Chamber Selects Sean Wright as Antioch Citizen of the Year

Antioch Citizen of the Year Sean Wright

Ruehlig Honored with Lifetime Achievement Award

The Antioch Chamber of Commerce honored civic stars at their annual Inaugural Gala Dinner held March 9th at the Lone Tree Golf and Event Center, naming Antioch chiropractor Sean Wright as Citizen of the Year – Most Impact for 2011, for his work in rebuilding and revitalizing a struggling Chamber and for his considerable youth mentoring. Also nominated for Citizen of the Year were Kirkland Smith, Pastor of Grace Bible Fellowship and Debbie Walls, Manager of Umpqua Bank.

The Citizen of the Year – Lifetime Achievement award was given to School Board Trustee and Antioch Music Foundation President Walter Ruehlig for his considerable array of civic involvements. Youth of the Year honors was garnered by Antonio Hernandez, a senior at Dozier Libbey Medical High School and President of the California Health Occupations Students of America. The other nominees were Krist Jensen, Manager of the Dow Wetlands Team, and community volunteers Wayne and Carole Harrison.

Small Business of the Year status was awarded to Clay, Millias Co., LLP for significant community pro bono work with eighteen charitable organizations, assisting in tax returns and helping many non-profits in management transition by guiding them on proper accounting systems. Other nominees were Antioch Veterinary Hospital and Wild Orchids the Salon.

Corporate Business of the Year honors went to Allied Waste for their illegal dumping cleanups, intensive recycling efforts and for being a helping neighbor on innumerable community projects. Also nominated was the Antioch Unified School District.

The event was emceed by Chamber mainstay Michele Copeland of American Trophy. She was assisted in event organization by Jacqueline Clarke, Patty Deutsche, Diane Gibson-Gray, and Jennifer Victor; by staff members Martha Goralka and Jack Monroe; and by the Chamber Ambassadors, Monica Ambriz, Clay Baskin, Bonnie McKean, Sandy Henry, Josh Sauberman, Verna Sanz and Jeff Scalier.

Public officials present were Mayor Jim Davis, Mayor Pro Tem Wade Harper, and City Council members Mary Rocha and Gary Agopian, Supervisor Mary Piepho and Maurice Delmer representing Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla. Former citizens of the year gracing the audience were Rick Carraher, Barbara Herendeen and John Slatten.

The Chair was turned over from Sean Wright to Donna McGee of Kaiser Permanente. Donna also won the Chairman’s Award for best assisting the Chamber throughout the year. The Ambassador’s award went to Gwen O’Neill from Juice Plus.

Sean Wright Biography

Sean is most proud of his role as husband to his beautiful wife Lani and father to his five children Haley, Tyler, Dylan, Colby and Rylie. Their love and support has allowed him to spend time in community service but even still, he has never lost sight of the importance of time spent at home and the impact it has in their lives.

Last year came in like a storm after he took the opportunity to serve as the Chamber’s Chairman-Elect in 2009. He quickly realized the challenges he faced when his first unfortunate task as Chairman was to let all of the staff go to avoid financial ruin for a Chamber that has been around for more than 70 years. With the help of volunteers and a terrific Board of Directors he went to work to create a new vision and direction to better serve our Chamber members and our community. He played a key role in reshaping the mission, creating a new website, adding business learning opportunities, organizing the office and by the end of 2012, the chamber will have paid off all of the past debt.

Sean has always loved Antioch and is proud to live, raise his family and run his chiropractic business here. He decided to take action that would make a difference by creating a forum to celebrate the good things that are happening in our schools, through our police force and in our community. This forum, “A Celebration of Antioch,” gave our Mayor, our Police Chief, and our Superintendent of Schools the opportunity to highlight and celebrate the things that make Antioch great and the reasons that we have hope for a positive future.

Sean also had the opportunity to serve as a commissioner on Antioch’s Economic Development Commission where positive changes and a new direction are taking place with a focus on Antioch and East County’s competitive advantages. In addition, working together with the Antioch Unified School District the Chamber has begun to create opportunities for businesses to go into the schools and help our students see real world application of the things that they are learning. Sean serves on the Leadership Team for the Antioch Unified School District’s Linked Learning and Pathway Program where he is a cheerleader for our schools and the great efforts and groundbreaking programs that are being created. His voice is being used to bring business thoughts and understanding into the classroom.

Sean is also the Scoutmaster for Troop 28 in Antioch, on the board of the Antioch Chichibu Sister City Organization, coaches a baseball team for the Delta Baseball League, along with coaching numerous Delta Youth Soccer teams for four of his children. Other volunteer efforts include the Youth Intervention Network, the El Campanil Theatre, Kiwanis of the Delta and the Delta Youth Soccer League.

Lifetime Achievement Award Winner Walter Ruehlig

Walter Ruehlig Biography

Walter Ruehlig wears many hats. Walter is a veritble cheerleading fixture around town with twin passions in youth mentoring and diversity. Walter counsels adults with disablilties seeking workforce re-entry and has given career workshops to over 6,000 East county residents through the Antioch One Stop Career Center.

Walter is in his eighth year as an Antioch Unified School District School Board Trustee. He has been Antioch’s Representative to the County Library Commission for seven years, securing large book donations and is the former President and five-year representative on the Citizen’s Mello Roos Board. In 2011, Walter helped revive the Rivertown Fourth of July Parade. He co-chairs the 2012 Parade/Fireworks Committee.

Walter is a newspaper guest columnist and initiated He is St. Ignatius’s Communications Director. A Fourth Degree Knight of Columbus, he has co-organized the Knights’ Police Officer/Firefighter of the Year Luncheon.

Walter co-founded the Antioch Music Foundation and since 2005 has donated eight pianos and raised over $80,000. The Foundation annually sends 250 students to the SF Symphony and 1,600 students to the El Campanil Theatre to see Percussion Discussion and organizes competitions like East County Idol.

Walter was the 2004 California Columbian Squire Chief Counselor of the Year. He is on the Advisory Board of community Resources 4 Youth and has mentored through Scouts, Little League and PTA. He assisted Antioch’s Katrina Relocation Project, volunteers with two Filipino-Americans Clubs, chaired the county Human Releations Commission and sits on the Advisory Board of the Interfaith Peace Project. He chaired the 2010 and 2011 Peace Celebrations, bringing together twelve diverse faiths and planning a Peace Pole at City Hall.

Walter was the 2004 Center for Conflict Resolution Peacemaker of the Year and the 2004 County Board of Supervisors Martin Luther King Humanitarian of the Year. One local official aptly calls him an “ambassador of good will.”

the attachments to this post:

Sean Wright

No Comments so far.

Leave a Reply