It's time again to recognize the city's best at the 2013 Beautiful Bakersfield Awards Banquet. Saturday night's event honored the efforts of local individuals, groups, businesses and organizations. Presented by the Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce at the DoubleTree by Hilton. The event aired at 7 p.m. Saturday on KGET-TV Channel 17.
An individual or group over age 55 that exemplifies meaningful contributions, strength of character and commitment to our community.
Associated Veterans of Bakersfield: Volunteers honor departed comrades, conducting 268 funerals in 2012, ensuring every veteran is given final military rites.
Dignity Health Auxiliary: More than 150 volunteers raised close to $200,000 to support the hospitals and dedicated countless hours as non-clinical caregivers and patient liaisons.
Janet Norton: The retired nurse volunteers for Christmas for Seniors and the Golden Empire Gleaners, assembling 1,500 senior gift packages and sorting staples distributed daily to more 50 needy families.
All-America city tradition -- civic/nonprofit
The coordination of efforts that have enhanced the quality of life in Bakersfield.
Bakersfield firefighters nonprofit organizations: Off-duty firefighters have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Bakersfield Relay for Life: This annual event raised $2.1 million and was ranked as the largest Relay for Life event in 2012.
Covenant Coffee: Group provides employment, mentoring and skill building to former foster youth.
Keep Bakersfield Beautiful -- Anti-Litter Campaign: The "Litter: It's Beneath Us" campaign deters litter to improve community pride, tourism and awareness.
Girl Scouts of Central California South: They celebrated their 100th birthday, in 2012, by doing 100 things locally, with several hundred Bakersfield Girl Scouts rededicating themselves to service.
Critters Without Litters: They provided high-quality, compassionate sterilization to more than 2,000 animals in 2012.
Kern Citizens for Sustainable Government: This nonprofit focuses on supporting public policies that allow residents to thrive and flourish.
Kern County Homeless Collaborative: In 2012, this network helped reduce Kern's homeless population by 20 percent.
Whiskers Paws Hooves and Claws Animal Advocacy: This volunteer-based nonprofit assists with reducing euthanasia rates, feeding and financially supporting animals, and bringing care to abused animals.
The completion of a new design integrating the environment with space and materials.
AIS Cancer Center at San Joaquin Community Hospital: A four-story, 60,000-square-foot LEED certified/green cancer center, outpatient surgery center and medical office building to aid cancer patients.
Riverwalk addition: A 10,000-square-foot addition, which includes two tenant improvements -- Woolf Dental and Riverwalk Cafe -- adding value and helping stimulate growth.
Saint Demiana Coptic Orthodox Church: A 16,000-plus-square-foot, Coptic architectural design featuring a sanctuary with 550 seats, a baptismal, offices, bookstore and classrooms.
United States Federal Courthouse: A 33,000-square-foot federal courthouse housing the U.S. District Court, the U.S. Marshals Service and the U.S. Probation and Pretrial Services, achieving LEED Gold standards.
Arts -- individual
Excellence or achievement by an individual in any of the following: visual arts, dance, literature, music, theater.
Alfred Mendez Jr.: Mendez transformed a Golden Empire Transit Bus into a holiday bus displayed first at the annual Bakersfield Christmas Parade then through December in a daily-changing route.
Nicole Saint-John: Through her "Creating Community Program," Saint-John mentored 10 artists-in-residence who presented exhibitions in collaboration with other local nonprofits.
Cindy Trueblood: For 35 years, Trueblood has worked with her staff, guiding the changes that have allowed the Nutcracker to continue and flourish.
Arts -- group
Excellence or achievement by a group in any of the following: visual arts, dance, literature, music, theater.
Bakersfield Museum of Art -- Via Arte: More than 700 local artists and youth participated in this outdoor exhibition creating more than 200 chalk art works, viewed by 10,000 spectators.
Banshee in the Kitchen: Touring and recording since 2002, this group has performed Celtic music at countless venues.
Celeste and Mercedes Barcella: Mercedes, a pianist and composer, and Celeste, a violinist and pianist, provide free Mozart concerts benefiting children and their families in hospitals and the community.
Boys and Girls Club of Kern County -- KidzArt Artists: Children in visual arts program donate artwork for auctions to raise funds for art supplies, equipment and framing.
Keep Bakersfield Beautiful: Artists turned electrical signal boxes and cigarette receptacles into three-dimensional works of art in the downtown area.
San Joaquin Community Hospital -- ArtCare Program: A partnership between San Joaquin Community Hospital and the Arts Council of Kern that brings artists and musicians weekly to the hospital to give patients and their families a sense of wellbeing through music and art.
The completion of a renovated design that upgrades an existing structure and/or incorporates the use of landscaping to enhance the aesthetic value of the property.
5555 Truxtun Ave.: Revitalized a dilapidated former restaurant building into a new modern multi-use building, bringing a fresh look to one of Bakersfield's main arteries.
Bakersfield Association of Realtors: Completely transformed an existing building into a new design, including an executive board room, a community room and small and large training rooms to accommodate the needs of their nearly 2,000-member association.
Esys -- The Energy Control Company: Renovated two rundown industrial buildings into a new fabrication facility, giving them a fresh face with new masonry walls and accented with landscaping.
Hans E. Einstein, M.D. Pavilion: Memorial Hospital remodeled its main lobby, entrance, added a canopied area for patient drop off and pick up and provided a welcoming public space for their patients and the community.
The Grove: Memory Care at Rosewood: Renovated the second floor to create a state-of-the-art memory center with 18 private apartments, activity kitchen, active lounge/great room, patio sun room and deck providing comfort for residents with dementia.
Mercy Garden at Mercy Southwest Campus: Transformed an unused space into a calming outdoor environment, Monji designed and installed a 10-foot-tall, four-sided vertical garden tower, with all sides planted; at its top a large tree, with a bench at the base of the tower providing more seating and intimate spaces.
Worklogic HR: Remodeled office space into a state-of-the-art interactive training lab designed to facilitate training, adding a new place for our business community to learn and a space that can be used for special events.
Yoga Space: While honoring the time period of the building, they remodeled and transformed a vacant bank into a bright and free flowing yoga studio with three yoga rooms, multiple massage therapy rooms, retail area and a tea bar.
Efforts that promote or benefit education in our city at all levels.
Lori Ambrose: This Chipman Jr. High language arts teacher started a Young Author's Club to give seventh- and eighth-graders a place to write, publish and display their books.
Bakersfield Elementary Teachers Association: By promoting learning as a family, these employees host events that educate a diverse student population within the Bakersfield City School District.
Ryan Coleman: This educator/coach guided 23 students from Centennial High School to 13th place in the "We the People" competition.
Do The Math: This twice-weekly interactive TV show assisted thousands of fourth- through 12th-graders with their math homework.
Girl Scouts of Central California South: Community Leader Day Camp hosted 32 second- through eighth- grade girls, showing them different aspects of the community and introducing them to area leaders.
Stan Greene: Director of school support services created and oversees Kern High School District's annual PEAAK awards, which recognized 37,000 students and 3,700 employees for their excellence.
National Society of Hispanic MBAs: The Bakersfield chapter with more than 70 members was established in 2012 and helps increase the number of residents graduating from MBA schools through scholarships, career development, awareness and mentoring.
An individual, group or organization that promotes preservation and conservation of our local environment.
Aera Energy LLC: The first company to achieve the environmental strategy "zero waste" by including food composting into its recycling program, recycling more than 27,000 pounds of material and 54 tons of compostables.
E&B Green Solutions: By promoting preservation and conservation of more than 10,000 acres in Bakersfield, it positively impacts our environment through its G-Clean products marketed to the oil and gas industries.
Greater Bakersfield Green Expo: The state's only high school recycled material art competition hosted 135 students; registered 3,000 participants in the Bakersfield Great American Clean Up; and gave away $6,000 in scholarships.
Kaiser Permanente: Kaiser's Green Team minimizes waste, prevents pollution, conserves natural resources and energy and implements best practices throughout their facilities.
Keep Bakersfield Beautiful -- Earth Day: 146 volunteers and 24 youth probationers beautified six local areas during the PG&E Earth Day and 11th annual Great American Clean Up by planting trees and removing graffiti and litter.
Kern Green: This program highlights the green efforts within the community, presenting 11 local businesses and individuals with awards at the Kern Green Awards Banquet in 2012.
SMG Bakersfield: In 2012, the SMG IMPACT sustainability program collected 54,000 pounds of e-waste; 15,000 pounds of compost; recycled cardboard; CRV and lighting fixtures.
Tree Foundation of Kern: The foundation introduced the "Trees for Schools" program, aiding in planting the first 50 of 100 trees for Bakersfield College's 100th year anniversary and 125 trees for the Kern County Fairgrounds.
An individual, group or organization that has made a significant contribution toward healthy living through education, prevention or medical services.
90 DTC Boot Camps: Bringing the community together in fitness groups, it provides free boot camps and in 2012 served more than 1,000 residents.
Glenwood Gardens: In 2012, the Optimism Life Program through Glenwood Gardens helped two WWII veterans achieve their wish to fly by preparing them with physical therapy and providing them the opportunity to fly in an open cockpit Boeing Stearman bi-plane.
Independent Living Center of Kern County: The lead organization for the California Community Transition Program in Kern County, it assisted 26 individuals with disabilities regain their independence and integrate back into the community.
Dr. Vinod G. Kumar: Performing peripheral angiograms, which increases circulation in the legs, Dr. Kumar saved numerous patients from leg pain, inability to walk and even amputation.
Lauren Small Children's Medical Center at Memorial Hospital: In April 2012, this medical center admitted its first patient to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, specifically designed to provide medical care to critically ill infants, children and teenagers.
Rosewood Senior Living Community: Rosewood's Health Care Center's Masterpiece Living program promotes quality of life enhancements for residents and team members, serving an average of 70 ongoing residents, and more than 30 monthly for rehabilitation.
Nona Tolentino: As program director of Long Term Care Ombudsman Services for the Greater Bakersfield Legal Assistance, Tolentino works to make sure the elderly in our community have a voice in decisions regarding their care and lifestyle.
Humanitarian -- individual
An individual whose personal efforts has contributed to the community as a whole.
Robin Enos: As a 25-year volunteer for "Look Good ... Feel Better," Enos has dedicated herself to teaching female cancer patients beauty tips when dealing with the side-effects of chemotherapy and radiation.
Linda Hartman: Hartman is known for her tireless efforts in raising awareness and support for BARC.
Helen Henton: Encouraging others to live fuller lives, this now-73-year-old embraced her life after a stroke at age 41 by helping others and volunteering for leadership roles at her church and Rosewood Village.
Joann and Larry Keller: By opening Critters Without Litters, a high-quality and low-cost spay and neuter facility, the Kellers helped reduce Kern County's euthanasia rates in 2012 and gave low-income residents affordable animal care.
Judi McCarthy: Director of Kern Community Foundation for nine years, McCarthy is known for her personal generosity and integrity to support the foundation and for creating the Vision Committee and Grant Committee for The Women's and Girls' Fund.
Lili Marsh: As the founder of Honor Flight Kern County, Marsh has flown more that 120 WWII veterans, to see their memorial in Washington, D.C., at no cost to them.
Ric Robbins: Also known as "The Soup Man," Robbins provided more than 5,000 servings of warm food to the homeless and those in need at Church Inc. in Oildale, Church Without Walls and throughout Bakersfield.
T. Rockwell: Rockwell builds a sense of community as he collects and distributes toys for needy families, sponsors and assists with numerous Downtown Business Association events, represents local businesses in Sacramento and hosts weekly small-business networking meetings.
Jeremy Staat: A former NFL player and veteran, Staat inspires youth and veterans through speaking engagements, public school presentations and hosting youth camps through his Jeremy Staat Foundation.
Sarah Stamper: Stamper organized the first volunteer event for local branches of JPMorgan Chase Bank, which focused on local animal issues, with 44 employees contributing more than 220 hours of service and 44 animals finding a home.
Humanitarian -- group
A group whose combined efforts have contributed to the community as a whole.
Act*1 Personnel: This team takes great pride in making a difference in the community by working with disadvantaged youth, disabled children at Sunrise School, unemployed citizens and the women at the Rescue Mission.
Bakersfield Association of Realtors: By being involved in more than 15 organizations and events throughout 2012, this group sponsors and volunteers in its tireless efforts to "grow a stronger community."
Bakersfield Condors: Both on and off the ice, the Condors fill the needs in the community by hosting numerous charitable events, which serve children, nonprofits and the community.
Bakersfield Pet Food Pantry: In 2012, this group helped community members who are struggling to feed their pets by donating 4,584 service hours and 39,700 pounds of food.
California Highway Patrol: Local CHP officers and volunteers collected more than $20,000 and more than 2,000 toys in the 2012 CHiPs for Kids Toy Drive.
Cal State Bakersfield Athletics: In 2012, CSUB student-athletes, coaches, staff and administrators gave more than 3,000 volunteer hours to more than 25 community organizations.
Dignity Health Ambassador Program: These volunteers work in various areas throughout the hospital, aiding in tasks that free up staff and spending quality time with patients and their families.
The Garden Project: Aiming to improve the health and nutrition of our community, this group in 2012 harvested 15,126 pounds of food, which they donated to more than 3,000 local families.
Kaiser Permanente Hippocrates Circle Program: This program introduces 45 students to the realities of becoming a physician or medical provider.
Rotary Club of Bakersfield East: Volunteers served numerous organizations and events supporting education, extracurricular activities, valley fever research, food distributions and holiday giving; In 2012, they distributed more than 700 backpacks and 1,500 dictionaries to local schools and $8,000 to valley fever research.
Rotary Club of Bakersfield West: Driven by the motto "Service above Self," this group provided a full range of service activities, including Adopt-A-School, which benefitted 750 disadvantaged youth; the CSUB annual barbecue; M.A.R.E; donating 200 Thanksgiving meals and more than 550 coats for Coats for Kids.
The Women's and Girls' Fund of Kern County: With a mission to support programs benefitting women and girls, this initiative of Kern Community Foundation raised more than $100,000 in 2012 and awarded $20,000 in grants to three nonprofit organizations.
Wounded Heroes Fund: This group makes handicapped-accessible additions to homes; provides family assistance and hosts events in honor of military men and women; raising more than $65,000 in 2012.
The use of public/private funds in a partnership effort to enhance the quality of life in our community.
Aera Energy LLC -- Golden Empire Gleaners: Utilizing the expertise of Aera employees and a $25,000 donation, the Gleaners food order operations were streamlined with equipment and improvements in safety and efficiency.
Amgen 2012 Stage 5 Local Organizing Committee, Bakersfield Sports Foundation City of Bakersfield, and County of Kern: In a joint effort, produced the Amgen Stage 5 Cycling Time Trial in May 2012 to the delight of 14,000 fans while promoting the area to the international cycling community.
California Living Museum Foundation -- Holiday Lights: A spectacular light show in its 10th year that includes more than 2 million lights and 58,000 attendees; benefitting CALM and Teen Challenge and providing hundreds of volunteer opportunities.
Career Services Center, Employers' Training Resource and PCL Industrial Services Inc.: Partnering to provide excellence in meeting PCL's hiring needs and finding qualified candidates for their job openings; resulting in 2,500 applicants receiving training and more than 200 finding jobs.
Community Action Partnership of Kern, KaBOOM!, Dr. Pepper Snapple Group and Friendship House: Working together with more than 250 volunteers to create a new playground and multipurpose sports field that provided a safe and inviting play space for more than 9,000 residents of southeast Bakersfield and participants of the Friendship House.
Henrietta Weill Memorial Child Guidance Clinic -- Links to Success Program: Working with community partners each year to improve conditions for families, most notably with the mentoring program, which uses activities to address the health needs of participants.
Independent Living Center of Kern County -- All Medical Supply: Working together to refurbish donated wheelchairs and other durable medical equipment and then loaning them to people with disabilities, providing access and mobility in our community that would not otherwise be possible.
Keep Bakersfield Beautiful -- Garces Circle: With a grant from the Bakersfield Californian Foundation, the subcommittee was able to illuminate and landscape the Father Garces Statue, a state landmark, using virtually all volunteer labor.
Kern County Department of Human Services -- Holiday Cottage: Celebrating 25 years of aiding Kern's foster children, the Holiday Cottage filled more than 700 wishes in 2012 with the help of many community organizations and 550 volunteer hours.
North of the River Parks and Recreation and Terrio Physical Therapy and Fitness -- League of Dreams: Coming together to benefit more than 2,000 children with special needs with the first accessible baseball field with rubber tile surfacing; providing a much needed recreational opportunity for individuals that require accessible provisions and safety precautions.
Stop the Violence Movement Inc. -- "A Fresh Start": With city-donated land and a partnership with Kaiser Permanente of Kern County, it offers healthy living programs, including free Zumba fitness classes and access to fresh fruits and vegetables at the Southeast Community Garden.
United Way of Kern County -- Financial Stability Partnership: Delivers programs and initiatives that help families become more financially stable; lifting them out of poverty and building a stronger, healthier community for all.
Youth -- individual
An individual under age 21 who, through personal involvement and endeavors, has answered the call of good citizenship.
Emily Aldritt: Creating and selling homemade Christmas treats through her annual Em's Treat'em Sweet fundraiser, Emily donated more than $3,600 to the Bakersfield Homeless Center and the Alliance Against Family Violence.
Johanna Coronado: Dedicating her time to 10 community service-based clubs, Johanna helped wrap and hand out presents for low-income children, participated in food and clothing drives, fundraising and city trash cleanup.
Nathan Garcia: As his 13th birthday wish, Nathan (having stage-four brain cancer) went without presents for himself, opting instead for gifts donated to other sick and needy children, resulting in an overwhelming community response benefitting hundreds of area children.
Andrew Kerwin: Aided by 21 volunteers for his Eagle Scout project, Andrew raised $1,500 and volunteered 90 hours to transform an office at the H.E.A.R.T.S. Connection into a Toy Lending Library for children with special needs.
Youth -- group
A group under age 21 that, through personal involvement and endeavors, has answered the call of good citizenship.
Assisteens Auxiliary of Assistance League of Bakersfield: Last year, 41 teens gave more than 1,000 hours, assembling 3,000 hygiene kits for Operation School Bell, donating spa kits for the women's shelter and creating more than 500 greeting cards for local care facility residents.
Bakersfield Police Department -- Explorer Program: Work with the Crime Prevention Unit, the Explorers assist with Neighborhood Watch programs, National Night Out, the Christmas parade and Safe Halloween; donating a total of 16,889 hours.
Frontier High School -- Phrontier Photo: This community service-oriented student club assisting with a variety of events raising more than $2,000 for Relay for Life; and fundraisers for the photography program.
Jim Burke Education Foundation -- Dream Builder Program: Teen teams plan and implement community service projects focusing on healthy lifestyles, the arts, playground renovations and outdoor family fun activities.
Kern High School District Peer Support Workers: Youth group provides positive role models for other youth struggling to meet their goals.
Liberty High School -- DreamCatchers: Posted more than 200 "pay it forward" ideas, spurring more than 100 people to perform acts of kindness.
Stockdale High School: Participated in community service activities such as One Dollar for Life, Adopt-A-Star, Back-to-School Toy Drive, Blood Drive and volunteered at hospitals.