We've all heard the phrase, "If you want something done, ask a busy person to do it."
The people and businesses honored Saturday night at the Greater Tehachapi Chamber of Commerce's Installation & Recognition Gala are certainly busy people — as evidenced by their many volunteer contributions enumerated for those gathered — and they're on a mission to make Tehachapi a stronger community.
The chamber and Tehachapi News jointly bestowed three honors during the event at Villa La Paz at the National Chavez Center.
They are 2019 Citizen of the Year Linda Carhart, 2019 Small Business of the Year Marty Pay Farmers Insurance and 2019 Large Business of the Year Terra-Gen Operating Co. LLC.
2019 Citizen of the Year Linda Carhart
Noting Linda Carhart's involvement in everything from Main Street Tehachapi to Rotary Club of Tehachapi to serving as producer of Tehachapi Apple Festival (and so much more), the evening's master of ceremonies Pete Sturn puzzled, "How in the world does one person do all this stuff?"
For her part, Carhart said her husband, James, works very hard so she can volunteer. Her parents, she said, inspired her to be loving and caring.
Assemblyman Vince Fong, R-Bakersfield, one of many elected officials or their representatives to present certificates of recognition throughout the evening, said he thought Carhart had found a way to have 25 hours in a day.
Mayor Susan Wiggins said she admires Carhart's energy and dedication to the city, while chamber Chairperson of the Board and Tehachapi News Business Manager Stephanie Garcia called her a "rockstar."
2019 Small Business of the Year Marty Pay Farmers Insurance
Marty Pay is heavily involved in volunteer efforts across the community, including collecting just under 2,000 items for Toys for Tots (with all donations going to Tehachapi area children) and Project D.E.F.T., or Don't Ever Forget Them, collecting some 14,500 Christmas cards for veterans in hospitals or care facilities.
Pay expressed thanks to the community for contributing to these efforts.
He takes on the role of "Santa Marty" for the Christmas Parade. And he's very involved in myriad business efforts, in addition to teaching at University of Phoenix.
"Marty is one heck of a guy and deserving," Sturn said, while Kern County Second District Supervisor Zack Scrivner said Pay has a "heart" for Tehachapi.
2019 Large Business of the Year Terra-Gen Operating Co. LLC
Terra-Gen was recognized for its deep contributions to Tehachapi, with everything from sponsoring the Rotary Senior Holiday Luncheon to awarding scholarships to Tehachapi High School seniors to its generosity to many schools, youth sports and community organizations.
"It's easy to see it's a great asset to Tehachapi," Sturn said.
Fong thanked company leaders for being great community partners, while Scrivner noted that Terra-Gen has invested billions in eastern Kern County — and provided many, many families with good-paying jobs.
Terra-Gen's Jeremiah Soto said the company will continue to support organizations in the areas it serves.
Fong installed the 2019 chamber Board of Directors, including Chairperson of the Board Stephanie Garcia, Chair-Elect Jim Miller, Treasurer Carolyn Wiles and directors Susan Abrego, Jessica Davidson, Kellie Dudevoir and Liz Trejo.
Garcia said 2018 was a great year for the chamber, which hired a part-time receptionist in May, grew by 27 members and hosted 15 ribbon-cuttings and anniversary celebrations. The chamber office answered 5,442 calls, assisted 6,185 visitors, distributed 1,946 information packets covering tourist or relocation information or both and referred members more than 25,000 times through calls and visitors. It also held two meet-and-greet events for members with Fong and Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield.
The chamber, Garcia said, looks forward to membership growth, a redesign of its website and the addition of some business workshops in 2019.
Garcia recognized two people leaving the board: Carl Gehricke served on the board from January 2010 through December 2018, in addition to being chairperson of Tehachapi Mountain Festival for many years, and Sally Periman-Lawrence served on the board from January 2017 through December 2018.
Chamber President Ida Perkins called it a "special night" because she is able to honor great volunteers for their love and support.
She noted that Garcia would serve a second term as board chairperson, saying, "She did an amazing job and when she was needed to fill chairperson for a second year, she did not hesitate." Garcia, for her part, thanked Perkins for her many contributions as chamber president.
Perkins also recognized Sandra Honea, a Tehachapi News outside sales account executive, as 2018 Ambassador of the Year for all her volunteer work at chamber events.
Saturday night's sponsors were the city of Tehachapi, National Chavez Center, Tehachapi News and Terra-Gen Operating Co. LLC.