VENTURA, California – The 2023 LEGACY Awards, which recognize the contributions of Ventura County residents and organizations that dedicate their lives to helping older adults, people with disabilities, and their caregivers to live optimally, were presented on Wednesday morning at the Ventura County Area Agency on Aging’s Advisory Council meeting.
Since 2018, the Advisory Council’s Optimal Aging Committee has annually presented LEGACY Awards to a local business/organization, to Dementia Friendly business/organizations, and to community members/volunteers.
The 2023 winners are:
- Chef David’s Kitchen & Catering (business/organization)
- Maywood Acres Healthcare (Dementia Friendly business/organization)
- George Lopez (community member/volunteer)
- Andrea Ortiz (community member/volunteer)
More information about the LEGACY Award and past winners can be found at www.vcaaa.org/legacy.
Here is information about the 2023 winners:
CHEF DAVID’S KITCHEN & CATERING
Award for Business/Organization
Chef David’s Kitchen & Catering opened in Santa Paula in February 2020, just before the COVID-19 pandemic began. The owner, David Raigoza, quickly pivoted to take-out food, and earned a reputation for helping others. His efforts through the restaurant have included providing free meals to those in need at Thanksgiving, hosting discounted events for older adult groups, accommodating older adults’ meal size requests, and providing work opportunities for people with disabilities or without housing. Raigoza, who is involved in several local foundations and was named grand marshal of the 2023 Santa Paula Labor Day Parade, has been called a local hero in Santa Paula, and has been doing all this while also battling a life-threatening cancer diagnosis.
MAYWOOD ACRES HEALTHCARE
Award for Dementia Friendly Business/Organization
Maywood Acres Healthcare is a 98-bed skilled nursing facility in Oxnard that cares for more than 25 long-term residents that have been diagnosed with some form of dementia. Maywood Acres has received “Dementia Friendly” status and has required all of its staff to take part in the training video. The facility welcomes those who live with dementia, and strives to maintain a livable environment that provides daily life activities and strategies to enhance the lives of residents living with dementia. The team strives to create a sense of community through activities such as exercise and games for groups and reading or music listening for the individuals.
Award for Community Member/Volunteer
George Lopez is a retired IRS tax professional who has used his knowledge of the subject to provide free tax services to people in need. And, for nearly 10 years, he has been a registered volunteer counselor with the California Department of Aging, and provides Medicare counseling as part of the VCAAA’s Health Insurance Counseling & Advocacy Program (HICAP). According to HICAP manager Sonia Vaughn, “George has positively impacted the lives of many individuals in our community. His expertise, patience, and willingness to go the extra mile have helped alleviate financial burdens and has ensured that individuals have access to the healthcare benefits they need.”
Award for Community Member/Volunteer
Andrea Ortiz volunteers with the OASIS program at Catholic Charities. As part of the program, she helps transport OASIS clients to their medical appointments, but also does much more. Cinthia Rios, volunteer coordinator at Catholic Charities, wrote, “Andrea goes above and beyond where needed, always seeking opportunities to make a positive difference in the lives of others. Whether it’s helping with shopping needs, offering a listening ear, or providing companionship, Andrea’s dedication to the well-being of our OASIS clients is exemplary and heartwarming.” Ortiz also spreads holiday cheer to homebound clients in Moorpark, Santa Paula, and Fillmore, bringing gifts and joy to individuals there.