Hall of Fame awards recognize individuals of greatness in our community

Mark Blackney, CEO of Clovis Chamber of Commerce and his children Corinne Blackney, Sheri Blackney and Kevin Blackney. (Contributed photo)

The city of Clovis came together June 18 for the 33 annual Hall of Fame awards, which celebrates and honors the dedication of individuals who have contributed to the city’s history and have shaped Clovis into the community it is today.

Ralph Lynn, Elaine Lynn and Robert ‘Bob’ Ferrara were the 2016 Clovis Hall of Fame inductees.

After serving in the United States Naval Submarine Service as a radio/radar operator at the end of WWII, Ralph Lynn began attending West Chester State University where he met Elaine. The two married and moved to California where they had three children, all of whom graduated from Clovis High School.

The couple were both influential in the development of the local education system. The Lynns were active at Temperance-Kutner Elementary School as the Clovis Schools moved toward unification. Elaine continued her lifelong commitment to education at Sanger Unified School District, serving as a member of the Board of Trustees for the Fresno Art Museum and spearheading an art project with Buchanan High School. Ralph was elected to the Clovis Unified School District Governing Board where he served as president for four years and vice president for three. He also served the Fresno County School Trustees Association for 30 years where he assumed various roles.

Ferrara, the third inductee, began ranching with his father at the age of 15. He graduated from Clovis High in 1943 and a year later joined the Army where he served in the 25th Infantry. After being awarded a Bronze Star for combat in Luzon, Philippines he began raising grain and cattle, which he continues to do today.

Terry Kershaw was named Citizen of the Year for the 36 years of service in various instructional and administrative leadership roles he has taken in the State Center Community College District. Kershaw was the founding campus president of Clovis Community College and oversaw the accreditation process for the campus.

Fran Blackney was honored with the Spirit of Clovis award for the integral part she has played in the Clovis Chamber of Commerce and as a mentor for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy. Blackney began working at the chamber in 2002 where she was a critical force for bringing in more vendors and coordinating local festivals. She is thought to be a true leader for integrity in business and fostering an entrepreneurial spirit in today’s youth.

Mine Ikeda was also awarded with the Spirit of Clovis award. Throughout her 91 years of life Ikeda has farmed local land, worked at the Bank of America in Clovis where her bank number “9” was retired and has been an active member in many community service organizations. Ikeda has also helped create and fund scholarships for local students through the Clovis Japanese American Citizen’s League Annual Shrimp Dinner and as a member of the Clovis American Legion Auxiliary.

August C. Flach, an Army veteran, was honored with the Service to Veterans award. Flach was drafted in 1968 and spent most of his tour as an infantryman. As his 24 month obligation was ending he was asked to “re-up” and offered a promotion as a Staff Sergeant E-6. Flach declined and was honorably discharged in June 1970. After retiring from his civilian career, he joined Veterans of Foreign Wars, which awakened his desire to provide services to veterans and their families in the community.

The Service to Youth award was awarded to Steve Tirapelle, who began his coaching career in 1983 in Sacramento. In 1997 he was offered the heach coach position at Clovis High School. Throughout his career he has coached many individuals and teams who have won everything from league/conference to state competitions and national recognitions.

Giuseppe Chiaramonte was named Police Officer of the year. Before joining the Clovis Police department in 2014, Chiaramonte served as a Santa Cruz Sheriff’s deputy. For two years he commuted from Clovis to Santa Cruz, always admiring the Clovis PD and wanting to be part of the culture the department was cultivating. Chiaramonte’s peers describe him as someone who always has a positive attitude and who treats those he with whom he comes in contact with respect and as a great example of what the Clovis PD represents.

Chris Bridger was named Firefighter of the year. After joining the City of Clovis Fire Department in 2002, Bridger was promoted to Fire Engineer in 2009 and joined the Clovis Fire Investigation team. He has also joined various fire related organizations, which help raise awareness of fire safety and prevention education. Bridger is also a camp counselor at the yearly Champ Camp for children who are burn survivors.

A display of Hall of Fame and Community Inductees, both past and present, can be viewed at the Clovis Chamber of Commerce.