Couple honored for 'Service Above Self"
Fred and Barbara Holmes were named Citizens of the Year by the Taft Rotary Club Wednesday night, a recognition of their years of support to the community and the people that live in it.
The club presents the award annual to people who best reflect Rotary International's motto "Service Above Self."
Chris McGehee, the incoming president of Taft Rotary, presented the well-known local couple.
McGehee found the right words to describe the Holmes while reading the Holmes Family Scholarship website.
"As I was doing my research for this speech to give the couple a proper introduction I read something that really stuck with me and embodies who they are and it read 'Fred and Barbara Holmes believe in hard work keeping their family ties strong, serving God, serving others and giving back to their community. Their core beliefs are the foundation of their hard work,'" McGehee said.
The Holmes Family Scholarship program, started five years ago, gives financial and other support to graduating high school seniors through the The Holmes Family Education and Training Foundation.
In return, the recipients contribute back to the community through summer community service programs. That's just one of the many ways the Holmes give to the community, McGehee said.
The Holmes have been major supporters of the Taft Union High School Oil Technology Academy since its inception and Fred sits on the steering committee. He also serves on the Taft College Energy Technology Board and numerous industry organizations.
"I looked at the two of them and thought hard work, that is easy to see, knowing the company that Fred built and expanded upon, and knowing that behind every great man is a great woman," McGehee said. "At a recent dedication it was said that when Fred and Barbara start something they jump in with both feet...and it is their hard work that makes these projects succeed." It's also family values that impressed McGehee.
"I can attest to this as I have invited Fred and Barbara to many events and each time I do they are traveling to Colorado or over to the coast to spend time with their grand kids for events for school," he said. "They are always there to support anything that a family member has going on and are engaged with two daughters and six grandchildren. Beyond this, they have an extended family they truly care about -- these are their employees and students in the Oil Technology Academy and the recipients of the Holmes Family Scholarships. From the numerous barbecues to mentoring and even supplying mentors to those in other regions, they truly care."
In addition to the Citizen of the year Award, the Holmes were presented with Paul Harris fellowships, a high Rotary honor, by Ray Hatch, and recognition by Kern County Supervisor David Couch and representatives from Assemblymember Vince Fong and Congressman Kevin McCarthy.
Just before he honored the Holmes, McGehee himself was given the Rotary Achievement Award from president Heather Mueller.