Orinda volunteers and community-minded folks are in no short supply and Orinda Community Foundation members are excited to announce this year’s winners.
The awards dinner and celebration takes place Sunday, Oct. 23 at 6 p.m. in the Founders’ Auditorium at the Orinda Community Center, located at 28 Orinda Way.
Winner of the Orinda Citizen of the Year (COY) 2022 award is Vince Dell’Aquila, for his decades of community service. A volunteer football coach at Miramonte for 32 years, Dell’Aquila moved to Orinda in 1989.
With his wife Kathie and two daughters and one son, volunteering is in his blood, but he was shocked when he got the call from Richard Westin that he won COY this year.
“He was calling me about something else, and we were discussing MOFD strategies and then he laid that on me and I said ‘say that again,’” said Dell’Aquila. “I was really humbled because I’m so aware of everyone who has won it before me, I didn’t know I would be in that same breath. It’s a really big honor.”
Dell’Aquila might have been surprised, but he said his kids were not, since he’s modeled volunteering to them throughout their lives – which means the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
“One of my daughters volunteers at ARF (Animal Rescue Foundation) and works for Loaves and Fishes; my other daughter lives in southern California, and she’s on the Board of Directors for the Boys & Girls Club of West San Gabriel Valley and also works with foster teenage girls where they model homemaking and business for them. My son coaches pretty much everything in Orinda – so if you can carve out the time to volunteer, do it,” said Dell’Aquila.
The Orinda Volunteer Award recipients are Kent and Teresa Long, who, along with their core group, Friends of the Joaquin Moraga Adobe, have led the successful efforts to purchase the Joaquin Moraga Adobe – the sale is currently pending.
“We are really honored and we both grew up in Orinda, so it means a lot to us,” said Kent Long. “We think the adobe can be a real resource for the community, something we can be proud of.”
At one point, the Joaquin Moraga Adobe was destined to become a clubhouse, however, Long and his group saw the need to maintain its original, historical identity. It’s also how he feels about volunteering as well.
“It struck a chord with me and something that needed to happen,” he said.
When it comes to volunteering, he said to “find something you connect to, because you’ll have a personal reward later – and for me, it’s paying back to a town I grew up in and it feels like the right thing to do.”
Teresa Long is an Orinda Historical Society board member and is currently digitally archiving The Orinda News newspapers, dating back to its first issue in 1986.
Stated on their website, the Orinda Community Foundation, which began in 1948, was created to, “enhance the quality of life in Orinda by fostering community spirit and citizen engagement, build partnerships and provide financial assistance to support community activities, beautification and the arts.”
Orinda Community Foundation President, Sue Severson, hopes many people will attend the Citizen of the Year awards.
“To honor the recipients and celebrate our great community,” she said.
COY tickets cost $75. Mix and mingle with cocktails starts at 6 p.m., dinner (buffet by Shelby’s Restaurant) at 6:30 p.m. and awards at 7:15 p.m. Reservations can be made online at www.orindafoundation.org.
Charleen Earley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.