Bert Delarmente, 77, who has been a barber in Delano for 39 years, in early June shut down his shop to enter full-time retirement.
Delarmente, whose business had a congratulatory sign from his family hanging outside to herald the end of his business years, was chosen by the old Delano Record as Barber of the Year in 2015 and another year was recognized as Businessman of the Year by the Record.
The 2016 Grand Marshal of Delano’s Philippine Weekend, he left the Philippines and arrived in San Francisco at age 11 in 1956. He says he dropped out of high school and came to Delano to work in the fields.
He credits his wife, Anna, of more than 50 years, with encouraging him to become a barber to move out of field work. He attended San Francisco Moler Barber College, graduating in 1982.
Delarmente first worked at Johnny’s Barber Shop for seven years. “I learned a lot from my customers and especially from Johnny who was a role model. I learned how the business functions.”
In 1989 he took over the Arroyo’s Barber Shop in Delano’s Chinatown area but moved from there when the area was taken over by the city. In July 2000, he moved into the location at 10th Avenue and Jefferson Street.
Since his arrival with his parents in San Francisco, he has maintained his allegiance to the city’s Giants and 49ers, both “my teams, of course!”
In 1965, Bert says, he was one of the original strikers with the union and joined AWOC, affiliated with the AFL-CIO. He led the Filipinos to strike in 1965. “I wanted to help the workers have a better life and better working conditions.”
He said that when AWOC and FFWA merged, “we were successful and had our first union in 1970. When that contract expired in 1973, we went on strike again. Cesar Chavez decided to send strikers all over the country, and my wife and I were assigned to the New York area to boycott and picket the chain stores, etc. We were there for almost a year.”
His family said he has no firm plans yet for retirement.
Numerous scholarships and awards were presented to Delano High seniors at the 49th annual Senior Awards Day.
Alejandro Hernandez and Jandre Lafradez earned a cord and certificate as California Scholarship Federation lifetime members. Lafradez gained the $500 Delano Energy Center scholarship, the $1,000 E. H. Parsons Memorial scholarship, and the Nelms Surveying Inc. $250 award. Alejandro Hernandez, completing his high school education after his junior year, is recipient of the Gates scholarship.
Anabel Basurto was recipient of $500 from the Mexican-American Pioneer Association, $1,000 from the Minnie Lee Parsons Memorial, $250 from John P. Zaninovich and the Soroptimist of Delano medal.
Josh Queja and Ashleah Flores both earned $250 from the Delano High Class of 1974. Queja also gained the $500 award and graphing calculator for the Jon McDowell Memorial scholarship and the $250 Ordiz-Melby Architects Inc. scholarship.
Rigoberto Reyes received $250 each from Supervisor David Couch and Taqueria Tampico. Reyes and Kaitlyn Grijalva were awarded the Osbaldo Orozco Memorial plaques.
Other award winners were Rene Guillen, Alondra Orozco Memorial scholarship; Michelle Ramirez, Barbara Washington Memorial scholarship and the $1,000 Earlimart Rotary Club award; Ashleah Flores and Alexandra Emily Santiago, each a $200 CSEA Chapter 79 award; Jessica Beltran, $250 from the Delano High counseling department; Samantha Vielmas, $500 from John and Cyndie Davila; and Jhon Lara, the John and Rico Washington scholarship and the $500 Valley Republic Bank award.
Gaining $1,133 each from the M. George Zaninovich Memorial scholarship were Laysha Gutierrez, Josh Queja and Samantha Vielmas.
Presented $1,000 each from Assemblyman Rudy Salas were Gerardo Martinez and Lluvia Lugo. Natalie Calderon earned the $1,000 Delano Rotary Club scholarship; Mayra Lopez, $500 Delano High class of 1958 scholarship; Crystal Roque, $250 from San Joaquin Paint and Glass Co. Inc.; Cassandra Nunez, $1,500 from the Varanasi Family Scholarship; Laysha Gutierrez, $500 from Radhey S. Bansal, MD, Inc.; John Selsor, $500 Martin E. Moisant Memorial scholarship; Ruben Lopez Fernandez, $300 Juan Carlos Salazar Memorial scholarship; Stormie Kates, $500 from Pandol Bros. Inc.; and Christopher Barrios, Stormie Kates and Britzenia Reyes, all gaining $200 Jules and Phyllis Girard scholarships.
Tiger Athlete of the Year plaques went to Mya Garcia and Fernando Nunez.
Phillip Amaya Inspirational award plaques went to Ramiro Basurto and Nicole Bonifacio. The Ray Frederick service awards were earned by Vince Atencia and Mia Madrigal.
Delano High attendance office medals went to Jacob Abad, Lluvia Lugo, Giller Maramba, Rigoberto Reyes, Angel Valenzuela and Lesley Virgen Felix.
Certificates were presented by the United States Army to Xemenia Gomez, Angel Hernandez, and Kymark Retamal.
The COVID-19 pandemic has failed to put a damper on the baseball pursuits of 13-year-old Ayden Vasquez, a recent La Vina Middle School graduate.
The son of Henry and Margaret Vasquez has been playing baseball since age 3, starting with T-ball and then Little League and for three years with the Kern County Hooks and three years with the Bakersfield Bombers, both traveling teams.
The last two months he has played with the Central Valley Cardinals 13U team. Over the June 19-21 period he is taking part in the Perfect Game Showcase at Irvine, playing in an independent event where players will be assigned to teams in the West Coast event.
The 5-1, 118-pounder has dreamed of playing ball at the University of Oregon, Fresno State, or Cal State Bakersfield with the dream extending to an eventual professional baseball career.
During the pandemic his teams played in tournaments chiefly in Arizona and since age 4 he has taken part in events all over the central valley, California, Arizona and Nevada.
With his brothers ages 22, 17, and 6, he enjoys PlayStation and Xbox, but baseball is his favorite hobby, and his best positions are shortstop, third base and catcher.
Over the last two months his baseball journeys have covered some 5,000 miles, and in recent years the expense of participation and trips has been somewhere around $50,000.
His older brothers have not had the same dream in baseball, but the younger 6-year-old also “loves” baseball.