The Placer County Board of Supervisors honored the city of Lincoln for its quick, effective response to an Aug. 23 propane fire and paid tribute to several individuals for outstanding community service during a special recognition held recently.
All of the honorees received commemorative coins under a program established by the board in 2002 to recognize acts of heroism, longstanding community service or exceptional acts that dramatically improved or impacted people’s lives.
The commemorative coins typically are awarded to individuals or couples, but the Board of Supervisors decided to bestow one upon city of Lincoln officials for their response when a railroad tank car filled with 29,000 gallons of propane caught fire near the city’s downtown area. About 4,800 homes and businesses had to be evacuated because of the potential for an explosion.
Board Chairman Robert M. Weygandt, Lincoln’s representative on the Board of Supervisors, nominated city officials for the honor.
“The important thing here is what did not happen to Lincoln,” Supervisor Weygandt said, noting that a similar incident in Kingman, Ariz. in 1973 took the lives of 11 firefighters when a railroad car exploded.
The 2nd District supervisor credited the Lincoln fire and police departments with a quick, effective response, noting that an explosion could have damaged much of Lincoln’s downtown area. He also noted that other city departments and emergency responders from agencies throughout the area assisted with the response.
Individuals who received commemorative coins were:
- District 1: Dr. Irwin Herman, a retired physician who has been active on various committees and commissions since he moved to Sun City Roseville in 1996;
- District 3: Betty and Gary Doupnik, long-time manufacturers of modular buildings who are noted for donating to a long list of community causes;
- District 4: C.H. Vincent, a Loomis area resident who spent more than 30 years coaching local youths in such sports as soccer and softball and who mentored youths through Caring About Kids in Auburn;
- District 5: Virgil Traynor, a long-time Auburn veterinarian who helped found the Auburn Community Cancer Endowment Fund and a community garden that provides fresh produce to local food closets; and
- District 5: Ken Tokutomi, an Auburn certified public accountant who is influential in many community causes and organizations.
The commemorative coins feature the county seal on one side. On the other side are the word “hero” and the image of an eagle with a star and sun rays in the background. That second side of the coin was designed by J. Randal Smith, an Auburn native who is a nationally known artist. His design won a competition coordinated by the Arts Council of Placer County.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION ON INDIVIDUAL COIN RECIPIENTS
District 1 – Dr. Irwin Herman
“Dr. Herman has been on multiple boards and commissions and is currently on several boards at Sun City and also with the county,” said 1st District Supervisor Jack Duran.
Dr. Herman moved to Sun City Roseville after practicing in San Leandro for 30 years. After retiring in 1992, he developed a volunteer free health care clinic at a local community center.
He has served on the Placer County Older Adult Advisory Commission since 2004 and currently is vice chair. He is chair of the city of Roseville Senior Commission, an advisory body he joined eight years ago.
He helped develop the Placer County Medical Reserve Corps after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the U.S. The organization later was incorporated into the regional Sacramento MRC.
“I am very proud to provide Dr. Irwin Herman this commemorative coin for the many hours he has given to this community and I know the many more hours he is going to give after I give him this coin,” Supervisor Duran said.
District 3 – Betty and Gary Doupnik
For many years, Gary Doupnik Mfg. Inc. produced modular buildings for schools throughout California, as well as a host of other public agencies, private organizations and companies. The company was the largest employer in Loomis and the town’s largest sales tax producer at one point.
Gary and Betty Doupnik are well known for their contributions to community causes. For example, they donated gym and storage lockers for the Placer County Sheriff’s Office, a building for the Loomis Basin Chamber of Commerce and a storage building for the Loomis Basin Food Pantry.
“I know it took a little convincing for Gary and Betty to come today. As I said, they like to stay out of the spotlight, but, given their unassuming nature and quiet giving, I am glad that they are here today, so that the Board of Supervisors and I can recognize them,” 3rd District Supervisor Jim Holmes said. “You two are truly an inspiration to all of us, because you have touched the lives of so many people in a quiet, but positive way.”
District 4 – C. H. Vincent
Fourth District Supervisor Kirk Uhler noted that he was on a youth soccer team coached by Vincent in 1979. Vincent coached soccer teams from 1979 to 2004 and spent 23 seasons as a softball coach in five cities.
He also assisted with the varsity softball team at Del Oro High School in 1988 and managed and assisted with baseball teams in the South Placer Little League.
Since 1986, Vincent has run the clock and scoreboard at home girls basketball games at Del Oro High while his wife, Earlene, runs the shot clock. He also has been involved in the Save Our Sports campaign that benefits the athletic program at Del Oro.
“Over the years, Coach, as he is affectionately referred to now by hundreds, if not thousands of youngsters like myself, has dedicated 32 years to serving his community, most of them after his kids already were grown,” Supervisor Uhler said. “It is my great honor today to recognize the man I grew up calling coach and now have the pleasure of calling friend, Mr. C. H. Vincent.”
District 5 – Virgil Traynor
Traynor established the Edgewood Veterinary Clinic in Auburn after a two-year stint in the military. In 2001, he became a founding member of the Auburn Community Cancer Endowment Fund, which has raised more than $1.5 million and supports an endowed chair in basic science research at the UC Davis Cancer Center.
A member of the Auburn Rotary Club since 1977, Traynor was a founding principal of the club’s community garden, which is in its third year of existence and expects to raise almost 20,000 pounds of vegetables for the Salvation Army this year.
He also is noted for his willingness to heat up his two portable barbecues to cook at community fundraisers and other events.
“Virgil, I think, really exemplifies the individual who works for the whole community, not necessarily just a specific group or specific individual, but really to make this a better place for all of us,” 5th District Supervisor Jennifer Montgomery said.
District 5-E. Ken Tokutomi
Tokutomi, senior partner in Tokutomi and Caruthers CPA’s LLP, was born in Auburn and grew up in Newcastle.
As chairman of the Salvation Army of Auburn’s Advisory Board, he helped institute an all-volunteer Christmas Kettle program.
“Ken has been instrumental – as many of you know because he has probably tapped you on the shoulder for your assistance – in numerous fund-raising projects, including raising over $40,000 for the passage of the Placer Union High School bond initiative back in 1999,” Supervisor Montgomery said. “He is just an amazing individual.”
Tokutomi won the Vernon Gould McCann Award in 1997 for his contributions to the community and was selected one of the 18 Extraordinary Asian Pacific Americans in the U.S.
He currently is spearheading a fundraising effort for a bronze statue that will be placed at Placer County’s memorial to local Japanese-American residents who served in the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, one of the U.S. Army’s most-decorated units during World War II. The memorial is at the Bill Santucci Justice Center in Roseville.