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Napa Valley Community Award Winners Announced

CANV and Community Health Clinic Ole Tie As Top 2012 Nonprofits. Napa Valley Junction Teacher Nabs 2012 Outstanding Teacher Award.

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NAPA, CA, May 24, 2012 — For the first time in its six-year history, two organizations tied for “Nonprofit Organization of the Year” in the Napa Community Awards, presented today at the Napa Valley Marriott Hotel & Spa. Community Health Clinic Ole and Community Action of Napa Valley (CANV) jointly received the prestigious award, selected from among nine nominees submitted by the community.

Also announced at the sold-out event was the winner of the 2012 Outstanding Teacher Award. Lisa Anderson of Napa Junction Elementary School earned the honor.

Anderson, CANV and Community Health Clinic Ole were honored along with six other previously-announced winners whose commitment, creativity and accomplishments were saluted by a crowd of 180. The Napa Chamber Foundation and Mechanics Bank have sponsored these awards since 2007, celebrating heroes who help transform an area into a genuine community.

Nonprofit CANV was honored for nearly half a century of programs to boost the self-sufficiency of low-income, disadvantaged and senior citizen residents of the Napa Valley, including providing nutritious meals and companionship to elderly residents, operating four unique homeless shelters, offering affordable full-day care for children up to 6 years of age, providing housing and other financial assistance, and helping area residents avoid or quit smoking.

“We’re excited that volunteers will have such a wide variety of opportunities from which to choose,” said Yee. “And, both the Bank and employees will be able to track the hours employees spend on volunteering.”

Forty-year-old Community Health Clinic Ole, recognized nationally as a model for community health centers, is a thriving, comprehensive health center with eight locations throughout the Napa Valley and a staff of nearly 200. It delivers medical and/or dental care to one out of every six Napa Valley residents.

“What are the odds of a tie?” asked Chris Messina, President and CEO of Napa Chamber of Commerce. “Yet try as we might to select just one nonprofit, we found these organizations to be so compelling and inspiring that we had to recognize both.”

Anderson, who has been teaching 11 years—five of them in Napa—was cited by Napa School District Superintendent Barbara Nemko for her exceptional classroom skills including a “project-based learning” strategy that engages students in real-world problem solving. She also coaches other teachers in the district about how to create a classroom that is “buzzing with questions, collaboration, and the use of 21st century technology.”

Among the many event highlights were presentations of the Outstanding Public Safety Person to retired Napa Fire Chief Tim Borman and Outstanding Napa Valley Community College Student to Marissa Castaneda. Chief Borman worked the last 18 months of his tenure without compensation due to department budget constraints, keeping the fire engines staffed, equipped and ready for action. Lining the back of the room during his award presentation and standing at attention were uniformed officers of the Fire Department, there to honor one of their own.

Napa Community Student of the Year Marissa Castaneda

Photo: Representatives of Mechanics Bank and Student Award Sponsor The Wiseman Company present the Napa Valley College Student of the Year Award to Marissa Castaneda. Left to Right: John Barkey of The Wiseman Company, Mechanics Bank Chairman Dianne Daiss Felton, Mechanics Bank Vice Chairman Michael Downer, Brian Wills of The Wiseman Company, Student of the Year Marissa Castaneda, Doyle Wiseman of The Wiseman Company and Eddie Downer III, Mechanics Bank Chairman Emeritus.

Castaneda, whose parents emigrated from Mexico and who needed ESL classes early in her academic career, graduated from high school with several Advanced Placement credits. Noting that she felt under-prepared for college, she started a program that evangelizes the value of college to Latina students and their families. With graduation from Napa Valley Community College looming, she announced at the podium that she has been accepted to UC Berkeley in the fall.

“We are so appreciative of the opportunity to support a program that highlights what makes Napa Valley such a special place,” said Michael Downer, vice chairman of Mechanics Bank and a Napa resident the past 23 years. “We’re honored that our partnership with the Chamber has helped create a forum to recognize the contributions of Napa Valley’s extraordinary people and organizations.”

The other previously announced honorees included:

  • Outstanding Hospitality Tourism winner Don Shindle, general manager of the Westin Verasa Napa. Widely regarded as a caring boss and hotelier with acute attention to detail, he also was one of the first vocal supporters of the creation of the Napa Valley Destination Council and the tax that supports that organization.
  • Outstanding Community Booster Rick Enos, co-founder and general partner of Compadres Rio Grille in Napa, who has donated and discounted food and drinks to an array of nonprofit fundraisers and other community events.
  • Outstanding Nonprofit Employee Celine Regalia, a social worker who directs the adult day program at Napa Valley Hospice and Adult Day Services. She not only oversees day care for about 100 frail and elderly people in the Napa Valley, but she headed the fierce statewide fight to rescue such centers from state budget cutters.
  • Outstanding Healthcare Professional Lisa Lewis-Javar, a Kaiser Permanente nurse who heads Sane/Sart, a nonprofit providing immediate and compassionate care to sexual assault victims in Napa and Solano counties. She also took her passion for protecting victimized children to Zambia, where she mentored other doctors and nurses and even met with Zambia’s chief justice to begin the process of rewriting laws to better safeguard children.

“These committed individuals make the Napa Valley not merely a place, but a vibrant and supportive community,” said Messina. “The Napa Valley Community Awards have become an important opportunity to celebrate the contributions of our extraordinary citizens. We hope everyone will start thinking about next year’s awards today, and be ready to nominate those who serve as role models for all of us.”

For more information about next year’s event, contact the Napa Chamber at 707.226.7455 or online at For more information about Mechanics Bank in Napa, visit Mechanics Bank or call 707.256.4343.

About Mechanics Bank

For more than a century, Mechanics Bank has been committed to helping people build prosperous communities as a trusted financial partner, forging lasting relationships through teamwork, respect and integrity. The bank has consistently been recognized as one of the Top 100 Corporate Philanthropists in the Bay Area and one of the Best Places to Work in the Bay Area. The $3 billion independent bank, headquartered in Richmond, California, offers personal banking, business banking, trust and wealth management services across Northern California. For more information, please visit

Media Contacts

Mechanics Bank

Ms. Hatti Hamlin

Mr. David Louis

Napa Chamber of Commerce

Ms. Angelica Mancuso