Saturday night, some of Bakersfield's most civic-minded individuals gathered at the DoubleTree by Hilton for the 2014 Beautiful Bakersfield Awards Banquet. Presented by the Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce and Kern Schools Federal Credit Union, the event honors the efforts of local individuals, groups, businesses and organizations.
The 2014 Beautiful Bakersfield Award winners are:
An individual or group age 60 or older that exemplifies meaningful contributions, strength of character and commitment to our community.
Tom Burch: Formed the Retirees Pickup Group, which meets weekly to pick up litter and to date has picked up more than 18,000 pounds of litter.
ALL-AMERICAN CITY TRADITION -- CIVIC/NONPROFIT
The coordination of efforts that have enhanced the quality of life in Bakersfield.
Dignity Health Memorial Hospital: The 34th Street/Homaker Park Neighborhood Transformation partnership with Memorial Hospital and Garden Pathways gives neighborhoods and more than 75 residents a fresh start through volunteer community cleanups, gang-intervention, employment, life skills and mentoring.
The completion of a new design integrating the environment with space and materials.
Gazelle Transportation: The corporate office building boasts an open-space floor plan with cutting-edge technology and a full gym, while the shop has four full truck bays, one half-bay and a fleet maintenance department to offer a professional and employee-friendly environment. Skarphol Associates, architect; Wallace and Smith, contractor; Roll Real Estate Development, LLC, developer; Ron Lallo, Gazelle Transportation, owner.
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.
Centre for Neuro Skills: The 24,000-square-foot facility features a curved waterfall at the entrance, modern decor, winding hallways with motivational words and artwork, state-of-the-art therapy equipment, an indoor therapy pool and a relaxation room. Skarphol Associates, architect; Castillo Construction, contractor; Centre for Neuro Skills, owner.
Efforts that promote or benefit education in our city at all levels.
Kevin Crosby: To reinforce the science curriculum, Crosby helped the Falcon Autistic Solar Team to travel to other schools teaching solar energy and helping high school students gain a concrete understanding of environmental science.
An individual, group or organization that promotes preservation and conservation of our local environment.
Kern Green: Presents an annual awards program recognizing businesses and individuals for their efforts to perform green and sustainable practices, organizes community recycling events, works with schools on recycling programs and other programs to environmental impacts.
An individual, group or organization that has made a significant contribution toward healthy living in Bakersfield through education, prevention or medical services.
Kaiser Permanente of Kern County: Partnered on a diverse farmers market with more than 30 vendors, serving more than 2,000 people weekly.
HUMANITARIAN -- INDIVIDUAL
An individual whose personal effort has contributed to the community as a whole.
Jack Brigham: Brigham has dedicated himself to developing students in governance and constitutional principles through the "We the People" program and has given $20,000 in scholarships to needy and deserving students.
HUMANITARIAN -- GROUP
A group whose combined efforts has contributed to the community as a whole.
Rotary Club of Bakersfield Breakfast: Feeds the hungry, lays wreaths on headstones to honor military, aids in roofing homes and treats students in need to a 12 days of Christmas program.
PERFORMING ARTS (INDIVIDUAL/GROUP)
Excellence or achievement by an individual or group in any of the following: Dance, music, musical theater and theater.
Kevin Birkbeck: Giving the gift of music playing and singing, Birkbeck taught beginning ukulele music lessons to more than 700 public school fifth- and sixth-graders and an ensemble of about 20 students participated in performances for the school chorus programs.
The use of public/private funds in a partnership effort to enhance the quality of life in our community.
Keep Bakersfield Beautiful -- Freeway Litter Cleanup Program: Provides jobs cleaning up litter on local roadways, improving lifestyles for about 250 Bakersfield Homeless Center clients and their families.
VISUAL ARTS (INDIVIDUAL/GROUP)
Excellence or achievement by an individual or group in any of the following:ceramics, drawing, literature, painting, photography and sculpture.
Al Mendez and Sebastian Muralles: Collaborated on painting a colorful three-part downtown mural outside Front Porch Music highlighting Bakersfield's rich music history of locally made guitars.
YOUTH -- INDIVIDUAL
An individual 20 years or younger who, through personal involvement and endeavors, has answered the call of good citizenship.
Jaxon Evans: Through his weekend Kool-Aid stand, the 8-year old collected $1,000 in toys and raised $3,300 to purchase toys for a Christmas party at the Bakersfield Homeless Shelter.
YOUTH - GROUP
A group of people 20 years or younger that, through personal involvement and endeavors, has answered the call of good citizenship.
Bakersfield Police Explorer Post #521: Seventy-eight young women and men donated 10,629 hours through a variety of community service projects such as Neighborhood Watch programs, National Night Out, the Christmas Parade and Safe Halloween.
This award is given to the project that has earned the highest score of all nominations and is recognized for overall excellence.
Tom Burch: Winner of the Beautiful Bakersfield award for active adults