Linda Collins, Sebastool chamber of Commerce

CONGRATS — Chamber of Commerce Director Linda Collins congratulates fellow rotary club member  for being chosen as Sebastopol Citizen of the Year.

A new name will be added to the roster of Sebastopol’s citizens of the year during the Sebastopol Chamber of Commerce’s annual Community Awards on March 19, to be held at the Sebastopol Center for the Arts.

Several other awards for community volunteers and stellar service also will be awarded that evening. This year is the 45th annual ceremony.

The newest Citizen of the Year is Jim Pacatte, a man with a skilled hammer and a big heart. After leading his Pacatte Construction commercial building firm for 40 years, the local Rotarian and community volunteer continues to lend his construction skills to projects all over the community including at the Sebastopol Senior Center, with Rebuilding Together house rehab projects, at playground projects with fellow Rotary members and lots of other places in and around Sebastopol.

“I was surprised as anybody” (to get the award), said Pacatte, who was surprised by chamber leaders at a recent Rotary Club of Sebastopol lunch meeting.

“I guess I have more friends than I realized,” he said.

Pacatte and his wife Rosemarie raised their family in Sebastopol since 1975 and saw two children graduate from Analy High School. Pacatte served a stint on the city of Sebastopol’s Design Review Board.

“I left after awhile. I think they thought I was too conservative,” he said.

Now retired, Pacatte said the biggest change in his life was joining Rotary.

“It really opened my eyes and has made a better person out of me,” he said.

Pacatte is part of a core group of Rotarians who show up whenever there’s a work party. He’s been part of several crews that have built benches for Ives Park, the Sebastopol Center for the Arts and the Sebastopol Library. Pacatte has led several construction projects for the Sebastopol Senior Center and is currently working to replace its back steps.

The Community Awards evening is open to the public without charge. A social hour will take place beginning at 5 p.m., ahead of the awards ceremony at 6 p.m.

Other awards that evening will include four city awards, for public service, fire, police and public works employees.

  1. Rei Blaser, who has been leading the Sebastopol Downtown Association for the past few years will be honored as Volunteer of the Year.
  2. Jim Walton, who recently chaired the Measure B campaign for West County Union High School District, will be honored for his service to youth.
  3. The Analy Interact Club, sponsored by the Rotary Club of Sebastopol will be given an award for youth volunteerism.
  4. Sebastopol Walks will be acknowledged for their leadership in environmental consciousness.

A special recognition will be given to Savannah Hankins for her talent in creating this year’s Apple Blossom Festival poster.

And Sonoma West Publishers and its Sebastopol-based newspaper Sonoma West Times & News will be honored as Business of the Year.

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