2022 Elk Grove Citizen of the Year

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Every year, the people of Elk Grove honors an Elk Grove citizen who has contributed greatly to our community and is an example of the meaning of giving.  Since 1955, representatives from different Elk Grove community service organizations have presented this annual award honoring an area resident who has rendered outstanding services directly to the Elk Grove community.  You will also notice in this post that over half of the past recipients of the Citizen of the Year have had a park named in their honor.  The story in the citizen about the Citizen of the Year, Part 1 & Part 2 by Elizabeth Pinkerton.

The Elk Grove Citizen of the Year is truly a community award. The recipient of the Elk Grove Citizen of the Year award is honored at a banquet held on the first Monday in November each year. The award and banquet are co-sponsored by several local service organizations. Some of the co-sponsors include the Elk Grove Lions Club, Elk Grove Optimist Club, Pride of Laguna Creek Lions Club, Rotary Club of Elk Grove, Rotary Club of Laguna Sunrise and the Soroptimist International of Elk Grove and the Elk Grove Food Bank.  Proceeds from this event benefit the Elk Grove Citizen of the Year scholarship which is given to a qualifying high school senior.

Letter in support of nomination of John & Betty Hall for Elk Grove Citizen of the Year for 2022

I have lived, worked, and volunteered in Elk Grove as a member of the American Legion for many years. When you volunteer in this community, you soon notice people who are dedicated to serving the people of our community. Many of those people have been recognized as past recipients of the honor as the Citizen of the Year.  None of those people stand out more in my mind than John & Betty Hall.

Quite often, when people think of John & Betty Hall, they first think of the Walk to Remember Bryan Hall. For those who know a little more about that program, they know that John & Betty started the Walk as a way of raising funds for Bryan’s daughter’s college fund. After a just a few years, with her college fund secure, the fundraising continued to allow the Halls to reach out and provide funds for other children who lost their fathers while they were serving in the US military. They kept this special effort going for 10 years, and I was personally proud to be able to volunteer in support of this effort.

Additionally, Betty has been an active member of the Blue Star Mom’s, helping other mothers who have lost their sons or daughters from their military service.

John as long been a member of Elk Grove American Legion Post 233. Always an active member and always willing to assist in our efforts to reach out to assist veterans.

Both John & Betty also volunteer for other programs in Elk Grove. Whenever assistance is needed with the Running of the Elk Half Marathon or the Elk Grove Golf Classic for the Elk Grove Youth Sports Foundation, John & Betty are there, helping wherever they can. They have done the same for the Heart of JB Golf Tournament as well.

If that is not enough, Betty Hall served for years on the board for the Elk Grove Food Services for several years. Another volunteer effort that has helped our food bank serve the thousands of people who have needed assistance in putting food on the table. As a member of the board, she also served on the Run4Hunger committee for years. One of the major fundraisers for the food bank.

In addition to the above service to our community, Betty has been a member of Soroptimist International of Elk Grove for many years. As a volunteer for this organization which seeks to empower women and girls through education, she as served the women and girls in our community. As a member of the Soroptimist organization, you will find Betty and John assisting with other volunteer activities in our community.

American Legion Elk Grove Post 233 is so in love with what John & Betty does and stands for that we have asked them to be our Grand Marshalls for the 2022 Veteran’s Day Parade.

Because John and Betty are so willing to give to our community, it is easy to say yes when the call and asks if I can help them with one of their events.

I am proud to send this letter in support of John & Betty Hall for the Elk Grove Citizen of the Year for 2022.


Curious about past recipients? Many of our Citizens of the Year were also by having a park named after by the Cosumnes Community Services District. Click on the highlighted “Park” below to learn more about these special local citizens.

1955 – Raymond Case, Park, principal-superintendent, Elk Grove Elementary School

1956Alvin Bartholomew, Park, Lions Club, businessman, leader of many community groups

1957Tom Karamanos, Park, Lions Club, started Elk Grove Business Men’s Association

1958 – George Henderson, Park, Boy Scout leader, started Elk Grove Boy Scouts

1959 – Elk Grove Volunteer Fire Department

1960 – Cantrell Castello, Park, dairyman, involved in many organizations.

1961 – Gerald Brown, community leader, especially the Western Festival

1962 – Edna Sperry, Leader in Girl Scouts, Red Cross, Mothers’ Club

1963 – Raymond Russell, Park, builder of houses, EG Park maintenance

1964Paul Betschart, Park, sports supporter, fire department, Lions Club

1965 – Jessie Baker, Park, supporter of children with special needs and disabilities

1966 – Theodore Smedberg, Park, EG principal, superintendent, Sac County Office of Education

1967 – Hilma Colton, Park, HS teacher, Girl Scout leader, Cemetery District

1968 – Ida Fleming, Park, active with many community groups

1969John Zehnder, Park, dairy and business man, Lions Club, and many groups

1970 – Robert Fite, Park, principal and strong community supporter

1971Jack Hill, Park, Lions Club, Elk Grove Soap Box Derby, volunteer firefighter

1972 – Anabel Gage, Park, local historian and photographer

1973 – Douglas Berner, Retarded Adult Workshop, Elk Grove Adult Community Training program

1974 – Bernice Gallup, reporter of local news

1975 – Marvin “Bud” Jones, Park, Charter member of Elk Grove Rotary Club, EG water district

1976 – Glen Beeman, Park, educator, business manager, EGUSD

1977Henry Kloss, Park, Lions Club, Sacramento County Supervisor, Franklin family

1978 – Jeanne Womack, Park, Western Festival leader and parade organizer

1979 – Carl Amundson, Park, Rhoads School and started EG Historical Society

1980Roy Herburger, Park, Lions Club, Key to City, Elk Grove Citizen Owner/Publisher since 1959

1981 – Elizabeth Pinkerton, Park, educator, local historian, writer

1982 – Glenn Houde, Park, EGUSD Superintendent

1983 – Richard Lichtenberger, Park, leader in Senior Center

1984Mel Oneto, Park, Lions Club, agriculturist, Boy Scouts, Senior Center, Family of the Year

1985 – Margit Kloss, Park, Franklin Parents Club, many organizations

1986Gerald Derr, Park, Lions Club, EG fire department leader and chief

1987 – Dorothy Hrepich, Park, active in many community groups

1988 – Gary Lawson, Park, educator, principal Jessie Baker, disability leader

1989 – Iris Zimbelman, Park, created the Strauss Festival

1990 – Pat Braziel, brought about many local improvements

1991Jerry and Jeanne Strong, Park, Project R.I.D.E., Lions Club, and many community groups

1992 – Mike Zehnder, “Fireman Mike,” Lions Club, involved with many community events

1993 – Olga Batey, Park, community leader and activist

1994 – Roger Shaffer, leader in many community groups including the EG Scholarship Foundation

1995David Simpson, Park, newspaper writer, Lions Club, supporter of many organizations

1996 – Roy Sharp, agriculture programs, animal care, reaching out to youth

1997 – Hal Bartholomew, Park, EG Parks and Recreation, and many other groups

1998Jim Ring, Project R.I.D.E., Lions Club, and many other groups

1999 – Sophia Scherman, Optimist, Soroptimist, projects to assist veterans, disabled youth and adults and a member of the City Council.

2000 – Cathy O’Neil, Volunteer Extraordinaire, started clothing drives for those in need

2001 – Frances Fite, Park, leader of Rhoads School project, many other groups.

2002 – Dan Lawrence, 2008 volunteer of the year, Elk Grove Rotary, a leader in many community organizations

2003 – Jean and Lyn Hawkins, Park, business, Food Bank, mentoring students

2004 – Stanley Carrothers, supporter of many local organizations.

2005 – Marsha Holmes, dedicated volunteer in many organizations,

2006 – Arnold Adreani, Park, educator, principal of Joseph Kerr, scholarships, Elk Grove Hall of Fame

2007Elaine and Jim Wright, Park, Lions Club, Soroptimist, leaders in business and a variety of organizations

2008 – Bob & Lisa Lent, long time Rotary leader, involved with many organizations

2009 – Frank and Paula Maita, business leaders, city, chamber, and other groups.

2010 – Mary Lewis, Park, writer, columnist, chamber, Soroptimist, and Strauss

2011 – Mark Hedlund, the voice of Elk Grove, master of ceremonies at many events

2012 –  Gary Dapelo, Lions Club, great volunteer and supporter

2013 – Frank Lucia, educator, support for homeless

2014 – Marie Coleman, fund raiser leader for Elk Grove Scholarship Foundation

2015Pat and Warren Weaver, education, Lions Club, Optimist and E.G. Scholarship Foundation.

2016 – Jim and Annaclare Entrican, Park, Active with the Elk Grove Historical Society

2017Pancho Sanchez, Elk Grove Lions Club.

2018 – Kevin Spease, Laguna-Sunrise Rotary, Planning Commissioner and local businessman.

2019 – Rebecca Davis, Retired Teacher and part of the Elk Grove Regional Scholarship Foundation.

2020Jack Edwards, Elk Grove Lions and Tracey Edwards, Soroptimist International of Elk Grove.

2021 – Gil Albiani, Park. Past President CSD Board & Kay Albiani, Past Trustee EGUSD

2022 – John & Betty Hal John is a Member of the American Legion. Betty is a member of the Soroptimist Elk Grove and past board member of the Elk Grove Food Bank

2023 – Jon Colton, Retired owner of Jon Colton Insurance and long time member of Elk Grove Rotary

If you would like to honor someone in the future, you can make a nomination by completing an application and including a signed letter containing information on club and service organization involvement, past accomplishments in the community, and all accomplishments significant to the community. If you can attach several letters of support for your nominee, that would improve the person or couple’s chances of being recognized. The selection committee works directly with our Elk Grove Chamber of Commerce.

Click here for Nomination Form.

Send in confidence to:

Citizen of the Year
c/o the Elk Grove Chamber of Commerce
8820 Elk Grove Blvd
Elk Grove, Ca 95624

You may also fax it to 916-691-3810.

Please contact the Chamber of Commerce at 916-691-3760 with any questions.