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Shirley Davis given citizen honors
Shirley Davis was visibly shocked when it dawned on her that she was the recipient of the 2009 Ceres Chamber of Commerce's Citizen of the Year Lifetime Achievement Award Friday evening.

Also honored at the event, held for the first time ever at the Ceres Community Center in its 41-year history, was Bert Bertolotti who received the Citizen of the Year Award selected by past recipients.

As last year's recipient, Kim Chapman, recited facts one by one about Davis' list of community activities, humbleness have way to crumbleness.

Davis was described by Chapman as a "creative" and "artistic" community servant who is a "friend to everyone." She's been involved in the Ceres Historical Society but is most affiliated with the Ceres Garden Club. She has assisted with number garden plantings which have benefited Ceres, including tree plantings at school sites, visible roadside gardens such as the spot on El Camino near KFC.

The garden enthusiast has also been assisting in establishing a "Let Freedom Ring" grove of trees being planted at the Ceres Riverbluff Regional Park in tribute of each U.S. president.

She's been active in the Persephone Guild for 11 years and also belonged to the Scottish Rite.

One of her most visible roles is playing Mrs. Claus at the annual Ceres Christmas Festival in Smyrna Park.

State Assemblyman Bill Berryhill called Davis "a shining example for this community."

A speechless and tearful Davis spoke from her heart saying that she loves her community and serves it to "make it a better place."

Davis is also the mother of seven children, many of whom were present at the awards ceremony. Her husband, Del Davis, said he managed to cancel an important Mason event to get his wife to the event without her suspicions.

Bertolotti, owner of Bertolotti Disposal, was lauded as an extremely supportive community member. Born in 1931 in Italy, "Bert" came to the United States at age 2. He's been supportive of youth sports, the Ceres Relay for Life, in the Measure H half-cent sales tax for public safety and Measure U school bonds campaigns.

"This gentleman has given so much of his life to the city of Ceres," said Berryhill who was on hand for the event. He went on to say that Bertolotti has been supportive of any community event that he's been asked to support. "You've always been there for us and you've been an awesome person in the community."

Councilman Ken Lane called Bertolotti a "local legend." Lane also noted that Bertolotti was receptive when the city asked his company to start an hour earlier in picking up garage.

Shane Parsons was selected to receive the Chamber's "Volunteer of the Year" Award. He was lauded by Lisa Mantarro Moore, the chair of the Street Faire Committee.

"There's nothing this guy won't do," she said.

Parsons hosted last year's jousting event fundraiser at his Diamond Bar Arena outside of Ceres. The Sept. 23 Medieval Night was considered a smashing success by drawing 800 persons and raising $16,000 for both Ceres and Central Valley high schools.

The dinner, catered by the Clinton Whitmore Mansion, was an occasion to install the Chamber's 2010 board. Parsons was inducted as the Ceres Chamber's new chairman. Cary Pope is the chair-elect for the 2011 year. Other Chamber officials are Treasurer Robert Yockey, Special Events chair Pam Agnew, and board members Jay Simmonds, Mary Lopez, Julia Fatheree and Tracie Maciel.

Also honored - but not present - was Modestan Johnny Ortiz who personally got involved with helping a Ceres police officer during a Dec. 18, 2009 arrest gone bad. Ortiz received the Chamber's "Good Samaritan Award." The 36-year-old Coit carpet cleaner had been previously honored at the Jan. 11 Ceres City Council meeting for his role in helping Officer Brinton Moore to wrestle control of a suspect at Whitmore Avenue and Boothe Road.

Among those in attendance for past Citizen of the Year recipients Grant Lucas, Mildred Lucas, Paul Caruso and Art MacRae.

The evening also included a silent auction. Emcee Eric Ingwerson joked that Berryhill won all the auction items because Gov. Schwarzenegger was sending a check to cover it all and hoped it wouldn't bounce.

Last year Walt Hanline and Kim Chapman were honored with Lifetime Achievement Awards.