This year’s annual Christian Public Servants awards breakfast will honor a Modesto Police Department patrol officer, a firefighting instructor, a longtime Youth for Christ leader who promotes city unity and two young “street saints” who have helped other teens. The awards, according to a news release, honor “those whose faith sparks their work ethic and community involvement.”
The event, Thursday at Big Valley Grace Community Church, also features keynote speaker Vicki Mulvaney-Trask, a former county and state teacher of the year who works with high-risk students for the Stanislaus County of Education. Six students, chosen last spring, will be introduced as John Hollis Scholarship recipients.
The award winners are:
• Modesto police officer Jim Reeves, the Chief Gerald McKinsey Excellence in Law Enforcement Award. Reeves, part of the MPD’s traffic unit, “volunteers for special assignments and is always willing to help someone else out with their work as well. He has been known to chase down suspects while wearing his tall motor boots and helmet, proving it can be done, and done with style,” according to a news release. Reeves also serves with the MPD’s honor guard unit, which attends officers’ funerals, and serves on various ministry teams at CrossPoint Community Church.
• Bob Watt, 911 Public Safety Award. Watt retired after serving with the Industrial Fire Protection District and other similar positions. He teaches fire protection with Modesto’s Regional Occupational Program. “It warms my heart to be with these high school kids and to share employment opportunities with them,” he said. He also serves as the fire chief in Keyes and has served as a chaplain in Ceres. He attends Ceres Christian Church.
• Marvin Jacobo, the Walter C. “Bud” LaCore Award. Jacobo served as a youth pastor at First Baptist Church of Modesto (now CrossPoint) for 18 years, and later worked in Modesto City Schools and then joined Youth for Christ. He began that organization’s Tapestry program, which targets at-risk youth. He also founded City Ministry Network, a collection of churches and nonprofit organizations that seeks to improve neighborhoods and the community.
• Vanessa Yee and Edgar Navarro, Street Saints Award. The award recognizes people between the ages of 12 and 20 who contribute toward helping others in their neighborhoods, schools and churches. Yee is a volunteer for YFC’s partnership with the Stanislaus County of Education and volunteers with at-risk youth in the juvenile hall Work for Success program. A news release said she is “highly effecting, impactful and a valuable asset to our community.” Navarro is a leader for South Modesto’s Youth Leadership Club and coordinates Family Fun Nights that have affected thousands of disadvantaged children. He also mentors and tutors students at Evelyn Hanshaw Middle School and is active in his youth group at St. Jude’s Catholic Church in Ceres.
Scholarship winners, announced in April, are given $750. Scholarships are given to high school seniors or college students who are active in their church and community and plan to pursue a career in public service. This year’s winners are: Mason Bettencourt, Enochs High School, San Diego State University; Audra Blount, Downey High School, California State University, Stanislaus; Meghan Carter, Modesto High School, Franciscan University; McKenna Hooker, Turlock Christian High School, Fresno Pacific University; Alexander Sarina, Modesto Christian High School, Biola University; and Tiffany Steggink, Waterford High School, Texas A&M.