4th Annual Elk Grove Hall Of Fame: This Is Our Home
The 4th annual Elk Grove Hall of Fame ceremony was a night that truly celebrated the best of the Elk Grove community. Held at District56 and presented by members of the Elk Grove Community Council, awards were given to seven nominees. The awards were given to John Jackson, Sr., Nan Mahon, Gayle Mooney, Leslie Sandefur, Coach Viliami Tuivai, Warren Weaver, and Inez Whitlow. These seven individuals earned their honors by bringing their own special touch to Elk Grove.
Mayor Bobbie Singh-Allen gave a warm welcome to everyone. Councilmember Pat Hume kicked off the night with an amusing introduction of the night’s first recipient, Chair of the Elk Grove Arts Commission, Nan Mahon. The accomplished author’s acceptance speech was inspiring. Indeed, she detailed her life journey from beauty school to internationally-published writer. She speech was a riveting account of how life doesn’t exactly take you in a straight line.
Warren Weaver’s award was accepted on his behalf by his children, Staci, Stephanie, and Trevor. They carry on Warren’s legacy in the Elk Grove Unified School District, as they are all teachers there. Among his many awards and achievements, Warren has earned the Teacher of Excellence Award and Elk Grove Citizen of the Year award. Since his retirement in 2007, Warren continues to be an active member of the agricultural sciences field. Also, he gives much of his time to charitable causes here in Elk Grove.
John Jackson Sr.
John Jackson Sr. is just one of several generations of the Jackson family that has lived in Elk Grove. One of our schools is even named after an esteemed matriarch, Isabelle Jackson. John Jackson Sr. has made his mark here as well. Alas, many of the business buildings and developments here in our beautiful city were constructed or owned by his family business, Jackson Properties, Inc. Their support and reinvestment into our community is part of what makes Elk Grove the growing city it is.
Gayle Mooney was inducted for her work in the Elk Grove Youth Sports programs. President of the Elk Grove Youth Soccer League, she also started the Elk Grove Youth Sports Foundation. The foundation raises funding to make sure that any child who wants to play, gets to play.
That’s the kind of people we have in our town; they don’t just volunteer to do a little bit and say ‘I’m done’. They’re in it for the long haul.Gary Davis, former Mayor of Elk Grove
Gayle is the living embodiment of the phrase “see a need, fill a need.” She has been instrumental in getting sports programs and sporting facilities developed here in Elk Grove.
Opera singer Leslie Sandefur was introduced by Mayor Singh-Allen. A self-described “juvenile delinquent in high school,” she credits the performing arts and choir as to what “saved her.” Also, she is passionate about letting students see people that look like them, pursuing all kinds of dreams. A regular performer at the Crocker Art Museum, Ms. Sandefur will be reprising her soloist performance of Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy with the Sacramento Youth Symphony in 2021.
Kevin Spease introduced Inez Whitlow, who he described as “someone with a problem accepting the word ‘no’.” Founder of Chicks in Crisis, Inez has offered hope for 25 years to the many teens and young adults she meets daily. These teens find themselves dealing with unexpected pregnancies. Her ranch, also home to over two dozen chickens, a tortoise, and a pig, serves as a location for supervised visits between children and parents.
Coach Viliami Tuivai wrapped up the evening with his funny and commanding acceptance speech, during which he passionately proclaimed “Elk Grove, I don’t just live here; this is my home.” And his speech was the perfect finish to a night in which we honored residents who have spent significant time in their lives to take ownership of their community. Congratulations to the 2021 Elk Grove Hall of Fame inductees.