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May 21, 2022

Chamber honors Pajaro Valley’s difference-makers

WATSONVILLE—The Pajaro Valley Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture handed out six awards at its 59th annual dinner on July 31, recognizing local businesses, people and organizations that helped the community during a trying 2020.

Held outdoors at the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds, the gala brought together more than 250 people from various sectors of the community for an “Afternoon in Paradise”—a Hawaiian-themed dinner.

Chuck Allen was named Man of the Year. Allen for more than 50 years has worked with local farms and food processing companies, real estate services and has served on various nonprofit boards. 

Woman of the Year was Stephanie Fontana, a local volunteer and organizer who last year was the livestock coordinator for evacuees of the CZU Lighting Complex fires at the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds.

Second Harvest Food Bank Santa Cruz County was selected as Organization of the Year. During the pandemic, the nonprofit worked with the National Guard, County Emergency Services, Twin Lakes Church, local school districts and more to try and provide a growing number of residents who became food insecure with fresh, healthy food.

Monument Lumber won Business of the Year. A lumber and hardware business established in 1952, Monument has supported various youth programs, churches, missionaries and schools, and awarded scholarships to local students, came to the service of the community during last year’s CZU fires.

This year’s Lifetime Achievement was awarded to the Ken and Anne Dobler Family, who have been active in the community for decades, supporting multiple organizations, foundations, churches, schools and youth sports over the years. The Dobler & Sons produce company will be celebrating 70 years this year.

The first-ever Holiday Lights Drive-Thru, organized by the Agricultural History Project and the Fairgrounds Foundation, was awarded Event of the Year. The event drew large crowds to the fairgrounds, inviting families to drive their vehicles through multiple light displays created by local organizations and businesses.


Tony Nuñez
Managing Editor Tony Nuñez is a longtime member of the Watsonville community who served as Sports Editor for five years before entering his current role in 2019. A Watsonville High, Cabrillo College and San Jose State University alumnus, he covers the city, business, housing, entertainment and more.


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