Cypress Americana Awards honor local volunteers
By Loreen Berlin and Brooklynn Wong
The Cypress Americana Awards began in 1975, where Cypress College pays tribute to local residents who generously give of their service to the various communities within the college’s boundaries.
Those honored for 2018 include: Anaheim—Drs. Thomas and Cynthia Coad; Buena Park—Savanna School District Superintendent Dr. Sue Johnson; Cypress—Doug and Shelly Bailey; Garden Grove—Sister Bird O’Shea; La Palma—Ron Hoshi; Los Alamitos/Rossmoore—Blair Pietrini; Seal Beach—Steve Masoner; Stanton—(posthumously) Frances “Fran” Daigle.
Dr. Sue Johnson, the selection for Citizen of the Year from Buena Park, was praised for leading by example.
“This is an overwhelming and exciting opportunity to show what Savanna School District does every day and that it makes a difference in the community and lives of students each day,” she said. “Every day I hope to make a difference in the life of a parent, student, teacher, or staff member and we are honoring those who work to make a difference in the community at Savanna; without my team this wouldn’t be possible.”
“Thank you for all of your years of support and for the remarkable people who make the community a better place,” said Cypress College Foundation President and Stanton Mayor David Shawver. “I’m honored to serve as president on the Foundation and on behalf of the committee and directors, welcome to the 43rd Americana of Cypress College.”
Once a year, the community comes together to hold the Cypress Americana Awards as they did Saturday evening at the Disneyland Hotel, honoring eight local citizens from the cities the college serves, for their spirit of giving.
Those receiving awards were a select group of well-deserving people who reached beyond themselves to give to others in a way that touched their hearts and in turn touched the hearts of those who heard their individual stories on large screens at the front of the ballroom.
On stage, Cypress College President Dr. JoAnna Schilling presented each recipient a ceremonial clock inscribed with the college’s name and “2018 Americana Citizen of the Year” along with their individual city and name; Shawver followed, bestowing each recipient with an Americana medallion on a wide red, white, and blue ribbon.
Cypress College said its mission with the awards banquet is to honor the community’s local heroes and spotlight their accomplishments, showcase the cities’ pride and vision, and to raise money in support of the community’s students who attend Cypress College. Thousands of dollars are used each year for student scholarships, emergency assistance and book grants, along with loans that were distributed.
The evening is also to “Strengthen the bonds between Cypress College and the communities.”
Union Bank made a pledge to underwrite the Americana for five years at $25,000 per year. In a statement, Union Bank said they understand the importance of community and are grateful for their personal and professional community ties.
Major sponsors include Union Bank, Disneyland, Knott’s Berry Farm, Yamaha Motor Corporation USA, Forest Lawn Memorial Parks and Mortuaries, Southern California Edison, Southern California Gas Company, and Bank of America.