Chamber announces Citizens of Year

MARTINEZ, Calif. – The Martinez Chamber of Commerce announced Monday the recipients of the 2016 Citizen of the Year Awards.

“These are exceptional people that have served our community in extraordinary ways,” a Chamber release stated.

Recipients for the awards are:

Lifetime Achievement: Gay Gerlack

Gay Gerlack has been a member of the Board of Directors of Main Street Martinez, Martinez Historical Society, Martinez Early Childhood Center, Central County Homeless Outreach, John Muir Association, Friends of the Martinez Library, Kiwanis Club of Martinez and the Martinez Arts Association. She also has served on the Martinez Park, Recreation and Marina Commission and helped create the successful campaign to pass Measure H in 2008, which has improved the parks in Martinez, modernized the library while preserving its historic architecture and interior and built a new swim center that is the pride of Martinez. She belongs to Kiwanis, Soroptimist and Lioness, helping with all their fundraising activities. Gay also serves as a Director on the Martinez Chamber of Commerce Board.

Woman of the Year: Candice Gliatto

Candice Gliatto is the owner of Citrus Salon on the 800 block of Main Street. She is a Main Street Martinez board member and is both the Chair and Treasurer of the Main Street Economic Vitality Committee. Candice created the Martinez Means Business website and is a well-spoken advocate for Main Street Martinez. Her business, Citrus Salon, participates in nearly all the downtown events. She participates in Downtown Clean-up Day and has led the effort for St. Baldrick’s events for six years now.

Man of the Year: Mike Beck

Mike Beck’s community service – particularly to the Martinez Unified School District – has been both vast and vitally important. He was instrumental in rewiring all the schools a few years ago to make them ready for the digital age, and then afterwards helped install computers. He has served on the Martinez Education Foundation Board for several years and is a key member of the MEF Run for Education Committee. He is involved with National Night Out, MEF Family Fun Night, PTA Leadership Council for MUSD and Shell/MUSD Annual Essay Contest. This is all done without the slightest hint that he expects anything in return.

Young Man of the Year: Jason Frost

Jason Frost is a 17-year-old young man who is at the top of his class at Alhambra High School and was chosen to be the Valedictorian for his graduating class. He is the captain of the Tieni Duro Junior Cycling Team in Contra Costa County. Jason tutors high school students after school. He volunteers for the Shell/MEF Run for Education, Downtown Clean-up Day and also volunteered at the polling booth for the Presidential Election and coordinated and helped set up the Mock Election at Alhambra High School.

Young Woman of the Year: Shelby Bolton

Shelby Bolton is a senior at Vicente High School. She is the president of Leadership and has participated in two Downtown Clean-up Days, three Coastal Clean-ups, and recently gave a speech to 150 educators at an Earn and Learn awards ceremony. Shelby cut the ribbon to open the brand-new school campus and has been featured in the newspaper multiple times. She is on the Prom Committee and helped arrange a field trip where a group of girls are going to receive free prom dresses.

Educator/Teacher of the Year: Michele Roche

Mrs. Roche is a 5th grade teacher at John Swett Elementary. She is a passionate educator that encourages hands-on learning, independent thinking and collaboration. Mrs. Roche is currently the Common Core Site Facilitator providing professional development to the staff on Common Core standards as a part of the Instructional Leadership Corps. She exemplifies the quality of educators that each school and district strive to add to their team.

Service Without Borders: David Rich

David Rich is an active historian in writing and cataloging the history of all 117 years of Alhambra High School in reading newspapers on microfiche and is currently working his way back to 1942 with the data being entered on the Alhambra Alumni website, which he maintains. He has spent countless hours scanning and uploading the old yearbooks (Alhambra Torch) year by year. He has written many articles for the Gazette about the history of Alhambra High School and many of its former staff, educators and administrators. David has been the chair of the past three reunions for the Class of 1973. He is a resident of Pollock Pines but comes to Martinez every month during the planning of the class reunions. He is a preserver of Martinez history and shares his knowledge through his articles and website.

Join the Martinez Chamber of Commerce at the Citizen of the Year Awards Banquet on Saturday, April 15, from 6-9 p.m. at the Masonic Hall, 700 Masonic St., Martinez, to honor and pay tribute to all the award recipients.

Reservations are required and available through Monday, April 10. Individual seating is $55 per person; tables of 10 are available for $500.  To make reservations call (925) 228-2345, or email

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