Abe Rojas, one of Turlock’s most giving residents, was awarded with awarded with the 2014 Stanislaus County Senior Award last week.
The award, presented by the Stanislaus County Commission on Aging and handed out by the Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors, is intended to recognize outstanding local senior citizens. It is given out every May, in honor of Older Americans Month.
“Anytime someone needs help and assistance, people like me are always there to help,” Rojas said.
Rojas has volunteered with the Cal State Stanislaus Athletic program for more than 40 years. He has been inducted into the school’s hall of fame for his work.
He’s announced home high school football games for 40-plus years, first for Turlock High School and now for Pitman High School. He also volunteers, coaches, and umpires softball, baseball, and football games at both high schools.
Rojas was named the 1994 Turlock Citizen of the Year by the Turlock Chamber of Commerce, a group he has volunteered for since its inception. He’s sat on the Yosemite Community College District board for 19 years, and the Salvation Army Advisory Board for 15 years; in 2007, the Salvation Army named him Volunteer of the Year.
And Rojas has been involved in numerous other volunteer opportunities, serving with the Girl Scouts Muir Trail Advisory Council for five years, the CSU Stanislaus President’s Advisory Council for four years, and myriad other groups.
Despite all of that volunteer work, Rojas is most likely famous for something else: he spearheaded the development of Turlock’s now-famous Pedretti Park. A ballpark there now bears his name in honor of his efforts.
“There aren’t enough people like Abe, really, in our community,” said Stanislaus County Supervisor Vito Chiesa.
Rojas thanked God and his family for the award, and said that he enjoys every minute of volunteering.
“I know that the things we do come easy to us, because it is a pleasure to do them,” Rojas said.
Rojas was one of five Stanislaus County seniors to be recognized with the award. Other honorees were:
- Jean Tomlinson, of Oakdale, who volunteers with Stroke Resources, Inc.
- Jerry Rhine, of Modesto, who helps run the Stanislaus Academic Decathlon.
- Billie Taylor, of Modesto, who serves on the California Senior Legislature and the Commission on Aging.
- Virginia Vaz, of Newman, who has been a member of the Gustine-Newman Soroptimist Club for 51 years.
“Thank you for everything you do in our community,” said Margie Palomino, Director of the Stanislaus County Department of Aging and Veterans Services. “We are very very honored to have you join us today. You are truly an inspiration to us.”