Americana Awards recognizes local citizens for outstanding community service


By Loreen Berlin

Right along with the 95th annual Academy Awards in Hollywood, the Orange County Cypress College Foundation held its 48th annual “Cypress Americana Awards” Saturday, March 11, at the Disneyland Hotel honoring local citizens for their spirit of giving.

Once again, it was a cast of extremely well-deserving individuals and couples who reached beyond themselves, for years, to give to others in a way that touched their hearts and in turn touched the hearts of those who heard their individual stories on large screens at the front of the ballroom, and then watched as Cypress College President Dr. JoAnna Schilling and Foundation Board Director Ken Vecchiarelli presented each of the recipients with a ceremonial crystal vase while on stage inscribed with the college’s name, “2023 Americana Citizen of the Year” along with their individual city and name.

Stanton Mayor David John Shawver, Americana Chair person, began the evening by welcoming the people and thanking them for  their attendance at the Americana Awards banquet and fundraiser, which is Cypress College’s annual signature event that has been supported by thousands of generous people over the years.

The evening is for recognizing remarkable people as “Citizens of the Year” from each of the eight cities in the Cypress College area; the men and women who through their service to others, leave life better than they found it in a way that exemplifies the best America has to offer.

The Citizens of the Year are people devoted to others, in areas that are meaningful to them and thereby, make a brighter future by leading exemplary lives that reflect their own inner qualities and inspire others along the way, to excel as well.

There is also a “Person of the Year,” which was Liz Dunster for this year of 2023.

Receiving the Cypress Americana Awards as “Citizen(s) of the Year” for 2023 included Kay Carpenter, Anaheim; Carol McCann, Buena Park; Sandie McCarthy, Cypress; David and Janice Skelton, Garden Grove; Mike Belknap, La Palma; Nesi Stewart, Los Alamitos; Daren and Kori DeLeon, Sea Beach and Brian Donahue, Stanton.

For Cypress Americana Awards information, visit

For Cypress College information, call 714-484-7000 or visit


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