The Best of Barstow
BARSTOW — The city’s best and brightest were honored by their peers in a spectacular show at the annual Community Recognition Awards Saturday.
Held at the Barstow Performing Arts Center at Barstow Community College, the annual event recognized the movers and shakers of the community — or as event organizers put it, the “Best in Barstow” — in an evening awards ceremony.
Organizers of the event, hosted by the Barstow Area Chamber of Commerce and in its 38th year, promised the audience the best show in town while honoring young scholars, extraordinary volunteers, military personnel, educators, and others who contributed to their community.
The night’s emcee Jeremy Flores, kept the crowd going with a lively set on his memories of growing up in town. Those who were honored during the event went out of their way to emphasize that Barstow was a place to remember.
“I’m here to prove that us here, in Barstow, we’re here to make it a better place,” BCC Student of the Year Biviano Toledo said.
Toledo received a standing ovation for his inspirational story of how his focus on his education led to success in the academic and professional field. Toledo will soon begin a new job at BCC, the place where he graduated with honors not long ago.
Toledo was among a handful of local students recognized for their exceptional abilities at the ceremony. The event also honored volunteers, events and businesses.
Soroptimist International of Barstow received a fair share of honors, winning Organization of the Year and Best Event of the Year for its MargaritaFest event. Judy Zimmerman, a Soroptimist member, was honored as the year’s Woman of Continuous Service.
Chamber of Commerce Board Member Billie Braun and ECBarstow owner Dr. Paul Courtney won the evening’s top honor of Woman and Man of The Year, respectively.
“It’s been a long time coming,” Courtney, a previous winner, said jokingly, to the delight of the crowd. He then thanked his family and friends for their support as he pursued the creation of ECBarstow, which provides services for entrepreneurs.
Braun said she was “floored” to receive the award, especially on a stage shared by her daughter and granddaughter, presenters Miss Barstow Heather Fields and Mini Supreme Denice Carmicle.
“I mean, how cool is that?” Braun asked at the party following the ceremony. On stage, she thanked her family for “putting up with all of her shenanigans” as she went about her business helping out her city in any way she could.
“I didn’t think I would win because I was in such good company,” Braun said. “I’ve always said I only go where God wants me to. So if God speaks to you, go. And hey, it’s fun.”
Others honored included Los Domingos and Oggis Brewhouse owner Max Atalla, recognized as Man of Continuous Service, and BUSD spokesman Devin Vargas, recognized as Up and Coming Volunteer of the Year.
Visit the Barstow Area Chamber of Commerce’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/BarstowAreaChamberOfCommerce for a full list of winners and more information on the Annual Community Recognition Awards.
For more information on the Chamber of Commerce, visit www.barstowchamber.com.