Opinion: Outstanding Saratoga citizens recognized at State of City

Opinion: Outstanding Saratoga citizens recognized at State of City

Each year, the State of the City is an occasion to acknowledge our community’s achievements and those that made an impact. Our community came together for this year’s State of the City on Sept. 9 in Wildwood Park in a true celebration of the exceptional individuals and organizations that have dedicated themselves to Saratoga.

This year, we introduced the Courage in Leadership Award. To select the recipient, I looked to the community to nominate a resident who inspires others through their acts of courage, compassion, resilience and ability to lead without any formal titles or authority.

After carefully reviewing the compelling nominations, I selected Tsing Bardin as the 2023 Courage in Leadership Award recipient for being a fearless champion for the residents of the Saratoga Retirement Community and committing countless hours ensuring that the members of the Saratoga Retirement Community have a voice in the future of their city. As a member of the city council, I have appreciated Tsing’s efforts to participate in important planning efforts like the Housing Element update and communicate the desires and perspective of the Saratoga Retirement Community.

The Saratoga Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) was recognized at this year’s State of the City as the 2023 Organization of the Year. Our devoted CERT volunteers participate in rigorous training to learn disaster preparedness skills, medical operations, disaster psychology, fire suppression, search and rescue and terrorism awareness so that they can be deployed at a moment’s notice to support the efforts of first responders and help their community through an area-wide crisis. CERT is a critical part of the City of Saratoga’s emergency response efforts, and we are so grateful for their commitment to the wellbeing and safety of our community.

We also had the honor of recognizing Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Deputy Jason Aguilar as Officer of the Year and Santa Clara County Fire Capt. Mark Franz as Firefighter of the Year. Both have provided outstanding service to our community and made the safety of our residents their priority. The men and women of the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office and Santa Clara County Fire Department are of the highest caliber, and we are so fortunate to be served by these two public safety agencies.

The Saratoga Chamber of Commerce’s Citizen of the Year and Businessperson of the Year were also acknowledged at the State of the City. Each year, the Chamber of Commerce solicits nominations for both awards. This year’s Citizen of the Year, Cathie Thurmond, was selected based on her service to Saratoga, commitment to volunteerism and involvement in community activities. After years together in the Rotary Club of Saratoga, I know Cathie is the epitome of the Rotary motto, “Service Above Self.”

The 2023 Businessperson of the Year, Jim Cargill, was selected for his engagement and efforts to create a positive environment for business in Saratoga. Jim has demonstrated his support for the local business community through his involvement with events like the annual Saratoga Classic and Cool Car Show as well as the Chamber’s strategic initiatives to promote the local economy.

Saratoga is unique thanks to the many caring and selfless residents who call the city home and the dedicated organizations that serve our community. I hope learning about them has inspired you to be a force for positive change in our community. I know celebrating them with our community at this year’s State of the City is a highlight of my term as mayor, and I look forward to recognizing them again at the Saratoga Chamber of Commerce’s President and Mayor’s Inaugural Ball on Oct. 7.