materials of Southern California.  Silverado is located on South Stockton Avenue at Fourth Street with plans for further expansion soon beyond its new Design Center.

Firefighter of the Year recognition went to reserve firefighter Brian Pratt, a graduate of the Modesto Regional Fire Academy who joined the Ripon Consolidated Fire District some five years ago.  Chief Dennis Bitters lauded Pratt for nearly 1700 hours served between the two Ripon stations during the past year and his participation in 291 emergency incidents and for logging 164 training hours.

In presenting Officer Eric Boger as Police Officer of the Year, Chief Ed Ormonde noted that Boger is currently assigned as one of four field training officers as well as being an advisor to the Explorer unit.  For the last three years he has served as an active member of the Ripon/Manteca joint SWAT team, Ormonde said.

While she wasn’t able to attend Thursday night, elementary school teacher Patty Goeppert was lauded by Clarice Luis from the Ripon Unified School District Office as being an exceptional educator for not just the past year but for the past 14 years.

“Her strategies are so effective that she consistently has a higher number of students attaining perfect scores on the CST math portion of the student testing,” Luis said.

Ripon Christian High School’s Neil Karsten was presented for the second Educator of the Year honor by his Principal Eric Segaar, who lauded Karsten for his “quiet but confident demeanor that puts kids at ease and creates a learning environment” where students are comfortable asking questions.  “Never satisfied, Neil is always pushing to present material in both a meaningful and exciting way,” Segaar said.

In presenting the Volunteer of the Year Award to Pat Van Dorst, Chamber President Janell Zuidervaart noted that the longtime Riponite had coordinated many of the past Almond Blossom Parades and volunteered to handle the preparation of the newsletters and the creation of the welcome buckets handed out to new residents in the community.

“Pat also worked on the original Farmers’ Markets for the Business Improvement District and on the fund raising committee for the Friends of the Library,” Zuidervaart said. 

The new 2013-2014 Ripon Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors includes Leo Zuber, vice president; Kristine Griesheimer, treasurer and Lori Adams, secretary.  The remaining members of the board are Darryl Bartels, Larry Stewart, Kevin Hawes, John Heida, John Mangelos, Ed Ormonde, Jake Parks and Danielle Pierce.