The Arroyo Grande/Grover Beach Chamber of Commerce will celebrate giving back to the community through an awards ceremony February 1 that recognizes men and women whose contributions go beyond just dollars, jobs and business acumen.
The Annual Installation Dinner will feature awards for Citizen of the Year in Arroyo Grande and Grover Beach, as well as the Ken Talley Award and the Director’s Award.
Grover Beach Citizen of the Year – Betsy Ehrler, President, South County People’s Kitchen
Arroyo Grande Citizen of the Year – Greg Steinberger, Doc Burnstein’s Ice Cream Lab
Ken Talley Award – Matt Neff, Neff and Associates Insurance
Director’s Award – Katcho Achadjian
The awards will be presented at the AG/GB Chamber’s Annual Installation Dinner at the South County Regional Center, 800 West Branch Street in Arroyo Grande. Reservations are required and can be made by calling the chamber at 489-1488. The dinner is $65 per person.
Grover Beach Citizen of the Year – Betsy Ehrler
Betsy Ehrler has been chosen as the Arroyo Grande and Grover Beach Chamber of Commerce for her 26 years of dedication to helping the homeless with the South County People’s Kitchen.
“I do it because I love it, I absolutely love it,” she said. “I love the people doing the serving, and I love the people being served. Really, this award belongs to the 300 people who volunteer and make this work.”
Betsy began helping with the People’s Kitchen in Grover Beach in 1992, which was founded by a group from New Life Church in Pismo Beach. The People’s Kitchen has served a hot meal to the homeless in South County every day since 1992, without interruption.
“We just want to offer a meal to these folks with the hope of keeping them alive until they can get their life together,” she said.
Additionally, for the past 7 years, Betsy and her husband Chris travel in December to an orphanage in Guatemala to assist in providing Christmas gifts.
Arroyo Grande Citizen of the Year – Greg Steinberger
The village’s well-known purveyor of (ice cream) pints – Greg Steinberger – will be honored as the Arroyo Grande 2017 Citizen of the Year.
Greg Steinberger has been chosen as the Arroyo Grande and Grover Beach Chamber of Commerce, Arroyo Grande Citizen of the Year for his generous contributions to the
Each month Steinberger gives back to the community through a “give a pint – get a pint” blood drives and fundraisers for local non-profits at Doc Burnstein’s Ice Cream Lab in the Village of Arroyo Grande.
Under Greg’s leadership Doc Burnstein’s has taken a 10% giving back pledge, providing much-needed funds to several local non-profits and charity organizations.
Additionally, Doc Burnstein’s sets aside a scholarship day to support their college bound employees, donating to a scholarship fund that is distributed among the eligible employees.
Last year Doc Burnstein’s partnered with Lifewater International to raise money for wells in Gomolo Ethiopia, to provide clean drinking water to 500 families. They have reached 70% of their goal this year with Lifewater International, to provide two thousand school children with a bathroom that has running water.
And for the last three summers Doc Burnstein’s has created a custom flavor and a percentage of all sales of this flavor go to The Make a Wish Foundation.
“I am not a California native and I feel very blessed to have discovered this place and that is why I like to give back to the community,” Steinberger said.
Ken Talley Award – Matt Neff
Matt Neff will be honored with the Ken Talley Award for more than two decades of work with community youth sports, as well as other service work to veterans and Kiwanis.
Matt has volunteered with Five Cities Youth Basketball in a coaching and refereeing capacity for 24 years. In addition, Matt joined the Five Cities Youth Basketball board in 2000. During this time Matt also coached High School basketball at Nipomo High School for eight years. Over the years, Matt has also coached in the Arroyo Grande Valley Little League and Five Cities Flag Football league. Through the years Matt has been a supporter and sponsor of many youth oriented programs in the South County, including
Five Cities Youth Basketball, Five Cities Youth Football, Arroyo Grande High School FFA, Arroyo Grande High School Basketball, Arroyo Grande High School Baseball and Softball, Arroyo Grande High School Band, Boys and Girls Club of South County.
Matt served on the Arroyo Grande Policy Advisory Council for eight years. In addition, Matt joined the Greater Pismo Beach Kiwanis in 2003 serving as President in 2009. The Kiwanis club supports children and their activities in its local community. All the funds raised by the Greater Pismo Beach Kiwanis go directly back into local youth and community programs.
Over the past 8 years Matt has organized the Ride to Recovery dinner for 150-200 wounded warriors riding from San Francisco to Santa Monica. Matt said that he feels this is a great opportunity to give back to those young men and women that have given so much.
Director’s Award – Katcho Achadjian
Katcho Achadjian was chosen by the Arroyo Grande & Grover Beach Chamber of Commerce Board of Director’s to receive the 2018 Director’s Award. That award is given to someone who has given outstanding time and energy to Chamber programs and projects.
Katcho was the AG&GB Chamber’s Arroyo Grande Citizen of the Year in 1984. He has served on the Board of Directors and has been an advocate for businesses in South County. Katcho served as District 4 San Luis Obispo County Supervisor and State Assemblyman for Assembly District 35. In these roles he made time to support and participate with the AG&GB Chamber and served as emcee for the annual installation dinner. Katcho is a small business owner and has two gas stations in Arroyo Grande. He has been a AG&GB Chamber member since 1978.
“Forty years ago I got my business license and walked down the street to join the Chamber and I have been a member ever since,” he said.
By Justin Stoner